Story Chapel

December 5, 2011

Built between 1896-98, Story Chapel is a non-denominational chapel at Mount Auburn.

Story Chapel was designed by architect Willard Sears following a design competition held by Mount Auburn. The Cemetery needed a second chapel –  Bigelow Chapel was dark and had poor acoustics – and wanted the design to integrate seamlessly with existing architecture (particularly the Egyptian Gate).

Story Chapel Nave

A non-denominational chapel, Story follows the English Perpendicular style and features carved wooden beams, brickwork embellished with sandstone and carved limestone tracery, and carved wooden pulpits and pews, referencing the late 19th-century affinity for the Arts and Crafts aesthetic. It was built of Potsdam sandstone, chosen for its richness and variegation of color, with yellow bricks used in the interior.

Originally called the “New Chapel,” the chapel was later named for Justice Joseph Story, the first President of the Cemetery and one of its founders. In 1929 architects Allen and Collens supervised the installation of stained glass in the nave and chancel of the chapel. The work was created and signed by Earl E. Sanborn, a local glass artist, and features traditional Christian imagery.

Story Chapel, located on Central Avenue just inside the Cemetery Entrance, is  adjacent to the Administration Building also designed by Sears. Today the Chapel is used for memorial services, public programs, and houses the Cemetery’s Visitors Center.

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2 Comments

  1. Ann Nolan says:

    I visited the chapel this morning as a neighbor was buried there today My mother is buried in the cemetery there along with a couple of other relatives I had no idea what the chapel held
    Is it opened to the public Hiw many people are buried there.

    • Jennifer Johnston says:

      Hi Ann,

      Mount Auburn’s “community of the dead” now totals more than 100,000 people. Among those buried here are some of the men and women who have shaped our local, regional, and national identity: activists, authors, designers, inventors, scientists, and philosophers. Also buried here, in even greater numbers, are those important in our own lives: mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, daughters and sons, mentors and friends.

      Story Chapel can comfortably seat 175, and has space for additional seating if needed. The chapel also houses a historic Hook & Hastings organ, ideal for including live music in a service.

      Story Chapel is also the site of our Visitors Center which is open from 9-4:30 seven days a week (when the chapel is not in use for a memorial service).

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