The rich history, deep community roots, and cool beauty of Quarry Chapel are captured in this story by Knox Pages correspondent Mark Jordan
The Quarry Chapel Story
The historic Quarry Chapel anchors a serene rural intersection in Gambier, Ohio. After years of decline and then rebirth, the chapel is now a community touchstone.
Stone masons helping to build Kenyon College in the early 1860s took it upon themselves to create a house of worship, and they called it Christ Church at the Quarry. By 1930, most of the congregation had moved, joined other churches or passed away. What is now known as Quarry Chapel was deconsecrated. Ownership was transferred to College Township, and the building slumped into disuse and disrepair.
The local community has rallied over the years to preserve and protect the chapel. In 1972, the Knox County Historical Society formed the Quarry Chapel Restoration Society to oversee the building’s future. Much was accomplished but more work was needed.
A second stage of the restoration stirred in 2000, and College Township, which has owned the building since 1967, committed to support a new iteration of the Quarry Chapel Restoration Society. The project took off in 2001. By 2009, the nonprofit Friends of the Quarry Chapel assumed financial responsibility for continued restoration, improvement and maintenance.
The restored chapel is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and stands as an important venue for weddings, concerts, memorial services and other events. The chapel is maintained by the generous support of donors and income from modest fees charged for events.