Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Seeger Memorial Chapel

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Institution Name: Milligan College
Original/Historic Place Name: W. R. Walker Memorial Chapel
Location on Campus: 140 Richardson Rd.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1964-1967original construction Goodwin and Rawles
1996-1997renovation Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: reinforced concrete
Walls: antique-faced red brick; Indiana limestone (columns and trim)
Roof: slate
1967-present (2007)faculty offices
1967-present (2007)other (music practice rooms)
1967-present (2007)classrooms
1967-present (2007)auditorium
1967-present (2007)chapel

Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Seeger Memorial Chapel is widely considered the crown of Milligan's campus. Architects Goodwin and Rawles designed the building after that of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London. The chapel and the library occupy the central area of campus, an intentional symbol of the College's dual emphasis on faith and learning. The plan of Seeger Chapel is cruciform, with the narthex of the building facing north toward the main entrance of campus. The two-story limestone columns of the portico and a 170-foot spire grace the northern end of the building. The spire houses a carillon which chimes on the hour, and ringing out a hymn at noon and six o'clock. Atop the spire stands a twelve foot tall, solid bronze Celtic cross, the highest point on campus.

In addition to the beautiful brick and limestone exterior, the interior of Seeger Chapel is adorned with art symbolizing various tenants and stories of the Christian faith. The stained glass was designed by President Dean Everest Walker and executed by artist Gordon Smith of Fort Worth, TX. Two rows of windows line the east and west walls of the sanctuary: the top east row depicts six Old Testament stories and the top west row depicts six New Testament stories. The lower rows represent the Twelve Disciples. Other stained glass windows depict the Glory of God, events in the life of Christ, Moses, and the Apostle Paul.

The baptistery facing is Rose Espanel marble; the interior is Italian Crème and Alabama Crème A [sic] marble. A mosaic above the baptistery depicts the Dove of the Holy Spirit. A similar mosaic in the keystone of the proscenium arch above the stage depicts the Hand of God. On the chapel's central axis, a color-burst stained glass window symbolizes God, making symbols of God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit the physical and spiritual center of the space.

The front of Seeger's stage is composed of three sections, each on hydraulic lifts. This enables the stage to be raised or lowered for space or to create an orchestra pit. A 46-rank pipe organ is concealed behind the stage.

Seeger was renovated in 1996-97, including the refinishing of wood floors, painting of the interior, and the installation of new electrical and communications wiring.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Cornwell, Cynthia Ann. Beside the Waters of the Buffalo: A History of Milligan College to 1941. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1989.

Holloway, Clint. "Age Deo Fide et Amore: A History of Milligan College, 1940-1968." M. A. thesis, Emmanuel School of Religion, 1998.

Hopwood, Josephus. A Journey Through the Years: An Autobiography. St. Louis, MO: Bethany Press, 1932.

II. Location of other data:
University: Special Collections, Facilities Management Office, Unknown
—details: Archives, Milligan College.

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