The Heinz Memorial Chapel is on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in the community of Oakland, a part of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. It is a beautiful example of neo-Gothic architecture. The chapel began as a gift to the University from Henry John Heinz, the founder of the H.J. Heinz Co. (you know, the ketchup people!). He wanted to honor his mother, Anna Margaretta Heinz, with a ‘building’. Mr. Heinz, died in 1919 but made the arrangements in his will to do it. His three surviving children added to his bequest and were guided in their choice of a memorial by the concepts of education and religion because those were concepts that their grandmother had imbued in her children.
Ground was broken in 1933, the cornerstone was laid in 1934 and the dedication was in 1938. Various religious services are held in the chapel, but it belongs to no one denomination. From its beginnings, the chapel was intended to be interdenominational. It is open daily throughout the year except for University holidays. Approximately 1,500 events take place there annually. More than 100,000 people per year participate in religious services, weddings, concerts, classes, memorial services and guided tours. Many simply seek its peace and beauty as a refuge. And it is beautiful and peaceful! There was a wedding rehearsal going on while we were there so I didn’t get to take any real pictures or look around inside. I snuck one quick shot:)
Charles Z. Klauder, of Philadelphia, designed the building. It’s modified cruciform plan, stone vaults, high ceilings, repeated arches, and extensive use of glass are typical of American academic and religious architecture from about 1900 until after the Second World War. The chapel’s walls, inside and out, are of Indiana limestone. Their carvings follow the Gothic tradition of pictorial instruction. They are part of the plan and meaning of the building and express, as do the windows inside, the chapel’s dedication to spiritual values in education.
Outside, the insignia of some of the world’s oldest colleges and universities are carved on shields on the gables, balustrade parapets, spandrels and buttresses. On the tympanum, above the main doors, the theme of spiritual values in education continues. Old Testament prophets, patriarchs, priests and King David share space with St. Francis of Assisi, Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, Pasteur, Wordsworth, Lincoln, and Emerson.
|This is the side entrance, not the main, but you get the idea of the detailed work|
Inside, the stone carvings include the Torah and the Bible, the New Testament beatitudes, and the shields of the 12 Apostles. The carvings often take up and extend the theme of the window nearest them.
All the visible wood in the chapel-from its entrance doors, each of which weighs 800 lbs., to the partition behind the altar, called the reredos-is oak. English pollard oak and Appalachian Mountain oak.
|Gorgeous doors! Paul is 6’1″ so this gives you an idea of how tall they are!|
The wrought iron work-lanterns, door fittings, stair railings- were fabricated by Samuel Yellin of Philadelphia. The chapel’s altar cross and candlesticks are also by Yellin.
The magnificent pipe organ, Opus 2176 of the Reuter Organ Co. is the third organ to serve the chapel. It has 4,272 pipes (73 ranks) and three electronic pedal stops hidden behind the grids and open stonework throughout the chapel.
All 23 Windows are the work of Charles J. Connick’s Boston studio. A native of Western Pennsylvania, he received his early training in Pittsburgh. He was at the forefront of the movement that rediscovered 13th century stained glass in Europe and established neo-Gothic as the American stained glass of choice in the first half of the 20th century. I was not able to get pics of the windows specifically due to the wedding rehearsal but you can get an idea of the magnitude of the windows in the pic above of the inside. The five chancel windows, represent the virtues of Justice, Faith, Charity, Hope, and Wisdom. They are complemented on each side by smaller windows over the choir stalls that celebrate music and recognize its importance in divine worship.
The 73 Ft. transept windows, among the tallest in the world, represent Temperance, Truth, Tolerance, and Courage. They are exceptional in that an equal number of men and women are depicted.The four clerestory windows, high above the aisles, present great teachers and interpreters of Christian thought. The three gallery windows at the west end of the chapel represent three great Christian literary works: Canticle of the Sun-St. Francis of Assisi, The Pilgrim’s Progress-John Bunyan, and The quest for the Holy Grail from Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.
The 23 window’s total approximately 4,000 sq. ft. and contain nearly 250,000 pieces of glass. There are 391 identifiable people in the windows, with a large supporting cast of anonymous individuals, and an extensive variety of flora and fauna.
The windows alone are worth visiting this building! I am planning on going back and spending a day to get to really look this building over and get more pics! If you come to Pittsburgh you have to get to Oakland and see this! Thanks to my granddaughter for picking up the brochure I forgot to get! Without it I wouldn’t have all these facts!
Here’s a Smithsonian video on the Heinz: Pioneers Turned Millionaires
And a full length video on the State of Pennsylvania if your interested!
A little extra…
The gorgeous doors on the Stephen Foster Memorial building in Oakland…
Have a great long weekend! See you Monday.