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updated: 3/19/2014 10:14 AM

Historic Notre Dame windows to be sold at auction

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Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County plans to auction several pieces of University of Notre Dame history to help build a family home not far from campus.

Two large, multi-paned windows and a section of a third window that were part of Notre Dame's Main Building for more than a century will be sold at an online auction this spring, the South Bend Tribune reported .

Proceeds will go to Habitat's Women Build program, an annual project in which a new home is constructed for a local family primarily by women volunteers.

The windows were removed from the Main Building during renovation work in 1997, said Jane Pitz, coordinator of Women Build.

She said the university confirmed that the windows originally were among those on the east side of the tower that supports the building's famed Golden Dome. They are believed to be the original glass installed when the Main Building was constructed in 1879, shortly after a devastating fire destroyed an earlier building. The Golden Dome was added in 1882.

The windows were left behind several years ago by the former occupant of a building at 2411 S. Main St. in South Bend that now is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. That company apparently worked on the Main Building renovation and acquired the windows as salvage, Pitz said.

Now on display near the front counter of Habitat's ReStore at 5225 Grape Road in Mishawaka, two complete windows remain in their original wooden frames and are very large: 3 feet wide by 14 feet tall. They wouldn't fit in any ordinary modern home.

The third is a slice-of-pie-shaped fragment about 3 feet by 3 feet. It originally was part of a circular multi-paned window in the Main Building's tower.

No auction prices have yet been set, but planners hope the windows will bring in a substantial amount. "We need to raise $85,000 for the Women Build project," Pitz said.

Construction of this year's 14th annual Women Build house will begin in July and be finished by October. This year's Women Build house will be constructed on a vacant lot at the southwest corner of Twyckenham Drive and Corby Boulevard, just south of campus.

The house formerly on that site was badly damaged and the resident, Barbara Knapp, 57, was killed when the house was struck in April 2012 by a motorist who had been drinking, smoking marijuana and speeding, according to Tribune archives.

The house had to be demolished. The driver was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Habitat already has been offered bids as high as $5,000 for the windows. The Women Build group plans to take some time to spread the word -- including to Notre Dame alumni clubs around the country -- about the availability of the artifacts and sell them at an online auction, probably in May.

The agency would like to sell the two complete windows and one partial window as a group to a single buyer, but that might not be possible, Pitz said.

Habitat in 2011 auctioned off a smaller window from the Main Building. It sold for $1,200 and was purchased by someone who planned to place it above a bar in the Boston area, according to agency officials.

When auction plans are finalized, details will be posted on Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County's Facebook page: facebook.com/Habitat.ReStore.SouthBend.Mishawaka.

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Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com

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