The Barnwell Chapel was built in 1911 and serves many uses for Berry's students, staff, and visitors. Located in the beautiful and secluded log cabin area, its architecture is allowed to stand out, drawing in many people. The quaint chapel holds a plethora of history and memories, which encourages many to explore and discover the fascinating background behind the building.church 1.JPG

Designing Architect

Captain John Barnwell of Rome constructed the Barnwell Chapel and various other buildings on Berry's campus. He did not charge Martha Berry for his work. However, according to her, Captain Barnwell was recognized by the fact that "‍‍‍‍His‍‍‍‍ life is woven into the fabric of the school." His work on the chapel is viewed by others as a "unique structure in that it combines primitive construction with naval architecture. It is an excellent example of primitive art and architecture" (Carper).
By 1984, the Barnwell Chapel was slowly falling apart. That same year, Joyce Van Derpyl made a donation so that work could begin on much needed restoration and renovation of the chapel. By spring of 1985, air conditioning was installed and the structure of the building was worked on to make it more stable. Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation rewarded the reconstruction team for having the "best preservation" of the original building and design. Since reconstruction has been completed, the chapel can be accessed year round.

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There are four small rooms off of the main chapel that have been used for student assemblies, study hall sessions, and chapel services. Originally, the chapel was meant to serve as a school house complete with desks that were handmade by boys at the Berry school. In 1920, the desks were replaced by pews and the makeshift schoolhouse was made into a proper chapel. In addition to the desks, the altar was also made by boys at Berry College. Its creation was made possible through donations given from the class of 1951. Inside the main chapel, the motto, "Not to be Ministered unto but to Minister" is carved above the front-door archways. Three beautiful stained-glass windows hang behind the altar. The outer walls of the chapel have ivy growing from a sprig that was brought as a gift from Miss Brewster from the ruins of Melrose Abby in Scotland.

Martha Berry's Funeral Service at the Chapel

In February of 1942, after Martha Berry passed away, she laid in state in the chapel while the staff and students held a vigil from that Friday until her funeral on Sunday. Afterwards, she was moved to her final resting place at the College Chapel.

Uses of the Chapel

Barnwell Chapel was first used as a classroom and church for students of the Martha Berry School for Girls. The four smaller rooms located off of the main chapel have been used for numerous reasons including a study hall, music studio, library, and, at one point, a small store. Uses for the main chapel include Sunday School, Sunday evening vesper services, summer services for the chapel congregation, and weddings. Today, the chapel is mainly used for weddings, memorial services, church services for the Catholic Student Association, and practices for exaltation choir.
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Works Cited

Berry Trails: An historic and contemporary guide to Berry College Centennial Edition. Berry College. Mount Berry, GA. 2001. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Carper, Joyce. VF980804-2 Campus Buildings & Landmarks-Barnwell Chapel.

Cook, Dr. S.H. Half Century at Berry. Section I Notes about the Berry schools. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

Dickey, Jennifer. Historical Marker at Barnwell Chapel. Berry College. Historic Preservation Section Department of Natural Resources Structural and Site Survery form. Vertical File. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.