The College Building was built under the direction of Abbot Leo Haid and Brother Wolfgang Traxler, O.S.B, of St. Vincent’s Abbey (Latrobe, PA). Construction began in 1886 and was finally completed in 1898. The design of the College Building featured a direct structural connection to the Monastery. This architectural feature reflects the continuous involvement of the Benedictine community in the sponsorship and operation of the college since its early beginnings. Other notable architectural features include the Gothic tower on the western side of the building, and a portico at the front entrance of the building.
The Administration Building has served the academic center of campus for over 130 years. That period, however, has been marked by several destructive fires, including a disastrous blaze in 1900. That fire gutted the building, only two years after construction had been completed. Much of the college’s classroom furniture and equipment was lost, including the bulk of college’s library collection. Thankfully, no loss of life occurred, despite the severity of the blaze. Work and fund raising to restore the building began immediately, and the college resumed classes in the College Building the following academic year.
Over the course of the twentieth century, the College Building continued to serve as a classroom building and administrative center. In 1983, Belmont Abbey College renamed the building in honor of Robert Lee Stowe (1866-1963). A local entrepreneur and leader in the regional textile industry, Stowe’s management of Belmont textile mills resulted in the city’s growth and development in the early 20th century. A noted philanthropist, Stowe and his extended family have supported numerous charitable and educational endeavors within in the city of Belmont and local community.
Robert Lee Stowe Hall was included as a part of the Belmont Abbey College Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.