Nazareth Hall Interior
Nazareth Hall’s main lakeside entrance vestibule opens up to the tower hall. A mural above the doorway depicts the Transfiguration. It was painted by Harry S. Rubins, a muralist and decorator, who worked for the John S. Bradstreet and Company interior design studios. The most striking features of the tower hall are the Guastavino tile vaulted arches that rest on marble columns with carved capitals to help support the weight of the tower above.
The plaster walls and the marble and terrazzo floors were supplied by the Drake Marble and Tile Company. Niches in the wall, now covered by panels, originally held carved sculpture. A large cast-iron grille designed by Herzog Iron Works separates the tower hall from the second-floor hallway beyond.
The area below Nazareth Chapel was originally known as the crypt. The space functioned as the main dining area for Northwestern’s cafeteria, Café Naz, until the Dining Center relocated to the Billy Graham Community Life Commons. The crypt houses a series of alcoves, which are created by large arches along the side walls. Each alcove is given distinction by the brickwork set in decorative patterns and small paired arched openings that contain stained-glass windows designed by the Charles J. Connick Studios.
Carved marble altar slabs were removed from the alcoves when University of Northwestern purchased the building. Some of these marble slabs served for a time as benches in the courtyard; they have since been removed and are now stored in a secure location.
The first and second floor hallways are distinguished by plaster walls, terrazzo floors and vaulted ceilings covered with plaster. The doorways opening onto the second-floor hall are framed in gray Mankato stone. Drake Marble and Tile supplied the stone and terrazzo.
Two niches, one opposite the tower hall and the other midway down the hall, held carved sculpture: Mary and the Infant Jesus by A. H. Atkins and the Boy Christ by Sidney Woolett. (Correspondence between Maginnis and Walsh and Archbishop Dowling indicates that the figures were carved in Saint Paul by John Garatti.) Drake Marble and Tile supplied the stone and terrazzo.
The stair halls at the north and south ends of these hallways contain architecturally distinctive staircases. The staircases’ cast-iron risers were provided by Herzog Iron Works and the oak railings by Villaume Box and Lumber Company.
The original Nazareth Hall dining room is distinguished by its arched window openings and an arched screen that sets off the main space from a smaller reception area. A reader’s lectern on the south wall was used for the reading of scripture before meals. The lectern is still in place but concealed by curtains.
Given its proximity to the tower hall and Nazareth Chapel, the Blue Room, aptly named for the room’s dominant color, is a popular venue for wedding receptions.
The former Nazareth Hall library space on the third floor has been reduced in size and converted for use as a lounge and lecture area. Among its original character-defining features are the vaulted ceiling with heavy stained-wood beams and a fireplace set in a carved stone surround.
Now known as the Youderian Lounge, the room was named for Northwestern’s only known martyr, Roger Youderian ’50, who was killed in Ecuador by the Auca Indians along with fellow missionaries Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming and Ed McCully.
The Convent Chapel was located at the south end of the convent wing, which is now home to Northwestern’s Academic Affairs offices. When Northwestern purchased the campus, this wing became the home of KTIS radio. Once the Mel Johnson Media Center was constructed, the radio station moved into the new building and the chapel area was remodeled. It still retains the original stained-glass windows, designed by the Charles J. Connick Studios and depicting Our Lady; Saint Francis, the founder of the Franciscan order; and Saint Clara, the founder of the sisters of Saint Francis.