Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

117-0019 Lee Chapel

Lee Chapel
Photo credit: Mike Pulice/DHR, 2015

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 09/09/1969

NRHP Listing Date 10/15/1966

NHL Listing Date 12/19/1960

NRHP Reference Number 66000914

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.

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

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

Updated: May 2, 2022