Piper Hall – A History

Piper Hall is a beautiful turn-of-the-century mansion nestled by Lake Michigan on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. Although it is used as event space now, it also has a long and intriguing history.

1st Floor Reading Room-419x330

1909 – Albert and Cassie Wheeler build the mansion now known as Piper Hall along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

1916 – Second owner Albert M. Johnson, present of the National Life Insurance Co., purchases the mansion.

1934 – The building is purchased by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs) to house the library for the adjacent Mundelein College, opened in 1930. Except for the addition of bookshelves and reading tables, the structure is kept in its original state through 1948.

1949 – The second floor is remodeled to create a large reading room as the third floor – once the mansion’s ballroom – receives new bookshelves. An elevator is installed.

1960 – The building’s coach house is razed to make room for Coffey Hall, Mundelein College’s new residence hall for students.

1969 – Mundelein’s library holdings grow to 48,000 volumes from the 1934 inventory of 12,000 books. The library moves to a newly constructed building, the Learning Resource Center, now the Sullivan Center.

1970s – The mansion briefly serves as “Gannons,” a coffeehouse for students.

1970s-’80s – Mundelein’s Graduate Religious Studies program, Master of Liberal Arts program and Center for Speech Therapy occupy the building.

1976 – The building is renamed Virginia G. and Kenneth M. Piper Hall to honor generous benefactors of Mundelein College.

1990s – Following the Loyola-Mundelein affiliation, the ground floor of Piper Hall is used sporadically for lectures, receptions and other university events.

2005 – A four-year planning and restoration project is completed.

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