St. Mary's Chapel

Ariel view of St. Mary's

Outside St. Mary's Chapel The Chapel and attached cloister is all that remains of a once flourishing school for girls that succumbed to changed educational preferences and the economic depression of the 1930s. Chapel construction was started in 1881 and, with the exception of a few windows, was completed in 1888. The cloister was completed in 1890.

This Chapel is a perfect example of vertical Gothic design. The windows and roof proportions are reminders of the great 13th century masterpieces of Europe. When viewed from the inside, the wooden structure supporting the roof, particularly that above the sanctuary, is reminiscent of its counterpart in the Chapel of Notre Dame de Paris. This wooden structure is of particular interest as it was formed in a Chicago shop and then transported to Knoxville for reassembly. Chapel Aisle

Chapel Altar The altar is of Caen stone and paneling of tinted alabaster. Tinted alabaster is rare elsewhere in Illinois architecture. Also, the only painting in the Chapel is immediately above the altar and is a copy of the central portion of "the Ascension" by Raphael. Inside the Chapel

Chapel Organ The pipe organ in the Chapel dates back to 1886. It was built and installed by the old Pilcher Company of Louisville, Kentucky. In April of the installation year, one of the Pilcher sons presented an organ recital. Today, the fragile mechanism requires frequent adjustment. However, age has not affected the voice of this instrument as it is enjoyed at special chapel services.

Four nearly a quarter of a century, a blind man, known to the students as "Blind Charles," was the organ blower. His final resting place is in the Leffingwell plot of the Knoxville cemetery. The baptismal font, located near the organ was dedicated to his memory.

The Chapel Windows

Other Views of the Chapel

Close-up of Chapel bricks  Bell Outside Chapel  Back of Chapel

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