Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Skinner Memorial Chapel

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Institution Name: Carleton College
Original/Historic Place Name: Skinner Memorial Chapel
Location on Campus: 405 First St. E.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1915-1916original construction Holmes & Flinn
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: Indiana limestone
Walls: Indiana limestone
Roof: clay tile
ca. 1916-present (2007)chapel
ca. 2004-present (2007)student union
ca. 2004-present (2007)administration (offices)
ca. 2004-present (2007)classrooms

Significance: architecture, education, history
Landmark designation:
National RegisterSkinner Memorial Chapel (1981)
Narrative: see below
References: see below

The chapel was a gift of Emily Willey Skinner in memory of her husband, Miron W. Skinner, a trustee of the college from its founding until his death in 1909. At the donor's request, the building was constructed to face the town rather than the campus to symbolize the relationship between the college and the surrounding community. Skinner Chapel, built in 1915-1916 and clad in gray Bedford limestone, is the centerpiece of the south end of the campus. Prior to its construction, chapel services had been held on the second floor of Willis Hall.

Patton, Holmes and Flinn, the successor to the Chicago firm that had designed Scoville Library, was hired to devise a unified plan. Called the "Group Plan," it was published in the college catalog between 1917-1918 and 1947-1948. Symmetrically laid out, it had a men's quadrangle at the west, a women's quadrangle at the east, a chapel and academic office building at the south, and an academic teaching building at the north. The overall stylistic inspiration was Gothic, which had enjoyed a great resurgence for college design at the end of the nineteenth century. City College in New York, the University of Chicago, and Yale University in New Haven are notable examples. All ten buildings constructed during the Cowling era were designed by Patton, Holmes and Flinn, or its successor firm, Holmes and Flinn.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Bloomberg, Britta. Skinner Memorial Chapel [Carleton College]. Inventory report. St. Paul, MN: State Historic Preservation Office, Minnesota Historical Society, 1981.

Carleton College Database (2006). Carleton College Facilities, Management and Planning Office. Carleton College, Northfield, MN.

Dober, Richard P. Campus Design. New York: John Wiley, 1992.

Headley, Leal A., and Merrill E. Jarchow. Carleton: The First Century. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1966.

Jarchow, Merrill E. Carleton Moves Confidently Into Its Second Century. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1992.

Jarchow, Merrill E. Educator, Idealist, Humanitarian, Donald J. Cowling. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1974.

Jarchow, Merrill E. In Search of Fulfillment: Episodes in the Life of D. Blake Steward. St. Paul, MN: North Central Publishing Company, 1974.

Jarchow, Merrill E. Private Liberal Arts Colleges in Minnesota: Their History and Contributions. Saint Paul, MN: Historical Society, 1973.

Jarchow, Merrill E., and David H. Porter. Carleton Remembered 1909-1986. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1987.

Knox College. Memorials in American Colleges. Galesburg, IL: Knox College, [1930?].

Leonard, Delvan L. The History of Carleton College. Chicago: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1904.

Pearson, Marjorie, and Charlene K. Roise, Carleton College Campus: An Historical Survey. Minneapolis, MN: Hess, Roise and Company, 2001.

Skinner Memorial Chapel [Carleton College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1982.

Soth, Lauren. Architecture at Carleton: A Brief History and Guide. Northfield, MN: Carleton College, 1987.

II. Location of other data:
Government Offices

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