Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
College Chapel (Main Campus)

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Institution Name: Berry College
Original/Historic Place Name: Mount Berry Chapel
Location on Campus: main college campus; west of library on apex of Martha Berry Circle
Date(s) of Construction:
1915original construction Carlson, Harry
1927-1928expansion of chapel
1945-1946chapel tower rebuilt
Designer: Harry Carlson (Boston)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Colonial revival (Glossary)
Significance: education, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: part brick and part granite stone
Walls: solid brick
Roof: slate shingles
 
Function:
1915-present (2006)chapel (for services, graduations, assemblies, weddings, funerals, and memorial services)
 

Narrative:
The chapel, commanding the entire central campus area, was designed by architect Harry Carlson of Boston (who also designed the Ford Buildings) and was built by students in 1915. It was modeled after Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, which was purported to be modeled after the London church designed by the noted 18th-century architect Sir Christopher Wren.

Originally seating 750, the chapel was expanded in 1927-1928 to accommodate 1,100. The 105-foot chapel tower was rebuilt in 1945-1946; steel supports were installed to replace the wooden timbers; and other deteriorating woodwork was replaced. (Bees had stored honey in one of the columns, and several gallons were salvaged and used in the dining halls.)

The chapel was a gift to the schools from Mrs. Curtis James, who gave $50,000 for its construction. The gift was made anonymously, and the marble tablet in the narthex of the building was left blank, symbolizing the donor's desire to remain nameless.

Over the years the chapel has been used not only for church services but also for weddings, lectures, memorial services, and choral concerts, which are attended both by members of the college and the local community. Roland Hayes, the internationally recognized tenor, performed in the chapel several times and gave his last public concert there.
 

References:

Berry Trails: An Historic and Contemporary Guide to Berry College. Third edition. Mt. Berry, GA: Berry College, 2001.

Martha Berry Papers. Berry College Archives, Mount Berry, GA.

Thomas, Kenneth H., Jr. The Berry Schools [Berry College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1978.

 

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Last update: November 2006