Old Chapel (Amherst, Massachusetts)

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Old Chapel
Old Chapel.jpg
View of Old Chapel, with the W.E.B. Du Bois Library to the right
Alternative names Old Chapel Library
Stone Chapel
General information
Type Academic offices, assembly hall, library
Architectural style Richardsonian Romanesque
Current tenants Vacant
Construction started 1884
Completed 1887
Technical details
Floor count 3
Design and construction
Architect Stephen C. Earle, Worcester
Main contractor John Beston, Amherst

Old Chapel, formerly known as the Old Chapel Library, is a landmark on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Constructed in 1884 at a cost of $25,000[1] to serve as a library, museum, and assembly hall, the Richardson Romanesque style building, constructed by Stephen C. Earle, has over the years been home to numerous academic departments and, most recently, the UMass Marching Band.[2] The Chapel's original bell, "Old Aggie," was added in 1892, since replaced by 44 Carillon bells.[1] Although the tower underwent a $1.65 million renovation in 1999, the Old Chapel has been uninhabited since 1996; a movement among alumni exists to further renovate the interior of the building, allowing the Old Chapel to again be used as a center for campus life.[1]

John F. Kennedy supposedly spoke at the Chapel during his 1952 U.S. Senate campaign.[2]

In 2013 Amherst Campus Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy announced a campaign to restore and re-purpose the interior of Old Chapel. In support of that campaign, a private organization, Preserve UMass, filed a nomination for this building to the National Register of Historic Places. The filing was made with the Massachusetts Historical Commission and with Chancellor Subbaswamy. In the course of research for the nomination, the assertion that John F. Kennedy spoke in this building during his 1952 U.S. Senate campaign could not be verified with the staff at the J.F. K. Library.


Coordinates: 42°23′20.24″N 72°31′40.70″W / 42.3889556°N 72.5279722°W / 42.3889556; -72.5279722