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Virginia's Chapel (Little Brick Church)

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Little Brick Church
1853. 1910. 1980, Paul D. Marshall and Associates. West side of U.S. 60, 1 mile south of intersection with Kanawha County 81

William Tompkins promised his daughter Virginia anything she wanted when she completed her education. She asked for a church, and this small brick chapel was the embodiment of her wish. Completed in 1853, it suffered harsh treatment from both sides during the Civil War. Confederates used it as a hospital, and Union troops commandeered it as a stable. A $700 reparation from the U.S. government helped spur postwar repairs. The Tompkinses intended the chapel to be used by all denominations, but eventually Methodists gained exclusive use, adding a new belfry and lengthening the building by one bay in 1910. Side walls have simple Gothic lancet windows and sawtooth brick cornices, while the oddly composed facade has an arched entrance in the base of the tower, a blind frame stage above, and then a large, louvered octagonal belfry surmounted by a short spire. The chapel, now crowded between highway and railroad, is surrounded by an earlier graveyard. Though used only occasionally, Virginia's graduation gift remains a well-loved area landmark.

Writing Credits

Author: 
S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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