The Chapel, University of Virginia

Charles E. Cassell

According to Jefferson's ideas relating to the separation of church and state, the new public University of Virginia would have no chapel; in fact, the central building, the Rotunda, would be the library. Since many were critical of this omission, plans were initiated as early as the 1850s to construct a chapel.
Although some had wanted a location in front the Rotunda, the interdenominational chapel was eventually sited west and behind the Rotunda. Its style is Gothic Revival, perhaps because Jefferson's Neoclassicism was viewed as secular whereas the Gothic style had a long ecclesiastical pedigree.

See also Thomas Jefferson Architecture Index.

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