You can’t go to South Bend, Indiana without at least thinking about the University of Notre Dame and if you have the time, you have just got to stop by. Sooo, after being in the vicinity more times than I want to admit, we found our way out to the campus.
As soon as you see the gold dome of the “Main Building”, which was built in 1879 and stands as the worlds most recognized campus landmark, you know your close. Parking today was a breeze but I’ll bet you come Fall it would be one heck of a challenge. As it was we had to park at the far end, close by the visitor’s center and bookstore and walk in from there. Like most of the larger campuses it can and was, a good walk to the areas we wanted to see.
High on our list of places to see was the Main Building with its collection of large paintings of Columbus AND the famous dome.
Right next door sits the Norte Dame Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Overall, this was THE structure of magnificence… The exterior was beautiful being covered with marble, but the interior, nothing but amazing.
As soon as you walk in you are taken in with a grandeur that not only takes your breath away but gives you an immediate feeling of peace and comfort.
It is amazing… Just outside of the rear of the cathedral we found one of the two lakes on campus and the famous Norte Dame Grotto.
This Grotto was designed to match the Grotto at Lourdes, France which we visited in 2005 except this one didn’t include the cathedral being built on top of it. It does have one stone that was placed under the figure of Mary’s feet that came from the Grotto of Lourdes. I guess I wanted to start off today’s journal with Norte Dame but that wasn’t the way the day started… We started with our 2nd day at the Studebaker-Center of History Museum again. We couldn’t finish it in one day and it was so good we had to go back for the second. A large part of the Center of History exhibit was a visit to the Oliver mansion. The “Joseph D. Oliver House, also known as “Copshaholm” was built in 1895 by the founder of the Oliver Chilled Plow Works.
The mansion was named for the little Scottish village that Joseph was born in. It has 38 rooms including 9 bathrooms and 14 fireplaces and sits on 2 ½ acres with a few blocks of the center of the city of South Bend. The business that brought the wealth that it took to build a “home” like this was The Oliver Chilled Plow Works. Now before going into what the business did, I wanted to make sure that I made known that the home was built as a “home”, a home for Oliver to go to after a full day at the plant, but also a place for his wife Susan (Doty) to enjoy, entertain guests in, and raise their family. The Oliver’s didn’t entertain a lot as the house wasn’t set up that way but he would have a guest or two come by and meet in his den, someone like the President of the United States…they were good friends. Otherwise the rooms were just the size that the family would feel very comfortable in. Now back to the business of the Chilled Plow Works. It got started in 1853 when Oliver bought into an already existing small foundry. He had worked in a foundry since 1836 but just knew he could do better on his own. The plows used by the farmers in the eastern US prior to 1853 just weren’t doing the job. They would quickly wear out because of friction and they were time consuming because the sticky soils would stick to the plow and not roll off or “scour”. There was a real need for a new plow so Oliver started looking for a process that would work. James Oliver finally developed a process of annealing by rapid chilling of the molten cast plow bottom, which resulted in a bottom that had a thick annealized surface that had far greater wear ability than competing annealized plow bottoms thus, doing very well for himself and his family from that point on. Fact is the last family member to live in the mansion left in 1957 and at that time gave the city of South Bend the mansion, grounds, and ALL furnishings (including dishes, pictures, and ALL) so that the legacy of the Oliver family could live on and on…