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Duke Chapel

On Saturday Mr. D and I took a road trip to Durham, NC.  We wanted to visit Duke Chapel that is on the campus of Duke University.  It truly amazes me that a long time ago James Duke walked through a forest and had a dream of building a church in the middle of the forest.  He wanted it to be the center of a college campus that was trinity university when it was created.  The construction began in 1930.

According to Wikipedia:

Duke University Chapel is a chapel located at the center of the campus of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, United States. It is an ecumenical Christian chapel and the center of religion at Duke, and has connections to the United Methodist Church. Constructed from 1930 to 1932, the Chapel seats about 1,800 people and stands 210 feet (64 m) tall, making it one of the tallest buildings in Durham County. It is built in the Collegiate Gothic style, characterized by its large stones, pointed arches, and ribbed vaults.[1] It has a 50-bell carillon and three pipe organs, one with 5,033 pipes and another with 6,900 pipes.[2]

The Chapel stands at the center of the university, on the highest ridge of Duke University’s West Campus. Although plans for a chapel were first made in April 1925, the cornerstone was not laid until October 22, 1930. When it was completed in 1935 at a cost of $2.3 million, the Chapel was the last of the original buildings to be built on West Campus. It was first used during Commencement in 1932, and was formally dedicated on June 2, 1935. Stained-glass windows and other details were installed at a later date.[3] The chapel was designed by Julian Abele, chief designer for the Philadelphia firm of Horace Trumbauer.



Side of the Cathedral



Adjacent building to the Cathedral


Another building adjacent to the cathedral. I love the window in this building.



The side door entrance to the cathedral


A view of the side yard from the cathedral



Duke Chapel



Altar of the Chapel



Can you imagine a bride walking down this long isle to get married? I might get cold feet along the way.



These are the inside doors that are an entrance to the chapel

Mr. D and I have always been fascinated with churches and we love to tour the different styles all over the South.  I was as impressed with Duke Chapel as I thought I would be.  No disappointment and I would highly recommend a visit to see the beautiful creation.  I was a little sad about visiting the chapel on Saturday instead of Sunday because I wanted to hear the organ.  To my amazement, the organist was practicing so were able to hear the organ and it was beautiful.

I must say Mr. D and I are not Duke fans.  If you live in North Carolina you have an allegiance to one school and you can’t like two ACC schools.  It just doesn’t happen.  Mr. D is a Carolina fan and I am an NC State fan.  After visiting the chapel, I asked him if he wanted to visit the Duke spirit store.  He just shook his head no and I was glad because I didn’t want to visit it either.

I have visited the campuses of NC State, UNC @ Chapel Hill and Duke. The different schools have their own individual personalities.  NC State is known for it’s engineering and agriculture schools and I always get the impression that their students go to school and study.  They also like to have a good time and don’t take themselves too seriously.  UNC Chapel Hill is a preppy campus and you must dress a certain way and their basketball uniforms are usually designed by Alexander Julian.  My impression of Duke is how studious and intellectual it seems to be.  It is a campus that has lots of shade trees and I saw lots of students all over the campus studying on a Saturday morning.

We also visited Sarah P. Duke Gardens and I will share pictures from that experience soon.  Thanks for stopping by.

4 responses »

  1. Thank you, SSS, for the walk down memory lane. My father was the Divinity School librarian for 45 years in one of those adjacent buildings. Many of my tears have stained and faded on the Chapel floor, and one of my unofficial godfathers, who blessed me when I was born, lies peacefully in the crypt downstairs. In fact, as a small child, I interrupted a wedding he was officiating at the Chapel, escaping from my parents to run down that long aisle and hug his knees. The Carillioner is a family friend, and he let me ring the Chapel bells after my Mother’s memorial.

  2. It is spectacular and Sarah P Duke Gardens is on that side of campus, too. I recommend attending one service there. Even if you are not religious its awesome to be in such a Gothic European inspired building.


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