Orange Key Guide Service
Chapel Architecture and Features

The University Chapel was constructed from 1924 to 1928 at a cost of $2,325,457. The general plan is in the shape of a Latin Cross (cruciform). Different features suggest various influences of the Gothic tradition, making it impossible to designate the style as any particular period of Gothic. Constructed of Pennsylvania sandstone with Indiana limestone trim, the chapel seats almost 2,000 and is 270 feet long. The four-ton keystone over the crossing rises 76 feet above the floor. The University Chapel is the third largest college chapel in the world, behind the chapels at Valparaiso University, Indiana, and at King's College in Cambridge, England. Here are some other interesting chapel features:

  • The oak pews are made from wood saved from Civil War times; the wood was originally intended to make gun carriages.
  • In the chancel where the choir and clergy are seated for services, the wood for the pews came from Sherwood Forest in England and took 100 people more than a year to carve.
  • The chapel's stained glass collection is among the most valuable in the Western Hemisphere. When the chapel was renovated in 2002, much of the stained glass was sent to France for cleaning and restoration.
  • The chapel organ, renovated in 1990-91, has 109 stops and 8,000 pipes.
  • The Pulpit, brought from France, dates back to the middle of the 16th century.
  • The American flag that flew over the Capitol in Washington during the first two years of Woodrow Wilson's presidency is archived in the chapel.

To see more photos of the chapel, please click here.

(Adapted from An Interactive Campus History and "Princeton University: The Chapel" pamphlet.)