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The Duke University Chapel
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Consciously located by James B. Duke on the highest ridge at the center of the Duke University’s West campus and equipped with a 50-bell carillon and three pipe organs (one with 5,033 pipes and another with 6,900 pipes), the Duke Chapel was designed to command both adoration and respect.
At 210 feet tall, the chapel is one of the tallest buildings in Durham County, and was constructed from 1930 to 1935 at a cost of $2.3 million.
Built in the Collegiate Gothic style - characterized by large stones, pointed arches, and ribbed vaults, the chapel was heavily inspired by Boston College's Gasson Hall, which was built 19 years earlier.
The Chapel was the first building planned for the new Duke campus, but the last one to be completed.
The Duke University Chapel was designed by America’s first renowned African American architect, Julian Abele of the Horace Trumbauer firm, of Philadelphia. In addition to Duke’s original West Campus, Abele also designed the Georgian buildings on Duke’s East Campus. During his career, his other designs included the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Harvard’s Widener Library, and multiple mansions for James B. Duke.
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