Hidden (Virtually) In Plain Sight: A Holy Cross Historical Tour

Grace Bromage ‘23  

Features Editor

On April 30, Tom Cadigan ’02, who works in the Alumni Relations Office, led a virtual tour of the history of the College of the Holy Cross. 300 alumni and parents logged on. Using pictures from the archives, the tour detailed the many stories and little-known facts about Holy Cross.

While Cadigan led the tour, it was inspired by Rev. Anthony Kuzniewski (d. 2016). I emailed Cadigan to learn more about the tour. On the origins, he said that, “Rev. Anthony Kuzniewski, S.J., professor of history, developed this “Hidden in Plain Sight” tour a few years ago and offered it to students as a way to enrich their knowledge of Holy Cross… All of us walk by campus statues and buildings on a daily basis…how are they important in our College’s story (and how did they play a role in where we are today)?  Those were questions that Fr. K. wanted students to think about.”

Photo courtesy of holycross.edu
The original Fenwick Hall, which burnt down in 1952.

Cadigan said that “my Alumni Office colleagues and I have been trying to develop web-based opportunities for alumni, parents and friends to stay connected with each other … the virtual historical tour is another way to keep folks connected – while also highlighting our wonderful campus (and having some fun too!).” Cadigan said that his favorite spot on campus is “the Tom and Mary Cadigan P04,02 Tree…planted in memory of my deceased parents (a flowering crabapple tree, located near the old campus bakery next to Smith Hall).”

As I listened to the stories of Holy Cross, I was amazed by the resiliency of our school. It survived a fire, anti-Catholic sentiments, and multiple wars. It gives me hope that we’ll get through Covid-19 too.

Fun Facts and Stories

Fenwick is named after Bishop Benedict Joseph Fenwick, the bishop of Boston, who purchased the land in 1843. At the time there was a lot of anti-Catholic sentiment in Boston so the remoteness of Worcester was appealing to Bishop Fenwick.

Holy Cross was named after Bishop Fenwick’s cathedral in Boston, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.

For many years, a 400-pound copper bell was on top of Fenwick. In 1974, it was taken off of Fenwick, but was placed outside with a plaque. In April 2009, the Great Bell Caper took place: in broad daylight men dressed up as movers came in and took the bell. No ransom notes were given and it has never been seen again.

Inside a painted, wooden sarcophagus, there is the mummy of a young girl in the Dinand archives. “Tanetpahekau” died in 650B.C. and was gifted to Holy Cross in 1896.

Kimball was built in 1935 and the tables that we use today were the same ones used 85 years ago.

Photo courtesy of holycross.edu
We still sit at the same tables that were first put in Kimball in the 1930s!

Kimball had family-style dining with students as the wait staff until 1971.

In 1852, Fenwick burnt to the ground. Holy Cross was almost not reopened.

The design of St. Joseph Memorial Chapel was inspired by the Church of Gesu in Rome, the Jesuit mother church.

The stained-glass windows in the chapel are symbolic: the ones on the left side depict scholars of the church and the ones on the right side depict martyrs.

The oldest building on campus is the old campus bakery. This is the small brick structure off Easy Street. While it is used for storage now, once all the cooking and baking took place there.

The statues on the sides of halls along Easy Street (Clark, Healy, Lehy, and Hanselman) are of Jesuits connected to the first Jesuit college in Rome.

Teddy Roosevelt did the commencement speech in 1905 and planted a tree that is still on campus today.

In 1939, Ted Williams, new to the Boston Red Sox at the time, hit a home run in a scrimmage against Holy Cross.

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