Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Suzanne H. Arnold Gallery

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Institution Name: Lebanon Valley College
Original/Historic Place Name: St. Paul's Lutheran Church
Location on Campus: N. White Oak and Church Sts.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1889original construction (replacement for an earlier structure on the same site built in 1868) Unknown
ca. 1910addition of wing and choir loft Unknown
ca. 1935addition of stained glass and current chancel decoration Unknown
ca. 1955renovation of nave and basement Unknown
ca. 1992interior renovation; repaired roof Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: limestone
Walls: brick; limestone; sandstone; wood
Roof: slate
ca. 1869-1968other (church)
ca. 1971-1993other (general storage and offices for college)
1994-present (2007)other (Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery, including gallery and recital hall)

Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The Suzanne H. Arnold Art Gallery, the former St. Paul's Lutheran Church, was constructed in 1889 and replaced an earlier structure on the same site that had been built in 1868. Until 1968, the building was used as a church. In that year, the congregation merged with the First Lutheran Church, Annville, to form the present St. Mark's congregation on Main Street. Lebanon Valley College purchased the building after the two congregations merged.

The building has two cornerstones; one is located at the northeast corner of the nave and dated 1889, which marks the start of construction. The other, located at the northwest corner of the nave, is dated 1868, marking the date of construction of another structure just west on Church Street. This other structure had served as the original place of worship for St. Paul's congregation for nearly 20 years before the construction of 1889 was underway. Over its history the building has experienced various changes: the addition of a Sunday school wing and choir loft (ca. 1910), stained glass and the present chancel decoration (ca. 1930), nave and basement renovations (ca. 1950).

The exterior walls are red brick, several layers thick, which support the roof, and which have weathered to a soft earth-pink color. The foundation is built of gray limestone, and the walls facing Church Street and North White Oak Street are capped by a band of dressed limestone. Some of the corners have buttresses that are capped by red sandstone. The window sills are either dressed limestone or red sandstone, and the remainder of the exterior trim is wood. A bell tower capped with a plain spire is the tallest element of the building, and can be seen as a point of orientation from the rest of campus.

The building was renovated fully in the early 1990s, when it was converted from a formal sacred space into a functional art gallery and recital hall. By 1991, architectural plans were drawn up and the college undertook the project to re-point and re-paint the exterior woodwork and to make major repairs to the slate roof. The priorities for the interior have been to create space for museum-quality exhibitions, musical recitals, receptions, other programs, and also provide for storage, a loading dock, and security. The gallery opened its first exhibition in the fall of 1994 and in the 13 years since that time has played host to many fine art exhibitions featuring the art of Mary Cassatt, Rembrandt, Albrecht Dürer, George Inness, Alfred Stigelitz, William Glackens, James McNeill Whistler, and Louis Comfort Tiffany, among others.

I. Bibliographic sources:
II. Location of other data:
University: Unknown
—details: Gallery offices.

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Last update: November 2006