Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Provine Chapel

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Institution Name: Mississippi College
Original/Historic Place Name: The Chapel
Location on Campus: College St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1860original construction Bigelow & Larmour
1910removal of bell tower Unknown
1962-1963restoration Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: cypress timbers
Walls: bricks (made locally)
Roof: none specified
ca. 1860other (meeting rooms, office, and storage space)
1860-present (2007)chapel
ca. 2004-present (2007)auditorium
ca. 2004-present (2007)academic department building (Christian studies and philosophy)

Significance: architecture, culture, history, religion
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The interior of Provine Chapel has been maintained rather well through the years, but has also been changed somewhat (primarily downstairs). The original design included a bell tower over the entry that was removed in 1910. The building was restored in 1962-1963 and has been refurbished at other times. Some original pews were preserved in the balcony but little used. Tradition says Frank Lloyd Wright called this one of the finest existing examples of New-Grecian architecture. During the Civil War the Chapel was occupied briefly by both Confederate and Union soldiers passing through the town, and one small skirmish was fought on the campus. Since the local church shared with the college in the ownership, maintenance, and regular usage of the building from 1860 to 1923, the Chapel was a social center for the community. More importantly, it was a major channel of denominational influence, from student life to the highest levels of Baptist leadership through the years, both in the state and in the denomination as a whole. The name Provine Chapel is not original to the building but was chosen in 1968 to honor the name a renowned chemistry professor and president of the college from 1895-1898 and again from 1911-1932. In spite of changing details--air conditioning to replace fireplaces, for instance--the venerable chapel has remained a symbol of constancy, linking the modern Mississippi College with its illustrious and sometimes heroic past.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Butters, James. Chapel [Mississippi College]. Historic American Buildings Survey photograph. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1936.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections
Government Offices
Other: Charles E. Martin, Emeritus Vice President for Academic Affairs

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