St. Leo's Hall. Belmont Abbey Historic District.
Backstory and Context
St. Leo’s Hall has been an important and versatile campus structure since its construction in 1907. Over it's century of existence, St. Leo's has housed at various stages as a dormitory, campus library, gymnasium, orchestra and dramatic hall, music studio, classrooms, offices for professors and staff, the campus bookstore, and a student recreational facility. While various renovations to the interior have occurred throughout the building’s history, the exterior has reflected the distinct architectural style of its creator, Fr. Michael McInerney.
Constructed in 1907, St. Leo's Hall was the first structure built by Fr. Michael McInerney, an architect and professed Benedictine monk of Belmont Abbey. In his design McInerney employed the hallmarks of what became known as the American Benedictine architectural style, a distinct approach for which he would win significant acclaim. St. Leo's design inspired many of his future creations. During his remarkable career Fr. McInerney built over 200 churches, monasteries, convents, hospitals, and other structures.1
St. Leo’s Hall takes its name from St. Leo the Great, the patron saint of Abbot Leo Haid, the first abbot of Belmont Abbey and key figure in the history of Catholicism in North Carolina.
Today, St. Leo’s houses a variety of campus spaces: Grace Auditorium, the Career Services Office, The Catholic Shoppe, and the College Bookstore.
In 1993 St. Leo’s Hall was recognized by the United States’ Register of Historic of Places as part of the Belmont Abbey College Historic District.
1. Paschal Baumstein, "Michael McInerney," North Carolina Architects and Builders: A Biographical Dictionary. .https://ncarchitects.lib.ncsu.edu/people/P000485