Ford Memorial Chapel
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The major funding for Ford Chapel came from Captain John B. Ford of Creighton, PA, who was dubbed "father of the plate glass industry in America" for his leadership of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. The original wooden steeple rotted and had to be removed, probably at the same time that the south tower was expanded in 1939 to enable construction of a second exit from the balcony, in accordance with new fire laws. The building was renovated in 1953, at which time the windows in the apse were plastered over, and the Chancel was dedicated in 1954. After damage in a storm around 1960, the north and south windows were replaced with modernistic glass designed by art professors Carl Heeschen and Dick Kleeman.
In the 1990s, the process of returning the building to its original condition began. The apse windows were uncovered in 1993 and restored in 1997, and the north and south windows are being replaced with designs based on photographs of the originals. The Ford-Ballantyne family are the principal donors for the new glass, which is being made by John Meyerhoff.
Members of the Ford family also contributed funds for the original pipe organ, which was designed by W. L. Mayer of Pittsburgh and built by Julius Neef of Philadelphia. The organ was reconstructed in 1947, and a three-manual Tellers Organ was dedicated on April 1, 1998. The latter contains Walker Technical Company digital pipe reproduction components and an R. A. Colby custom console. Ninety-one ranks with 76 speaking stops are divided among the great, swell, choir, antiphonal, and pedal divisions. MIDI compatible, the organ has 12 general pistons, 198 levels of memory, and utilizes 16 audio channels and Walker Company speakers.
Since its construction, Ford Chapel has been the center of spiritual and intellectual life at Allegheny, and is used for various worship and memorial services, lectures, and concerts. It is also a popular place for weddings of Allegheny alumni.
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