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A Brief History

The Little Chapel-in-the-Woods, one of 20 buildings representing "Texas' Proudest Architectural Achievements of All Time," is a place of tranquility and beauty on the Texas Woman's University campus in Denton.

Originally built as a retreat for private meditation and prayer, the Chapel was a dream of former TWU President Dr. L.H. Hubbard. He wanted to provide a place on campus where students could find or strengthen their spiritual roots.

The Chapel, 90 feet long by 42 feet wide, was designed by architect O'Neil Ford, of the Dallas firm of O'Neil Ford & A.B. Swank. It was built and furnished, for a cost of $28,000, as a project of the National Youth Administration during the Depression, and dedicated by former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in ceremonies on Nov. 1, 1939, while the project was still unfinished.

The lighting fixtures, the stained glass windows, furnishing and decorations of the Chapel were included in the NYA project and executed by student craftsmen.

Under the supervision of Dorothy A. LaSelle, associate professor in the Art Department at Texas State College for Women (now Texas Woman's University), students competed in designing ornamentation for ceiling beams, exterior cornices, the vestibule floor of Texas stone, and wall patterns. Other undergraduate students participated in designing and carving woodwork for the lectern, pulpit and pew ends, and designing the metal trim of the Chapel door.

Graduate student Beatrice Paschall supervised the design and execution of the stained glass windows. Art student Sammy Tate directed the execution of metal candlesticks and a cross for the altar.

In 1983, the Texas Society of Architects selected the Little Chapel as one of 20 buildings representing "Texas' Proudest Architectural Achievements of All Time." Buildings selected for the honor were those "that have most influenced, or will prove to influence, Texas' architectural history."

page last updated 11/10/2014 8:11 AM