The Chapel

The chapel was built in 1879 and dedicated on November 24, 1880. When deciding where the structure should be built, the building committee focused on a few requirements. It needed to be near the entrance, far enough away from the annoyance of the railroad tracks, which border the cemetery on the west, and a level piece of land with a hill behind it was necessary for the receiving vault. The chapel was built on the hill opposite the previous receiving vault. It was designed in the medieval gothic style by the architect Joseph L. Silsbee, who had been a teacher of Frank Lloyd Wright. The chapel and vault cost $21,000 and the sewer cost $2,000. In the winter, the vault could hold 200 bodies until the spring thaw at which time burial could take place.

Like many buildings in the older portion of Oakwood, the Chapel is slowly deteriorating due to weather and vandalism. Since about the early 1990's it has been boarded shut. Before that time the interior had been used and abused by less then respectful individuals. The grassroots group Historic Oakwood Cemetery Preservation Association has made preserving the Chapel one of their priorities, in addition to planting various varieties of trees, and replacing the signs in Dedication Valley. The group raised funds to reroof the Chapel within the last few years. Even with the deterioration, the Chapel is a beautiful example of period architecture.


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