The home for weddings, concerts, baptisms, memorials, lectures, classes and other programs since 1873.
The chapel is open to the public for religious events of all faiths and serves as a major venue for the Mason Gross School's Music Department, as well as for other public and private functions. With a capacity of up to 650 guests, Kirkpatrick Chapel hosts weddings large and small, and we welcome couples from all backgrounds to celebrate their vows in this unique setting.
The chapel, rich in history and beauty, remains a major public gathering place for the entire region to enjoy.
Corner of George and Somerset streets
College Avenue Campus of Rutgers University
Kirkpatrick Chapel was built in 1873 in memory of Sophia Astley Kirkpatrick of New Brunswick, New Jersey. She was the wife of Littleton Kirkpatrick, trustee of Rutgers College from 1841–1859. Rutgers College was made a residuary legatee of her estate, and the chapel was funded by her gift of $61,054.57. This marked the first time in New Jersey history that an institution became heir to an estate.
The chapel was designed by Henry JanewayHardenbergh, the great-great-grandson of Jacob RutsenHardenbergh, the first president of Rutgers College. The New Jersey Historic Trust notes that the chapel “is an excellent example of High Victorian Gothic ecclesiastical architecture…and the chapel’s stained glass windows contain some of the first opalescent and multicolored sheet glass manufactured in America.” Four of the chapel windows are from the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany and date back to the late 19th century.
Chapel and Library
The building was designed to accommodate both the chapel and the library of the college. The original chapel consisted of just four bays and almost half of the building was the library. The reading room ran down the center of the building, flanked on either side by the book stacks. The library was active from ca. 1880 until approximately 1904 when Voorhees Hall was built. After the construction of Voorhees Hall, the library was moved there. The partition wall was removed from Kirkpatrick, and the chapel was expanded.
For approximately the first 50 years of the chapel’s existence it was used for daily worship services for the men of Rutgers College. As the years passed, the chapel was used less often for regular worship services and more for special events, such as lectures, programs, and classes.
At the time of the 150th anniversary of the college in 1916, the chapel was enlarged so that the whole interior could be available for the purpose of student worship. The architectural designs for these changes were made by the original architect, Henry Janeway Hardenbergh. The modifications included a new chancel, two properly designed organ chambers, and a new window, “Jesus, the Teacher of the Ages,” given by Hardenbergh. The Hardenbergh family funded all these changes in the memory of Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh, their great-great-grandfather and first president of Rutgers College.
For more information on the Kirkpatrick Chapel, check out its website here, or the videos below: