Lee Chapel

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NHL Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


Robert E. Lee, the president of what was then Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, was instrumental in having the school chapel constructed in 1867. Although the design of the simple Neo-Norman-style building has long been attributed to Lee, documentation has established that the building is the work of Col. Thomas Hoomes Williamson, professor of civil and military engineering at the Virginia Military Institute. Williamson, however, apparently worked closely with Lee in formulating the design. The body of the former Confederate commander lay in state in the chapel in 1869 and was later interred in a family crypt established there. In 1883 a rear extension designed by J. Crawford Neilson was completed to house Virginia sculptor Edward V. Valentine’s recumbent statue of Lee. Lee’s office in the chapel basement has been carefully preserved as he left it. In 2021 the board of trustees decided to rename the building University Chapel & Galleries.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

For additional information Read

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