Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Church of the Holy Spirit

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Institution Name: Kenyon College
Original/Historic Place Name: Church of the Holy Spirit
Location on Campus: 102 College-Park St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1869-1871original construction Lloyd, Gordon
Designer: Gordon Lloyd
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Gothic revival (Glossary)
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: stone
Walls: stone (olive shale)
Roof: slate
1871-presentchapel (also used by local Episcopal parish)

Architecturally, the Church of the Holy Spirit - designed by architect Gordon Lloyd, who took on numerous ecclesiastical commissions - is distinctive for its barrel-vaulted wooden ceiling and its center-facing aisles meant to evoke the "choir" of a great cathedral. The chapel is also home to the jewel-like Brooke Memorial Windows, created by the noted stained glass artist Charles Connick, and to a handsome butternut-cased tracker organ built and installed in 1984 by the renowned Carl Wilhelm. The original funds for the building were provided by the congregation of the Church of the Ascension in New York City in honor of Gregory Thurston Bedell, Episcopal bishop of Ohio and chair of the Kenyon board, who had previously served as that church's rector.

For most of the Church of the Holy Spirit's first century, all the College's students were required to gather there for daily chapel services. Although there was an ever more generous allotment of "cuts" allowed for each student beginning in the 1930s, compulsory chapel was not phased out entirely until 1960. Nevertheless, alumni of the compulsory era remember the chapel fondly, and many were married there. The Church of the Holy Spirit continues to be a popular venue for weddings and commitment ceremonies, for alumni and others alike.

The exterior of the Church of the Holy Spirit is in fine condition, following a summer-long refurbishment that included tuck-pointing, a gentle steam cleaning, repair of the slate roof, and replacement of opaque protective coverings on the stained glass windows with clear ones. The interior, while well cared for, is in need of some work, including repairing stained glass windows that have bowed and deteriorated over time and repainting some decorative emblems and illuminated passages from Scriptures on the walls.


Bodine, William Budd, ed. The Kenyon Book. Columbus, Ohio: Nitschke Brothers, 1890.

Greenslade, Thomas Boardman. Kenyon College: Its Third Half-Century. Gambier, OH: Kenyon College, 1975.

Johannesen, Eric. Ohio College Architecture before 1870. [Columbus?]: Ohio Historical Society, 1969.

Siekkinen, George. Kenyon College. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1975.

Smythe, George Franklin. Kenyon College: Its First Century. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1924.

Stamp, Tom. "This Will Do." Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin 22, no. 1 (Spring 2000).


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