How savvy are you with Columbus history? A lot of us have heard of the Whitney building but have you heard of the Whitney Memorial Chapel? Score yourself 100 points if you have, 100 more points if you know where the Chapel is located. You may be asking yourself "why 100 points?". Well, because the Chapel has now stood prominently in the Columbus Hillside Cemetery for 100 years.
The chapel design and construction was commissioned by Alonza H. Whitney in early 1921 in memory of his parents, Henry A. and Helen M. Whitney. Builders, Hasenfuss and Ibisch, finished on schedule before the winter of 1921. The design is an exact duplicate of an old English chapel. It was constructed of red brick with beamed ceilings and stained glass. The 22 x 34 foot building contains a chapel proper, seating capacity for up to 40 people and a mausoleum with nine crypts.
The chapel's intended purpose was to accommodate small funeral services during inclement weather. The crypts were used to temporarily store caskets during times of heavy rainfall or winter months when a grave could not be dug. Cemetery history tells us there were times when all nine crypts were in use. Today they remain empty thanks to modern techniques for digging graves.
As times change, today the Whitney Memorial Chapel is seldom used even though it is available for rent through the City of Columbus. Rental information can be found on the city website. For more information, contact Public Works at 920-623-5908 or the Hillside Cemetery Association Secretary at 920-623-3362.
The Whitney Memorial Chapel is a truly unique addition to the Hillside Cemetery. Take a walk past the chapel this summer while out and about and see for yourself how charming the little chapel truly is.