Webster University made the decision to construct a new dormitory almost 30 years after the first one, Loretto Hall, opened. According to a local newspaper, Maria Hall was designed by the architects A.F. and Arthur Stauder and built by Hankins Construction Company. ("Webster to dedicate residence hall", p. 10B.) The article went on to describe the dorm rooms as featuring "varied pastel colors, blond wood furniture, colorful leather upholstery, traverse draperies and adjoining tile baths."
Besides providing over 100 additional dorm rooms, the proposed building included plans for a large dining room which could accomodate the residents and day students (commuters) at the same time, something not possible in Loretto Hall. The new building also provided additional storage and office areas as well as a recreational area.
A contest to select a name for the new building was announced in the student newspaper in 1957 and students and faculty were invited to participate ("President reveals name-the-wing contest"). The only restriction was that the building could not be named after Father Nerinckx, founder of the Sisters of Loretto, the religious order that established Webster in 1915. The administration wanted to avoid confusion with nearby Nerinx Hall. The name Maria Hall was chosen in spring 1958 ("New wing named Maria Hall").
Maria Hall opened in the fall of 1959. A dedication ceremony was held on November 15, 1959 and included an address by Archbishop Joseph Ritter of St. Louis.
Archbishop Joseph E. Ritter inaugurates week; Rev. Francis Matthews will deliver address. (1959, November 15). The Web, vol. 36, no. 3, p. 1.
Celebration marks renovation of 50-year-old Maria Hall. (2009, Spring). Webster World, vol. 14, no. 3, p. 20.
Connelly, Megan. (2007, February 15-21). Maria Hall renovations aim to update aging building. The Journal, vol. 60, no. 18, p. 2.
Kirkwood, Lauren. (2006, Spring). Farewell 2 Maria Hall. The Ampersand, vol. 4, no. 2, p. 24-25.
Moon, Jill. (2004, September 2). Marletto's brings fresh look, fresh food to campus. The Journal, vol. 56, no. 2, p. 2.
Moon, Jill. (2004, September 23-29). Marletto's: done on time, but $530,000 over budget. The Journal, vol. 56, no. 5, p. 1-2.
New dorm facilitates campus revisions. (1959, September 18). The Web, vol. 36, no. 1, p. 1.
New wing named Maria Hall. (1958, April 1). The Web, vol. 34, no. 4, p. 1.
President discloses plans for completion of Maria Hall. (1958, October 15). The Web, vol. 35, no. 1, p. 1.
President reveals name-the-wing contest. (1957, December 3). The Web, vol. 34, no. 2, p. 1.
Proposed building plans revealed by Sr. Mariella. (1956, January 16). The Web, vol. 32, no. 3, p. 1.
Riley, Angela. (2007, October 4-10). Maria Hall to have central air. The Journal, vol. 61, no. 6, p. 1-2.
Russell, Amber. (2007, September 27-October 3). Campus construction gets underway. The Journal, vol. 61, no. 5, p. 2.
Russell, Amber. (2008, August 21-September 3). Maria Hall dormitory construction nears finish. The Journal, vol. 62, no. 1, p. 2.
Smith, Alexandra. (2006, August 31-September 6). Future uncertain for Maria and Loretto. The Journal, vol. 60, no. 2, p. 3.
Webster to construct dormitory addition. (1957, May 23). The Web, vol. 33, no. 6, p. 1.
Webster to dedicate residence hall. (1959, November). St. Louis Globe-Democrat, p. 10B.