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Naval Academy Chapel

Naval Academy Chapel

Basic information
Location 101 Cooper Rd
Annapolis, Maryland, United States
Affiliation Christian
Year consecrated 1908
Ecclesiastical or organizational status Chapel
Architectural description
Groundbreaking 1904
Year completed 1908
The ceiling of the chapel.

The United States Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Maryland, is one of two houses of worship on the grounds of the Navy's service academy. Protestant and Catholic services are held there. The Naval Academy Chapel is a focal point of the Academy and the city of Annapolis. The chapel is an important feature which led to the Academy being designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

Traditionally, new third-class midshipmen become "Youngsters" when they sight the chapel dome upon returning from their summer cruise.[1]



The Naval Academy Chapel was designed by Ernest Flagg.[2] The cornerstone was laid in 1904 by Admiral George Dewey and the dedication of the Chapel was on May 28, 1908.

In 1940, the Chapel underwent remodeling which doubled the seating capacity to 2,500, to accommodate a larger brigade of midshipmen. Until 1972, chapel attendance was compulsory. After remodeling, the chapel formed a large cross. The dome over the chapel is copper and the cupola is 200 feet (61 m) above the main altar area.

In 1995, the Chapel was featured on a U.S. Postal Service postage stamp, honoring the Academy's 150th anniversary.[3]

In 2009 — nearly seventy years after the 1940 renovation and expansion — the chapel underwent an extensive restoration that included the repair of decades-long deterioration.[2] The restoration uncovered the dome's 20-foot-diameter oculus (round skylight) — situated 121 feet above the chapel floor — which had been plastered over for decades because of its deteriorating condition. The cost of the project was nearly $2.5 million, of which $925,000 was donated by the Class of 1969 to cover the cost of replacing the hardwood floors and refinishing the pews. The remaining $2.3 million came from the government.[2]

Architectural features

The two stained-glass windows facing the altar are symbolic. One is of Sir Galahad holding his sheathed sword, portraying the ideals of the naval service. The other signifies the Commission Invisible, a beacon each new officer must follow: Christ is pointing him toward the flag. Four other windows are memorials to Secretary of Navy John Y. Mason, Admirals David Dixon Porter, David Farragut, and William T. Sampson.

The United States Naval Academy Chapel boasts a 268-rank organ controlled by one of the largest drawknob consoles in the world (522 drawknobs).

Beneath the main chapel is the crypt of John Paul Jones. There is also a small chapel of St. Andrew which has been used for smaller weddings.

John Paul Jones Crypt

The sarcophagus of John Paul Jones.

On January 26, 1913, the remains of John Paul Jones were interred in the crypt beneath the Chapel, inside a sarcophagus made of 21 short tons (19 t) of Grand Pyrenees marble.

In the deck around the crypt are inscribed the names of his ships: Bonhomme Richard, Alliance, Serapis, Ariel, Alfred, Providence, and Ranger.

See also


Interior of the Naval Academy chapel
  1. ^ USNA-Net Parents' Handbook
  2. ^ a b c Kelly, Earl (October 24, 2009). "Naval Academy Chapel restoration complete: Reopening ceremony Saturday". Capital Gazette Communications, Inc. ( Retrieved 2010-03-18.  The article includes a photo and slideshow.
  3. ^ "Postal Service Honors Naval Academy with a 150 Year Anniversary Commemorative Stamp"

External links



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