Denver Academy’s historic Chapel Library
Denver Academy has been awarded a grant totaling almost $158,000 by the History Colorado State Historical Fund to rehabilitate the school’s historic Chapel Library. The restoration work is scheduled to start Summer 2017 and will take about two years to complete.
For the past three years, the DA Historic Chapel Library Preservation Committee worked to secure the SHF grant, which will fund 75% of the cost to restore the building’s original stained glass windows, copper cupola and front doors to their former splendor. DA will provide the remaining 25% to complete the project.
SHF grants are awarded through a competitive process. This grant signifies that DA values high-quality historic preservation and demonstrates strong public and community support.
“The Chapel has always been a building of reverence and reflection, and as a library, it continues to be that,” DA Historic Chapel Library Preservation Committee member and DA Librarian Jolene Gutierrez said. “Students and their families often walk into the Chapel open-mouthed, awed by its beauty. The building has a magical feel, and we are so pleased that this grant will allow us to restore and preserve such a special place.”
Denver Academy’s Historic Chapel Library
The Chapel Library was built in 1925 and served as the chapel for the Bethesda Sanatorium, which was known worldwide for its treatment of tuberculosis patients, until the late 1990s when the hospital closed its doors. The property was purchased in 2000 by DA and converted into the school’s library becoming known among the DA community as the Chapel Library. That same year, the Chapel Library was designated a historical landmark by the Denver Landmark Commission.
The 90-year-old building was designed by award-winning Denver architect Harry James Manning as an expression of the property owners’ Dutch heritage. The building showcases a traditional stepped gable, a common application of Dutch Renaissance Architecture found mostly in Amsterdam.
The Chapel Library’s main entrance is marked with elaborately detailed copper cupola caps, an iconic structure that DA has incorporated into its school logo. Other character-defining features include the solid brick masonry walls, tall, narrow windows with multi-pane diagonal and uncommon zinc-camed glazing and the heavy, tongue-and-groove wood plank entry door in the shape of a pointed arch.
It is DA’s goal to preserve the historic architectural features of the former chapel while allowing it to continue to function as a 21st century library. “Architecture is a direct symbol of our history,” said Jolene Gutierrez. “By preserving historic structures such as our Chapel Library, we are able to occupy the very same spaces as the generations before us. There is no better way to conserve our past than through the preservation of these historic buildings.”
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