Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Lee Chapel and Museum

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Washington and Lee University
Original/Historic Place Name: Lee Chapel
Location on Campus: center campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1867original construction Williamson, Thomas Neilson, J. Crawford
Designer: Thomas Williamson / J. Crawford Neilson
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Romanesque revival, Victorian (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: brick
Roof: metal
ca. 1867other (president's office)
ca. 1867chapel
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (crypt)
ca. 2004-present (2006)museum
ca. 2004-present (2006)auditorium

Robert E. Lee had this chapel built immediately after the Civil War in a picturesque Romanesque style that contrasts with the Greek Revival architecture of the Colonnade directly opposite. The exterior of the chapel is unchanged from its original appearance; the interior has been extensively restored but also retains its original appearance. The lower level now houses the crypt for the Lee family, a museum, and Lee's office, preserved as it appeared on the day of his death.


Simpson, Pamela H., and Royster Lyle, Jr. The Architecture of Historic Lexington. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.

Simpson, Pamela H. "Reflections on White Columns." In Come Cheer for Washington and Lee: The University at 250 Years, edited by Mame Warren. Lexington, VA: Washington and Lee University, 1998.

Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission. Washington and Lee University Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1971.


Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006