The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Habitat auctions historic window

Christian Myers | Thursday, March 10, 2011

Notre Dame fans can now purchase a window from the Main Building to add to their collection of University memorabilia.

One of several windows removed from the Main Building in 1997 will be included in an auction hosted by the St. Joseph County chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Jim Williams, executive director of the local Habitat chapter, said current bids for the window have escalated to $500 as of Tuesday. The auction will close at 6 p.m. on Friday.

“This window would fit perfectly in an Irish pub, and for an alumni or a big fan it would be a great piece,” Williams said.

The proceeds from the auction will benefit both the Notre Dame Habitat for Humanity club and the Habitat clubs of several local high schools.

Notre Dame’s Habitat chapter will use its portion of the proceeds to fund its current construction project, and Williams said it is fitting that the windows from the Main Building should contribute to a University project.

“The Notre Dame student chapter was looking for some funding for their build, so the timing could be really good on this,” Williams said.

Habitat received the windows from a former Pella Windows and Doors plant in South Bend. Pella originally used the windows as templates to construct replacement windows for the building.

Habitat bought the plant in May 2010, Williams said, and now uses the space as a ReStore location. ReStore is the building materials warehouse operated nationwide for Habitat chapters. The window is currently on display at ReStore alongside a bidding sheet. Bids can be made in person or over the phone with ReStore.

Deborah Olmstead, co-president of the Notre Dame Habitat chapter, said the club was doing its part in promoting the auction.

“Our club is reaching out to our alumni and donors to inform them of this fantastic opportunity to own a piece of Notre Dame History,” Olmstead said. “Selling a physical part of the Main Building means a lot to us, especially since many members of our club now know what installing a window entails.”

Local high school chapters will use proceeds from the auction and their other fundraising efforts to finance their signature “Rock the House” build in the South Bend area.

Williams contacted the University to verify that the windows were used in the main building and to get the University’s permission to sell one of the windows.

Charles Lamb, assistant director of University Archives, verified the authenticity of the windows.

The exact age of the windows has yet to be determined. Lamb said the window was in use as early as 1966 but might be much older.

The window could possibly as old as 1879 when the Main Building was rebuilt after a fire.

Habitat for Humanity is working to determine the window’s exact age. Williams is in contact with University Architect Doug Marsh, and he said they hope to have a definite answer before the bidding closes on Friday.