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Chapel of Memories – Mississippi State University Art

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The Chapel of Memories at Mississippi State University was brought to my attention by one of my cousins who attended MSU. In fact, she’s one of several who did, but despite a family connection, I can’t claim to have intimate knowledge of the subject as I do with many of my college oriented prints. I’ve neither lived in Starkville nor had the pleasure of attending Mississippi State, but there’s no doubt it’s a beautiful and historical campus. The fact it’s an old college may make the modern lines of the Chapel of Memories seem a little out of place for those unfamiliar with the subject. It’s a building that doesn’t exactly scream old south does it?

It may or may not surprise you to know that some consider the Chapel of Memories at Mississippi State to be one of the prettiest churches in Mississippi. In fact, I’ve read some articles that argue it’s at the top of the heap. I think that may be because that lovely church is a combination of local history and modern architecture.

While I was researching the subject of this MSU art print, I learned the history behind the Chapel of Memories. It was designed and built in the wake of a fire in 1959. The fire took down Old Main – a dormitory that was reputed to be one of the largest college dorms under one roof. The brick from Old Main was recycled and used throughout the chapel and the accompanying bell tower. So large was the old dorm that I’ve read many more bricks were used as infill on the campus.

The ‘new’ chapel and the “carillon” (bell tower) were dedicated in 1965. And as you can tell the style is typical of its day, which was the era of modernism. But if you ask me those bold lines still remind me of many historic churches and cathedrals. Look how it points to the heavens. The 1960’s and 1970’s are not exactly known for buildings that have endured. Many of the chapel’s contemporaries are considered eyesores today. That’s what makes the beauty of the Chapel of Memories so noteworthy. Personally, I think it’s because the chapel’s architect, Charles Gardner, married the lines of Gothic with the minimalistic decoration of Modernism. And the fact the building’s construction further honors the past by recycling the bricks of the fire-destroyed Old Main dormitory only adds to the beautiful flavor of this campus landmark. There’s no question the color and character of those old bricks stands apart from many of the bricks structures of the same period.

The end result is simply a gorgeous piece of architecture, and it’s no wonder I’ve since heard from many alumni at Mississippi State who are proud of the Chapel of Memories and I’m happy to add that this print reminds them of their own memories of MSU from weddings in the chapel itself to quiet contemplation there and life in general on MSU’s lovely campus. So, I’m glad I was tipped off what a worthy subject this would be. It’s definitely among my favorite prints.

I hope you enjoyed this Mississippi State art print as well and do hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts about the artwork or the Chapel of Memories itself and what it means to you!


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