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The Origins of Hamilton Chapel

West Thompson Methodist Church in 1905 (Hamilton Chapel Collection)

West Thompson Methodist Church, ca. 1940s. (Hamilton Chapel Collection)

The Chapel is seen here in West Thompson, CT before and after the Hurricane of 1938 knocked the steeple down. Originally called the West Thompson Methodist Church, it stands in the Greek Revival style of architecture. It may be younger than us as a school, but the Chapel was built in 1840 and stood in Connecticut for 123 years before coming to Belmont Hill.

Letter from Head of School Charles Hamilton to the Belmont Hill community regarding the opportunity of bringing the Chapel to campus. (Hamilton Chapel Collection)

As mentioned in the letter, it was a goal of Charles Hamilton's to have the whole community under one roof, since the current chapel was where the MacPherson Room is now. The acquisition of the Chapel completed that goal.

Article about the newly acquired Chapel in The Panel student
newspaper, September 18, 1963. (Student Publications Collection)

In addition to Mr. Hamilton's letter to the community, the students highlighted the acquisition of the Chapel in The Panel. The article touches upon the assistance of Roger Webb, who was a critical part of bringing the Chapel to campus by coordinating the piece-by-piece its deconstruction and reconstruction.

Cornerstone Ceremony, October 14, 1963. (Hamilton Chapel Collection)

Headmaster Charles F. Hamilton stands with Roger Webb of RARE Enterprises and students at the Cornerstone Ceremony. The pieces of the Chapel arrived on campus over the summer of 1963.

Photographs of the Chapel being rebuilt on campus, ca. 1963/1964. (Hamilton Chapel Collection)

The 10,000 pieces that made up the Chapel were pieced together over the course of the next year.

The West Thompson Methodist Church congregation and Belmont Hill community gathering in the completed Hamilton Chapel, November 1, 1964. (Hamilton Chapel Collection)

The West Thompson Methodist Church congregation drove up on buses to Belmont for the special gathering with the Belmont Hill community.

Mr. Hamilton in the newly completed Chapel, ca. mid 1960s. (Hamilton Chapel Collection)

Charles F. Hamilton, 4th Head of School, from 1942 to 1971. The Chapel was dedicated to him after his retirement. Without his goal to have the Belmont Hill community gather in one place, the Hamilton Chapel would not be on our campus today.

This digital exhibit is made in conjunction with the on-campus display, located in the lower level of Hamilton Chapel.