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Facilities / Parking

A place of refuge and renewal

August 4, 2011
by Paul Miller

Danforth Chapel, a dignified and welcome place for ecumenical services, weddings, and meditation, is one of the more unique buildings on CSU's campus. Located in a grove of black walnut trees on the northwest side of the Oval, the chapel was designed by architect James Hunter to embrace an environment of spiritual reflection for all faiths.

Danforth Chapel

(10 images)

The chapel is located on the northwest side of the Oval.

Danforth was built at at cost of $60,000 in 1953-54.

The building includes black walnut pews and a marble altar.

The chapel is small but solid. The intimate setting makes you feel welcome.

The non-denominational chapel is open to the public from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays.

The stainglass window was produced from glass imported from England, France, and Germany.

The ashes of the chapel's architect, James Hunter, are entombed in a niche in the building's wall.

The theme of the stained glass, "The Genesis," is common to many religions, expressed here in air, earth, fire, and water.

The chapel includes ornate solid copper doors.

Images of angels greet visitors.

Chapel dedicated in May 1954

The chapel, built in 1953-54 at a cost of $60,000, was constructed and furnished by contributions from several hundred people and various organizations, chief among them the Danforth Foundation of St. Louis and the Foundation president, William H. Danforth, and members of his family.

The chapel, dedicated in May 1954, is a graceful and aesthetically warm building with copper doors, stained glass, black walnut pews, marble altar, and grid of redwood muntins. Outside, a small garth, or walled enclosure, on two sides of the building creates a secluded space for meditation.

Architect's ashes entombed in wall

“It’s unlike any other building on campus,” says Fred Haberecht, landscape architect at CSU. “It’s small but solid, an intimate presence that draws you in and makes you feel welcome. A lot of heart went into designing Danforth.”

In fact, James Hunter, Danforth’s architect, was so attached to his creation that his ashes are entombed in a niche in the building’s wall. He chose this place of power as his permanent resting place.

Stained glass tells story

The theme of the stained glass, “The Genesis,” is common to many religions and is expressed here in air, earth, fire, and water. Creation of the window followed “mouth-blown” techniques that have varied little from techniques used in cathedrals dating to the 12th century. The window was produced in West Virginia from glass imported from England, France, and Germany.

The non-denominational chapel at 701 Oval Drive is open to the public from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays except during special events or University holidays. Events may be scheduled by calling (970) 491-0108 or 491-0056.