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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    Eye Street not always Gonzaga’s home

    Buchanan Field

    Everyone now knows that Gonzaga is located on North Capitol street, a short walk away from the nation’s Capitol. A lot of people don’t know the real history behind Gonzaga and its location.  In 1821, Gonzaga College, originally called the Washington Seminary, opened its doors as a house of novices for the Jesuits.  The Jesuits started a House of Philosophy in 1820. After that, Washingtonians started to ask the Jesuits if their sons could attend the college. The original building was located on the north side of F Street, NW, between 9th and 10th streets. 

    In 1827, the school was running great, but the only way to keep the school in business was to charge tuition, which went against the Jesuits’ rules. After much dispute, the Jesuits left the Washington Seminary. After returning, the Jesuits built a church on North Capitol Street and dedicated it to St. Aloysius Gonzaga. After more than 10 years, Gonzaga College left its spot on F street and started again from a building right near St. Aloysius Church. 

    After the location move, there needed to be more space. In 1896, the Sheehey Theatre opened, and less than twenty years later, Dooley Hall was also built. These two major additions were rare until the 1970s and 1980s because this is when Gonzaga received its field, the gym, Forte Hall and the Mckenna Center. 

    “Some of the biggest differences from when my boys went here were the field and the parking garage. Parking was a big deal, and the boys just had to find somewhere to park,” said Mrs. Debbie Onufrychuk, school nurse.

    The campus, students, faculty and staff see today is still new compared to the school’s history; the Ruesch Cantwell courtyard and buildings were not renovated until 2000.  Recently, Georgetown has been building dorms on the other side of Buchanan Field, this construction has been going on during the 2020-2021 school year, and into the summer. Gonzaga has seen many changes in its history, but one aspect has always stayed the same, everyone who walks through those doors, is a man for others.

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