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Sandra Swanson Weichert's
Historic Mount Oread

Campus Building Directory

This Week in
KU History

The University
of Kansas

Danforth Chapel
A Place of Personal Meditation

In the 1940s The Danforth Foundation of Missouri provided funds for the building of chapels at many midwestern campuses. These chapels were to be small and suitable for personal meditation rather than for formal worship. To help fund such a building on the KU campus the foundation granted the University $5,000; additional monies came from the Watkins Fund and many other student, faculty, and alumni groups.

danforth chapel Edward W. Tanner, a 1916 graduate who had received one of the first two degrees in architecture conferred by KU, was asked to design the chapel. He refused payment, dedicating his design to the memory of his mother, Harriett A. Tanner. Tanner is best known as the architect of the Kansas City Country Club Plaza.

Now, as in previous years, the chapel meets the needs of students, faculty, and townspeople as a place for private contemplation, small worship services, and marriage ceremonies. Weddings were held in the chapel even before it was completed, and now more than a hundred take place there each year.

In 2007 the painting "Jesus at Gesetheme" that was in Danforth Chapel was transferred to the Spencer Museum of Art.

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Danforth Chapel
Location: Jayhawk Boulevard between 14th Street and Lilac Lane

Occupied: 1946

Architect: Edward W. Tanner

Contractor: KU Buildings and Grounds staff

Levels: One

Exterior walls, foundation, structure: Limestone, squared, and set concrete

Roof: Red slate shingles; gable; parapet north gable with set-in KU seal, surmounted by a Celtic cross

Windows: Stained glass, Philadelphia

Window and door surrounds: Limestone; east-west windows have cut limestone lugsills and lintels; north-south have Gothic frames

Porch: Open; gable; wooden frame