Friday, December 30, 2005

Duke University Chapel



In 1952, some friends of my parents had a son at Duke. In preparation for a trip to visit him, they invited me and another girl to join them. I had never been south of WV at that point, so this trip was a cause for great excitement. Plans were to attend the Duke-Carolina Football Game on Saturday and then a performance of Handel's Messiah by the choir at Duke Chapel on Sunday. I had never been anywhere other than Ohio, never attended a football game, and certainly never had I ever been in a church as grand as the one at Duke. The photos here are from a program I picked up there in December of 1952.

The architectural style of the chapel is English Gothic; designed by Horace Trumbauer of Philadelphia, the first services were held there in June 1932. The interior length of the chapel is 291 feet, and I said at the time that if a bride walking down that aisle had a change of heart, she could be turned around and out of the chapel before any of her guests realized she had ever been there.

The chapel has a total of 77 stained-glass windows, with subjects drawn from both the Old and The New Testaments. They were designed by G. Owen Bonawit, Inc., NY.

Little did I know in 1952 that 50 years later, I would be involved in some weddings at Duke Chapel, providing flowers and decor. The experience of seeing that magnificent place, and hearing Handel's Messiah was unparalleled in my life at the time, and perhaps has not been topped since.



24 comments:

Rob said...

My wife and I visited the Duke campus and subsequently the Duke Chapel as one of our first "touristy"-type things when we moved here. Along with the Gardens there, they're two of my favorite places in the Triangle area.

Michele sent me!

Zachary said...

That church is just absolutely beautiful. I would love to get married in a church that looks like that or even remoltly close to that.

Michele sent me

ribbiticus said...

the church looks breathtaking. i love gothic architecture. have always dreamt of getting married in a church like the notre dame cathedral in paris. if that doesn't pan out, there are similar ones here too. :)

here via michele today, judy. :)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a fantastic place Judy..So very Beautiful! I can't get over how BIG it is...it's funny to think that a bride could be out of there before anyone knew she was in!!! I would imagine hearing The Messiah in that church must have been thrilling and awesome, too!

On another note: When you mentioned about Lee Meriwether's 'sister' I thought..Gee, Lee doesn't have a sister that I everr heard about...and in fact, she does not have a sister...but, she does have a brother! So...I don't know who the woman is now working in that restaurant....(lol)...
Remember that play I did where I had to take off my Brassiere? Well, Lee's husband, at that time, a wonderful actor named Frank Aletter played the man having the 'fantasy'...so, we were in this wonderful play together...And Lee understudied me in "Spoon River" when we did it here in Califirnia all those many years ago...and recently she was in the Revival Production of the same play, done at Theatre West...! She is a lovely terrific person and a good friend...! But, she has no sister that I know of....

ribbiticus said...

back via michele's. saw your comments at kontan's and all i can say is wow! you've got vintage cookie monster and raggedy ann dolls too? i'd love to visit your house, judy. i think i'd be happy to get a tour. :)

srp said...

Nyssa and I toured the campus there at Duke and the church is stunning. The Episcopal church on the campus of Sewanee is not as large but the stained glass windows are beautiful and it is done in a similar Gothic architecture, long and narrow.

craziequeen said...

You're not skipped - here I am, Judy!

Ah, the only place to really GET the Messiah is in an echoey old cathedral..... :-)

cq
Michele sent me

Peter said...

A beautiful church Judy.

Star said...

Hi Judy. I am here from Michele, although I was actually by once already this morning. You have so much memorabilia. I fear that in this digital age there will be alot less of that in the furture.

Laura said...

Ohhh, I'd love to see the inside of that church! What an experience that must have been.

Duke_of_Earle said...

Great memory. And clearly you're as much of a "pack rat" (never throw away anything) as I am.

The answer to your COST question will be revealed in today's post.

John

mar said...

Beautiful church. Visiting today from the French Alps to wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year! Glad to have met you in 2005.

Müzikdüde said...

I love old cathedrals. I've never seen Duke Chapel but would love to sometime

Jennifer said...

One of my favorite places in the entire Triangle. So serene, and spiritual, and just...calming.

My company recently completed the Divinity School addition on campus. You can hardly tell it hasn't always been there.

Karen said...

What a gorgeous chapel. Heck, that's not a chapel, that's practically a basilica! Amazing that you've saved that since 1952. Wow.

Michele sent me...

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Hallelujah, etc. You pack rat, you.

WendyWings said...

My MIL was an antique store owner, you could barely move in her house, she was more then a pack rat she was hoarder LOL
Michele sent me today.

Tan Lucy Pez said...

You have a program you picked up 50 years ago!? Wow. I'm in awe!

Marie said...

That chapel is breathtaking! There's nothing more peaceful than an empty church.

Happy New Year! Here from Michele's...

Jamie Dawn said...

That gothic chapel reminds me some of the Washington Cathedral in D.C. I have been there twice, and each time I have been awestruck by its beauty.
I've never had the pleasure of seeing Duke Chapel, but it looks gorgeous from your brochure.

YellowRose said...

I love the architecture of these churches. So majestic. I can just hear the notes of Handel's Messiah playing now...

Here via Michele's!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Hi Judy...
Michele sent me tonight...
I want to wish you a VERY VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR, my dear!

road apples said...

Your bride comment was very interesting. I wonder if any actually did what you proposed. That would make a wonderful story.

Merle said...

Hi Judy - What a wonderful chapel
More like a cathedral.

Thanks for your welcoming words to my heronsnest. Peter has done well to set it up from about 1000
kilometers away. I think he is pretty terrific.
That book sounds lovely -
"Love you forever".
Happy New Year to you & your family.