Albion Interactive History

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Goodrich Chapel, 1958

Block +
US Census Block # 34-110

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Frank Dean

Proposed construction for the Frederic S. Goodrich Memorial Chapel was in the money-raising stage in late 1945. The campaign was being handled largely by theAlumni Association and was to be “completed under these auspices without the need for directfinancing on the part of the Board of Trustees.” The chapel fund report at that time showed $110,000 had been pledged. Co-chairman of the drive to raise funds for the chapel were Dr. Mark E. Putnam, ’10, executivevice-president of the Dow Chemical Company, and the Rev. Dr. Marshall R. Reed, ’14,later Bishop Reed.

As Dr. Whitehouse had said early in his administration, the job of raising funds for the chapel was largely an Alumni Association matter, at least in the earlier stages. In the college treasury on June 5, 1950, there was $193,658.24 toward the cost of an edifice which, at that time, was expected to total between $500,500 and $600,000. Part of that less-than $200,000 consisted of a gift of $40,401.80 for an organ.

The chapel was expected to contain seating sufficient for 1,450 persons, adequate for the entire community of students and faculty members. By 1951 the chapel fund contained $2500,000 in cash and $27,000 in valid pledges. By June 7, 1954 the chapel fund totaled $336, 558 in cash and pledges for the chapel and its pipe organ. At that time Dr. Whitehouse said cost of the structure, except for organ, was estimated at $720,000.

He described plans for raising money for it. Among them was the “500 Club,” a plan through which alumni would co-operate in a drive to find 500 persons among their number who would provide $500 each or someone who would. Meanwhile, the college was beginning to acquire land onwhich to build the chapel. Not only was it necessary to acquire much of the property in the area, but it was necessary also to persuade the city to vacate Perry Street for the one-block distance between Ingham andOswego Streets. This was done. Hence, by the time the college was able to start construction it owned all the property in the two block area except asmall plot in the southwest corner. All the houses obtained by the college in the area, except one, were either sold, moved away to new sites, or torn down to enable the Goodrich Memorial Chapel.

In November 1955, President Whitehouse reported the chapel fund contained $480,000 in “cash, bonds, and good pledges” compared with the $336,558 he had reported a year and ahalf previously, on June 7, 1954.

The general contract had been awarded to the Miller-Davis Company of Kalamazoo. The heating andventilating contract went to the Smith-Hammond Company of Battle Creek, and the UnionElectrical Company of Battle Creek was assigned to do the electrical work.

The cornerstone was laid October 13, 1956, the Saturday of Homecoming. This was one of the early steps toward the completion, expected by July 1958. Dr. Whitehousesaid the chapel budget, including the cost of furnishing, probably would call for an expenditure of about $1,000,000 and that it would benecessary to raise a little over $300,000 to cover the total cost.”

By December of 1956, he was also able to say that if construction were completed by July, 1958, the tentative date set for it, the rest of the summer would be used for installation of the pipe organ which the M.P. Moller Company of Hagerstown, Maryland, was engaged to build.

Contributions continued to reach the college to the point where President Whitehouse said the chapel fund on June 1, 1957, contained $722,909 of which $368,579 had been paid the contractor toward the total cost which by this time was estimated at $1,022,268. By that time donors numbered 3,399, including 475 persons who had given more than once.

The Chapel was finally ready to hold Commencement on June 9, 1958. The decision to hold the Commencement on June 9 in the new building, although it was not quite completed, came after the entire senior class had signed a petition requesting that it be held there. The petition was submitted by the class president, Kent Moorehead. It was granted although folding chairs had to be placed in thesanctuary since pews had not yet been installed. Dr. Whitehouse said the petition by the class “will be treasured as a milestone in the history of the College and themanifestation of enthusiasm by this class of 1958.

The chapel was completed and dedicated as scheduled on Sunday, September 21, 1958. Bishop Marshall R. Reedpreached the sermon, and others, beside Dr. Whitehouse, who participated were Dr. Howard C. Lawrence, president of the Board of Trustees; Kenneth B. Hollidge, ’35, president of the Alumni Association; and the Rev. Dr. John Tennant, pastor of the MethodistChurch. The works of Anthony Taffs, then assistant professor of piano and theory, and David L. Strickler, chairman of the music department, were sung.Both faculty members wrote anthems for the occasion. The carillon, a gift of W.A. Niles, ’98, also was dedicated.

The next day, Monday, September 22 at 9am, students attended their first regular chapel service in the new building. The following Sunday, September 28, the Methodist Churchconsecrated its religious education center and the Wesley Chapel. The E.E. Horner MemorialOrgan and the antiphonal organ were dedicated that evening. The Horner organ was the gift of members of the Horner family, while the antiphonal organ was the gift of Charlotte Sheldon Putnam. Dr. Andrew Schreiner, widely known organist from Salt Lake City, played the two instruments. Gildart, 250

Source: Gildart, Robert. Albion College, 1835-1960, A History. Chicago: Donnelley Lakeside Press, 1961.

Cornerstone ceremony for Goodrich Chapel in 1956. (L-R) President Whitehouse, Bishop Marshall R. Reed, Dr. Howard Lawrence, Dr. Sebastian S. Kresge, Edward Brigham Sr., and Frederic S. Goodrich IV.

The Goodrich Chapel cornerstone was laid one fine, sunny day in 1956. Sebasitain S. Kresge, center, takes the work seriously while Howard C. Lawrence, left, president of the Board of Trustees, watches the process.

Goodrich Chapel during middle phases of construction looked like this. The camera was pointed northwestward.

Dedication September 21, 1958. Goodrich Chapel was virtually completed when this photograph was taken, but its newness is apparent here, for the large lamps, now attached to the wall, had not yet been installed.

Frederic Goodrich, Albion College chaplain and namesake of Goodrich Chapel.

Two views of chapel facing towards stage.

Balcony seating and view of stage from balcony.

Music Department office in the basement after renovation in 1998.

Large rehearsal room in basement also after 1998 renovation.

The steeple of Goodrich Chapel is visible from miles away.

Source: Isaac Kremer, January 2004

From the Albion College Archives

Goodrich Chapel

It took the College nearly 14 years, amid the climactic times following World War II, to raise the funds necessary to finally complete the Chapel in 1958. By 1939, the old chapel in South Hall was filled to capacity, and by the end of 1948 Dr. Frederic S. Goodrich, professor of English Bible and College chaplain for more than half a century, in whose honor the building was named, had died.

In 1953, the proposal came up again to abandon the 65-year old Methodist Church at Ionia and Erie Streets in Albion and build a combination college-town chapel-church adjacent to the College campus. Not all members of the church agreed, but enough were tired of the limited parking spaces, inadequate church school facilities, leaking roof and flooding basement to vote in favor of the proposal.

Albion First Methodist Church

Upon completion, there was a week of celebration, beginning September 21, 1958 when the local congregation met for the last time at the Erie Street Church for a brief prayer service and then marched downtown to campus for a dedication service for the chapel. The week wrapped up the following Sunday with the dedication of the E.E. Horner Memorial Organ and the Antiphonal Organ, presided over by Rev. Wayne H. Fleenor, ’24. (Fennimore, pp.581-587)

The sanctuary seats more than 1,400 people, vs. the original plans for capacity at 800. Chapel offices and classrooms house the Music Department in the basement and tower.

All photographs are from the Albion College Archives Photograph Files, unless otherwise noted.


Networked Resources

Click to access goodrich.pdf

Source: Albion College Archives, 2003 [Downloaded July 3, 2003]

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