VA -- Lexington -- Lee Chapel:
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- LEXCH_980405_01.JPG: Lexington; Lee Chapel; Statue
- LEXCH_980405_02.JPG: Lexington; Lee Chapel; Statue
- LEXCH_980405_03.JPG: Lexington; Lee Chapel; Statue
- LEXCH_980405_04.JPG: Lexington; Lee Chapel; Statue
- LEXCH_980405_05.JPG: Lexington; Lee Chapel; Statue
- LEXCH_980405_06.JPG: Lexington; Lee Chapel; Statue
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- Wikipedia Description: Lee Chapel
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lee Chapel is a National Historic Landmark in Lexington, Virginia, on the campus of Washington & Lee University. It was constructed during 1867-68 at the request of Robert E. Lee, who was President of the University (then known as Washington College) at the time, and after whom the building is named. The Victorian brick architectural design was probably the work of his son, George Washington Custis Lee, with details contributed by Col. Thomas Williamson, an architect and professor of engineering at the neighboring Virginia Military Institute. General Lee, along with much of the rest of the Lexington community, attended church services at Grace Episcopal Church, a hundred yards south, at the edge of the college campus. (That church was later renamed R. E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church)
When Lee died in 1870, he was buried beneath the chapel. His body remains there to this day, and for this reason among others, the Chapel is one of Lexington's major historical tourist attractions.
A centerpiece on the stage of the chapel -- where the pulpit would be in a more secular place of worship -- is a statue of Lee, in his uniform, asleep on the battlefield (the "Recumbent Lee"), designed by Edward Valentine. On the walls are two nearly priceless paintings: one of General Washington himself, by Charles Willson Peale, from the Washington family collections, and the other of Lee in his uniform, painted from life (a rarity) by Edward Pine.
In the basement a crypt (added after Lee's burial) contains most members of Lee's family, including Lee himself; his wife; his mother; his famous father, a general in the American Revolutionary War; and many other members of the extended Lee family. Lee's favorite horse, Traveller, is buried just outside the Chapel, where students of Washington & Lee traditionally leave coins in hopes of being compensated with good fortune in their studies. In the basement of the Chapel is a museum that illuminates the history of the family of George Washington and Lee as well as that of the university itself. Lee's office has been meticulously preserved in almost exactly the same condition as it was when he died.
Further, the Chapel continues to play an important role in the modern operation of Washington & Lee. It seats about 600 in its main area and a small, three-sided balcony. Freshmen are brought there to hear a lecture from the President of the University's student-run Executive Committee on the school's famous Honor System. Important school-wide lectures, concerts, and other notable activities are also held here from time to time.
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