Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Raymond Munger Memorial Chapel

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Institution Name: University of the Ozarks
Original/Historic Place Name: Raymond Munger Memorial Chapel
Location on Campus: west of State Hwy 103, 415 North College Ave.
Date(s) of Construction:
1932-1933original construction Clark, A. O. Kraus, Gomer
Designer: A. O. Clark (architect); Gomer Kraus (builder)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: stone, limestone
Walls: stone, limestone
Roof: stone, slate
 
Function:
ca. 1933-present (2006)chapel
 

Narrative:
Dedicated on February 8, 1933, the Raymond Munger Memorial Chapel has stood as the spiritual heart of the University of the Ozarks campus for seventy years. The chapel was built with what was at the time one of the single-largest donations to the college, a $75,000 gift from Mrs. Jesse Munger of Plainview, New Jersey. Miss Munger donated the money for the chapel in memory of her father, Raymond Munger, a New York businessman who was noted for his interest in religion and education. While construction was scheduled to begin in 1933, the effects of the Depression, which threatened to force many students to abandon their college plans, led to beginning construction a year earlier, in 1932, with students providing the bulk of the labor. Being paid for the initial excavation, laying of the foundation, and hauling of the materials thus allowed many of these students to remain enrolled.

A.O. Clark of Rogers, Arkansas, was the architect. Although the Memorial Chapel was one of A.O. Clark's few known buildings executed in the Gothic style, his deft handling of the traditional vocabulary of the Collegiate Gothic and his subtle incorporation of such characteristically medieval touches as the random-cut , ashlar-faced stone, as well as the occasional asymmetry, reveal a familiarity with the aesthetic that is confident and erudite. Other significant features of the building include monumental pointed-arch windows that light the nave and buttressed single-story side aisles, As such, the Chapel remains the best example of the Collegiate Gothic style on the University of the Ozarks campus and in the town of Clarksville.

The Chapel continues to stand as a powerful symbol of the mission of Ozarks and its heritage in the Presbyterian Church. During the academic year, Munger Chapel is used by the university family for weekly university services and convocations. It also remains a popular venue for weddings throughout the year.
 

References:

Story, Kenneth. Raymond Munger Memorial Chapel, University of the Ozarks. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1993.

 

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Last update: November 2006