UD’s Chapel of the Immaculate Conception: A sanctuary for 150 years

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

An early photograph of the interior of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception captures the ornate beauty of the centerpiece of the University of Dayton campus.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

An early photograph of the interior of the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception captures the ornate beauty within the centerpiece of the University of Dayton campus.

The black-and-white photograph shows a large crowd gathered for College Day on Dec. 11, 1918. Under a large veil draped over the center alter, His Eminence James Cardinal Gibbons officiates.

Construction of the chapel began in 1867. The original bricklayers built 22-inch walls and six chimneys. By the next year workers had raised a roof over the chapel.

Originally, the sanctuary was designed with a simple arch and communion rail. The altar and tabernacle were made of marble. In the 1870s, side altars and the stations of the cross were added as well as a coal-burning stove described to be so large it nearly filled the space inside the chapel.

Artists painted murals on the interior walls and a depiction of the Coronation of Mary on the ceiling in the late 1800s, but over the years the murals were painted over or lost in renovations.

A $12 million, 14-month-long renovation of the historic chapel was completed in 2015.

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