Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Saint Mary-of-the Woods Historic District consists of a total of 66 buildings, sites, structures and objects. They include buildings such as Guerin Hall, Le Fer Hall, Hulman Hall and the Rooney Library, all owned by Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, as well as impressive religious buildings owned by the Sisters of Providence such as the Church of the Immaculate Conception, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, Sisters of Providence Motherhouse/Providence Hall and the St. Anne Shell Chapel.
Administered by the National Park Service, the National Register is the official list of historic U.S. sites considered worthy of preservation. It is a formal recognition of a property’s architectural, historical or archaeological significance based on national standards used by U.S. states. It allows opportunities for specific preservation incentives including federal and state grants and tax credits.
On approximately 131 wooded acres, the Historic District encompasses structures and landscapes designed by four generations of the Bohlen architectural dynasty begun in 1853 by Diedrich Bohlen. Architecturally trained in Germany, Bohlen later settled in Indianapolis, working briefly with noted architect Francis Costigan. In an overall Beaux Arts design, structures in the Historic District span from 1844 to 1969 and are primarily representative of Classical Revival, Italianate and Moderne architectural styles. Carved limestone, leaded glass, cast plaster, marble and metal embellishments add a rich texture to the landmark buildings, illustrating the character and craftsmanship that poured into over a century of design.
The College and Sisters of Providence have established a joint committee to collaborate on promoting this historic district.
Below are many of the rich architecture highlights found in the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Historic District.