Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Baker Memorial Chapel

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Institution Name: McDaniel College
Original/Historic Place Name: Baker Memorial Chapel
Location on Campus: Center
Date(s) of Construction:
1958original construction Adams, O. Eugene Rigg, Edward G.
Designer: O. Eugene Adams; Edward G. Rigg
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Colonial revival (Glossary)
Significance: history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: block
Walls: brick
Roof: slate
ca. 1958chapel
ca. 1958academic department building (religion and philosophy)
ca. 2004-present (2006)auditorium (concerts and speakers; also weddings, funerals, and memorials)

Baker Memorial Chapel was built in 1958 in the center of the campus to serve the need of the growing college, which still held weekly chapel services and which also needed a large space for convocations. The chapel was funded in part by the same family that gave the first college chapel and was again named for them. For about ten years the Chapel services in this new facility featured visiting speakers of some renown, as well as fine music provided by the college choir and the new Aeolian-Skinner organ (a gift of the president of the organ company, who was an alumnus). By 1970, required Sunday evening chapel had been abandoned, and the space was used for other events of a more secular nature. More classrooms were constructed in the lower level, and the foreign language department moved in. Philosophy and Religion classes still were held there, and that department maintained offices in the building as well. For a time the college band rehearsed in the remodeled balcony and performed on the platform.

The Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Church continued to hold annual sessions on the campus, and the chapel became the site of the various services held during those meetings, including the ordination service for new clergy. When the college broke its filial tie with the Methodist Church as a result of a lawsuit which culminated in Case No. 74-730 before the Supreme Court of the United States (John C. Roemer, III ET AL, Appellants v. Board of Public Works of Maryland ET AL), the cross was removed from the steeple as part of the agreement.

A recent renovation included excellent offices and a computerized language laboratory on the lower level. The main floor continues to be used for concerts, occasional plays, lectures, convocations, weddings, and funerals, and the College's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa holds its induction here each May. It is a well-used space which has been adapted to changing times and traditions in its fifty year history.


Bulletin of the Historical Society of Carroll County, Maryland 2, no. 2 (May 1952).

Chandler, Douglas R. Pilgrimage of Faith; A Centennial History of Wesley Theological Seminary--1882-1982. Santa Ana, CA: Seven Locks Press, 1984.

Makisky, John D. "Western Maryland College in the Nineteenth Century." Western Maryland College Bulletin [n.d.].

Schofield, Samuel Biggs, and Marjorie Cowles Crain. Western Maryland College The Formative Years, 1866-1947. Westminster, MD: Western Maryland College, 1982.

Weeks, Christopher. "The Building of Westminster in Maryland." Bulletin of the Historical Society of Carroll County, Maryland 2, no. 1 (May 1949).

Western Maryland College Historic District [including McDaniel College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1976.

Zepp, Ira G. "Western Maryland College: The Hill." In A Grateful Memory: History of Baker Chapel. Westminster, MD: Western Maryland College, 1995.


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Last update: November 2006