Main Building (Rathalla)

BUILT: 1891

ARCHITECTS: Hazlehurst & Huckel

ORIGINAL OWNER: Joseph F. Sinnott

HISTORY: Joseph F. Sinnott was 17 when he arrived in Philadelphia from Ireland in 1854. Thirty years later he was sole owner of one of the largest distilleries in America. With wealth came the desire for a Main Line mansion for his wife, Annie Eliza, and their eight children. He named the house “Rathalla” – Irish for “home of the chieftain upon the highest hill.” Mr. Sinnott died in 1906; Mrs. Sinnott in 1918.

NEW OWNERS: In 1921, the Sinnott descendents sold the property to the Society of the Holy Child Jesus for their planned new women’s college. Rathalla became “Main Building” and included student dorms, housing for the nuns, offices, a dining hall, plus classrooms. Within two years, planning began for new buildings on campus.

In 1980, Main Building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic plaque is at the entrance of the house.


ARCHITECT/CONSTRUCTION: Jonathan Trump / Pancoast & Clifford

In 1999 - 2000, a major repair and restoration effort was undertaken, including new wiring, new heating and air conditioning, new plumbing, plus an elevator. The building is now used for the administrative offices of the college and frequently, as a site for social events.