Boston College

Boston College is actually a private Jesuit research university, with around 9,300 undergraduate and 5,000 graduate students throughout its nine schools and colleges, offering degrees in subjects such as the Arts & Sciences, Law, Nursing, Management, Social Work, Education, and Theology.

Early in its history, it was a liberal arts college and preparatory school, and its main campus in Chestnut Hill, 6 miles west of downtown Boston, still features some of the earliest examples of Collegiate Gothic architecture in North America. The main campus, including over 120 buildings set on a hilltop featuring Gothic towers, is known generally as “The Heights”.

Designed by Charles Donagh Maginnis in 1908, the core of BC’s middle campus is a seminal example of Collegiate Gothic architecture, combining Gothic Revival buildings with Beaux-Arts planning, and its vast complex of academic buildings, set in a cruciform pattern, broke from the traditional “Oxford in America” model. Gasson Tower (above) was conceived of as the crowning campanile of Maginnis’ new “city upon a hill“, although his ambitious Gothic project was never fully completed. The Bapst Library is also debateably the “finest example of Collegiate Gothic architecture in America”.

The college’s eight research libraries contain over 2 million printed volumes, and together with the university’s museums some 12 million total items, including original manuscripts by Galileo, Ignatius of Loyola, and Francis Xavier, as well as collections in Irish literature (including a rare facsimile of the Book of Kells), 16h century Flemish tapestries, ancient Greek pottery, Caribbean folk art, Japanese prints, and paintings from Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

  • Visited: May 1985
  • National Register of Historic Places: 1990

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