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Packer Chapel (Packer Memorial Church)

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Packer Memorial Church
1885, Addison Hutton
  • (© George E. Thomas)

After the death of Asa Packer in 1879, his daughter Mary Packer Cummings gave the university a chapel in his name. A High Victorian Gothic design by Quaker architect Hutton, it is built of gray rubble with yellow sandstone trim, has a Latin cross plan with heavily buttressed transepts, polygonal apse, and a tough corner tower rising to a stone spire. The chapel was initially consecrated as an Episcopal church, but as the town's Episcopal Cathedral Church of the Holy Nativity ( NO36) was nearby in Fountain Hill, it was changed to a nondenominational chapel. At the time of its construction, the university's chaplain, the Reverend Elwood Worcester, praised it as “one of the most beautiful collegiate churches in America … in spite of its windows,” adding that “poor stained-glass windows have done more harm to true religion in America than all our atheists.” The windows were replaced in 1909. The chapel itself has recently undergone a comprehensive (and award-winning) restoration that included chipping out all masonry joints and re-mortaring, re-leading, and setting the stained glass windows, and rebuilding deteriorated soft stone ornament.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Packer Chapel (Packer Memorial Church)", [Bethlehem, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 286-287.

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