Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Gunnison Memorial Chapel

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Institution Name: St. Lawrence University
Original/Historic Place Name: Gunnison Memorial Chapel
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1925-1926original construction Goodhue, Bertram Grosvenor
ca. 1972gradual additions of stained glass Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: stone
Walls: white limestone
Roof: slate
ca. 1926-present (2007)chapel

Significance: architecture, education, religion
Landmark designation:
National RegisterSt. Lawrence University - Old Campus Historic District (1983)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The chapel is a 20th century Gothic revival style structure of white rusticated limestone quarried in nearby Morley, New York. It exhibits many characteristics of Gothic design: exterior buttresses, stone tracery, pointed-arched windows, and an interior cathedral ceiling partially built of old ships' timber from Maine. It also features vaulted interior side corridors, and an exterior asymmetrical tower with a battlement parapet and a traced polygonal spire rising more than 100 feet from the ground. This spire is topped with a Gallic cock weather vane as a French reminder of the Christ and St. Peter story.

Other notable features include a tower chime built by the Meneely Company of Troy, New York, and given by author Irving Bacheller, interior beam designs probably painted by Frenchmen commissioned from Montreal, and a pipe organ built by Estey Organ Company of Brattleboro, Vermont. The organ contains 2,000 pipes in the main bank and 450 pipes in the echo bank of the tower. As originally built, the chapel contained two stained-glass windows in the chancel: a Crown-Cross window, and a Morte d'Arthur symbolic work. Since 1972, the remainder of the windows have been filled with stained glass in designs incorporating the various aims and missions of the university.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Baule, John A. St. Lawrence University--Old Campus Historic District. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1974.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections, Facilities Management Office, Unknown
—details: Archives, Owen D. Young Library, St. Lawrence University.
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