United States Department of the Interior
National Park Service
National Register of Historic Places
Section number 7
Ira Allen Chapel, University Place, 1926.
Ira Allen Chapel, built in 1926, sits on a rise at the southeast corner of the UVM Green on University Place. The Chapel is a Colonial Revival, red brick (English common bond), with marble, stone, white painted wooden accents, and a slate roof. It is a two and a half story, with basement, gable front cross transept church with a 170 foot tall tower on the left side (northwest corner). There is a modern wing of the building at the rear left corner hidden behind the knoll on which it sits. All doors and sash windows have granite sills and/or brick lintels splayed or rounded with a center keystone unless otherwise stated.
The main entrance is three double leaf green wooden doors. The central door has a traced rectangular light above, and a Colonial Revival door hood surround. Each of the flanking doors has a block of white marble above. The second story has three evenly spaced traced windows, the center round and the outer two elliptical. Across the front façade is a two story monumental projecting portico with six Ionic columns supporting a large pediment marked with a central traced elliptical window and flanking white swags. Six granite steps the length of the portico rise to the level of the entrance. The heavy white Colonial Revival cornice with dentils continues around the whole second story with the exception of the bell tower. Projecting from the right side is the transept, which has one large 28/28 window with a traced half circle light. The intersection of gables is marked with a large octagonal dome. Each side not connected to a gable peak has an elliptical traced window. The dome has a simple white cornice and is topped by a smaller version of the bell tower cupola surrounded by a turned white balustrade.
To the left is the bell tower, which stands attached to the building. The basement on the tower is marked by one two-paned window with a granite lintel, one on each facade. The tower's first floor has one large 12/12 window with a traced half circle light on each of the exposed sides. This window is recessed into a larger brick window opening of the same shape, and rectangular recessed panel below the window. Spaced evenly up the tower surface are three small 6/6 windows (no keystone lintels). This configuration is the same on three of the tower's facades only at different levels. The south or Billings façade of the tower has only two windows and one door at the level of the main buildings roof. Between the windows and the cornice line of the tower is a large white clock face, with an elaborate garland and ribbon decoration below it. The bell tower is extended skyward with an open bell area with four Corinthian posts supporting the outer corners. The center is a tripartite open area with Ionic columns. A simple Colonial Revival cornice line separates the open area from the glass lantern room. The lantern has eight windows with half circle lights, and is capped by a cornice with seven urn finials. A eight sided, window enclosed, bronze capped cupola tops the whole structure.
The modern, red brick, one story wing was added in 1986 behind the bell tower and extends north towards Colchester Avenue it has one 6x3 window closest to the Colchester Avenue entrance. All windows on the wing are fixed and described by columns by rows (c x r). At the right end, closest to the original building is a double leaf metal door hidden behind the staircase leading up to the first floor level of the original building and roof level of the wing.
The two story south façade facing Billings Student Center has at the basement level four evenly spaced two paned windows with granite lintels to the projecting gable front and on the first floor four evenly spaced bays on the eaves façade. This facade matches the north façade with the exception of the tower, which replaces the first two bays. The first bay has one small window matching the bell tower's first floor window's recessed 12/12 rounded window. Three evenly spaced windows of 28/ 28 with a traced half circle fill the other bays. The projecting gable facade has the same pediment as the front portico, and has a central Palladian window. The center window matches the large windows to the left and is flanked with 16/16 windows. Beneath this window are two metal doors on each corner of the projection topped with splayed lintels and a central keystone. The first floor of the building continues to the right with a simple cornice and one 6/6 window.
The east or rear façade has a basement level five bays wide. The center bay has a double leaf wood and glass door surrounded by a Colonial Revival door hood and is flanked by two 8/8 windows. The outer bays have 6/6 openings, the right is a window, with the left being a vent-covered window. The upper level has the same gable projecting façade as the previous side with the Paladian window. The first floor of this façade is three bays wide, two smaller bays flank the repeated Paladin center bay. The left side consists of a central 6/6 window and a 4/4 window with the upper half being a vented window to the right. The right side is a 6/6 bricked window.
The rear façade is extended with the 1986 modern wing to the north, or right, at the basement level with a flat patio roof. All windows in this addition are glass panes with large wooden mullions and are painted brown. Three 4x6 windows with the upper row blocked in with wood begin to the right of the main building. A brick and concrete staircase leads from the lawn to a patio in front of the gabled projection. Partially under the staircase and to the right is a 6x3 window. The modern brick wing at the basement level and is offset to the east or the left and extends out to about 25 feet from Colchester Avenue. This façade is five bays wide and the second and fourth bays are filled with very large 6x7 windows. The center bay has a double leaf glass, and a wood entrance door with a large 6x3 light is placed over it. Each bay is separated by brick pilasters divided into nine sections and has a metal light at the center of each. The entrance is topped with a white pediment a simple, heavy, white Colonial Revival cornice, with a granite architrave which surrounds the whole building.
Ira Allen Chapel, named for the University of Vermont's founder, was made possible through a gift by James B. Wilbur in 1924. It was designed by McKim, Mead, and White, who also designed Waterman Building across the green. The cornerstone was laid in 1925 and the dedication was January 14, 1927. After World War II there was a small chapel built in the basement to house non-denominational worship. In 1953 the Intrafraternity council gave a carillon in the memory of students who had died in service to their country. In 1986 major additions were added to Ira Allen and Billings Student Center to form a combined Ira Allen- Billings Student Center. Additions were designed by Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson, & Abbott. A new carillon was placed in the service at this time Dedicated to the student who had lost their lives in the course of their studies. In 1990 there was extensive rehabilitation of the bell tower consisting of repainting and stabilization on the tower and the belfry.
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