Honors Colloquium Spring 2016, Section 11
Dutch Influence At Rutgers & Beyond; As Seen Through Kirkpatrick Chapel
By: Harry Buscher, Jaffer Hashmi, and Matthew Peyrek
Kirkpatrick Chapel is one of Rutgers University’s more famous landmarks. It is located on the College Avenue campus within the Old Queens complex of the university. It was designed and built by the famous architect, Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, who also designed Geology Hall. It was built to honor the memory of Sophia Astley Kirkpatrick, a wife of a trustee of Rutgers College, whose donation funded the construction in 1873.
Designed by a Dutch architect who, using Dutch influence as inspiration, went on to design and build National Historic Landmarks such as the Dakota building in New York City or, more famously, The Plaza Hotel.
Kirkpatrick Chapel, having been built at Rutgers College and whose construction was funded in memory of the wife of a Rutgers trustee, was originally designed to serve as a chapel and to house the college’s library. However, with the construction of Voorhees Hall the library was moved and the chapel became less used for worship and moved as a place for academic programs and other special lectures. Later in its life, Kirkpatrick Chapel was expanded in 1916 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the college.
We chose this object for multiple reasons. We took a walking tour of Queens College with our Colloquium group and one of the stops was Kirkpatrick Chapel. We were fascinated by the church and decided to explore its history a little more in depth. We were delighted to find that it had Dutch roots and eagerly began the process to get Kirkpatrick Chapel approved as our artifact.
Today, Kirkpatrick Chapel is home of the university’s most advanced choir-Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir. It is used by the Mason Gross School of the Arts as a performance venue and is a very desired location to hold weddings and other ceremonies. Across the yard at Old Queens, adjacent to both Kirkpatrick Chapel, stand is the Class of 1877 Cannon where as a graduation tradition, seniors break clay pipes over the cannon as the Henry Rutgers Bell rings.
Kirkpatrick Chapel, while not Dutch in design, stands firm as a beacon and symbol of the Dutch influence at Rutgers and beyond. Its famous architect, Henry Janeway Hardenbergh went on to design many famous National Historic Landmarks and his great-great grandfather, Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh served as the first President of Queen’s College, now Rutgers University.
The history and traditions of Queen’s College are represented by Kirkpatrick Chapel. Kirkpatrick Chapel stands as one of the oldest buildings at Rutgers and in the entire city of New Brunswick-A testament to the Dutch and their influence at Rutgers University and Beyond. Kirkpatrick stands with Rutgers, Revolutionary for 250 years.