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Fairchild Chapel

50 West Lorain
Oberlin, OH 44074

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In 1930, Oberlin College decided that new facilities were in order for its Graduate Theological School. Architect Cass Gilbert (Finney Chapel, Allen Memorial Museum, Allen Memorial Hospital, Cox Administration Building) was commissioned for the project. It would be the aging architect's last Oberlin project, and also the capstone for his long-standing campaign to develop a distinctive Oberlin style. A 1903 bequest from Mrs. D. Willis James, combined with $400,000 from the John D. Rockefeller familiar were made available for the project. The new theological complex, or quadrangle, would serve as a sort of campus for divinity students. The quadrangle would include Fairchild Chapel, a library, classrooms, faculty offices, a dining hall, and a gymnasium, enclosing a peaceful courtyard. The 150-seat chapel looks southward over Tappan Square with the shared facade of Bosworth Hall and juts northward into the courtyard. Its lofty interior is only sparsely decorated with five beautiful stained glass chancel windows, designed in 1959 by Henry Lee Willet. When the College voted to terminate the Graduate Theology program in 1965, all the buildings in the quadrangle were converted to secular purposes save for Fairchild Chapel, which stands as the last reminder of the quadrangle's original purpose. Today, the church is primarily used for weddings and musical performances.

Fall, 2009

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