Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Monte Casino Chapel

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Institution Name: Thomas More College
Original/Historic Place Name: Monte Casino Chapel
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
ca. 1900original construction
Designer: unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Regionalist/Vernacular (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Walls: exterior: limestone; interior: pink and white plaster
Roof: limestone
ca. 1900-present (2006)other (decorative religious monument)

Built by Benedictine monks near the turn of the twentieth century as a monument to their Monastic order, the chapel was named for the adjacent Monte Casino Monastery where the monks resided.

At eight feet tall, four feet wide, and six feet deep, the miniature chapel bears all the the same basic architectural attributes of a full-sized church, including a cross-topped steeple. Once listed in Ripley's Believe It or Not as the "world's smallest chapel," the church can snugly contain a maximum of two worshipers. Consequently, the structure's use has been largely aesthetic; mass has never been held in the chapel and it was never consecrated by the Catholic Church.

Donated to Thomas More College in 1964, the church was moved three miles from its original site to the College's campus a year later.


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Last update: November 2006