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Lee Memorial Chapel & Music School, Doane College, Crete, NE

January 17, 2014

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Technically, this may not belong in a study of Protestant church architecture, but until I know more about the interior it’s tempting to place it here.

Doane College in Crete, Nebraska was founded in 1857 and eventually relocated from Fremont to Crete. Affiliated with the Congregational denomination (now the United Churches of Christ, a.k.a. UCC) the chapel has good reason to have been influenced by the Akron-Auditorium phenomenon: the UCC itself was often drawn to A-A plans, and the date of construction—1905 to 1907—was well within its popularity. Though it would not naturally have included Sunday School functions, I’m intensely curious about the interior arrangement. You may be able to tell from this recently-acquired postcard image that the building is pentagonal, an unusual shape I’ve not encountered elsewhere in this study. And it’s other very interesting connection is with the Chicago School, also not a style associated with the A-A. The architects were Dean & Dean, and those of you from Duluth will recognize their names as architects for most of the buildings in Morgan Park, the U.S. Steel suburb in far southwestern Duluth, a company town most of which is on the National Register. The Lee Chapel at Doane is similarly on the NR.

Scope out this other much better image of the chapel:

Doane_College_Whitcomb_Lee_Conservatory_1

Our friend Richard Kenyon made a hasty stop in Doane not long ago and reports its exterior in excellent, well-respected condition. Google.maps doesn’t show much, but if you’re looking, it’s on Boswell Avenue near the foot of Tenth Street.

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