Quarry Chapel Restoration Committee 1972-1995

In 1967, the Diocese of Ohio transferred the deed of Christ Church at the Quarry to the Trustees of the College Township for use as a historical monument. The trustees did minimal maintenance mostly likely because they were prohibited from using public funds or to raise money to restore the chapel. In the spring of 1972, a series of public meetings attracted public interest.

Empty since vandals desecrated the chapel during the late thirties, residents of Gambier formed the Quarry Chapel Restoration Committee to promote and finance the restoration of the stone chapel. The committee suggested that the main walls of the altar area and the vestibule to be torn down and rebuilt. The slate roofs also needed to be removed and the rotten sheeting and trim replaced. The committee hoped that the repairs would make the building weather tight and maintenance free for the near future. Contractor’s estimated that the cost of repairs would cost $15,700.

The committee estimated it needed to raise $9000 by November 7, 1972 to do the necessary stone work before the onset of winter. In an urgent letter to friends of the Quarry Chapel, Harold Burch and Thomas Mill wrote, “With the passage of time each day, building cost rise and the deterioration of the building continues. Time is the only enemy. Please help now.” By November 1973, the committee had raised $6,500. The township set aside some funds for preservation. Finally, the restoration began.

The committee also wrote letters to many Kenyon alumni who had written their names on the walls of the building after the chapel had been deconsecrated and became a local hangout for Kenyon students. Jane Lentz recollected that they raised more than $300 and received many humorous letters accompanying the donations.

Through various projects and continuing donations the committee soon raised. During the restoration, the committee sponsored various outdoor picnics at the chapel to promote fundraising and awareness of the chapel. The committee and community members devoted to time painting, landscaping, erecting a fence and installing shutters.

By 1975, the committee had renovated the roof with old, matching slate, erected a new post and rail fence that surrounded the chapel and cemetery. It purchased stained glass windows at a local auction to install in the chapel, but the window area needed repair before they could install the windows. The chapel still needed about $12,000 worth of work to restore the inside walls, floor and ceiling.

They raised funds to repair trusses for the roof, replaced the slate roof with copper flashing and gutters, removed the old plaster from the stone walls, had the stone tuck pointed, cleaned out the cellar, rebuilt those stairs and added cellar doors.  They also had oak shutters made to protect the window openings and added a new front door and a new fence.  

The 1972 Committee also initiated and received the historical marker designating Christ Church at the Quarry as a national historic landmark.

Eventually, the restoration work stopped when the committee ran out of funds. In 1995, the committee officially turned over all of the Quarry Chapel records to the Township Trustees. This officially marked the disbanding of the committee even though they had not met in many years. “The next phase of restoration would have been very expensive and extensive, depending on what the chapel would be used for. There would have had to of been a big fund drive. The committee tried to get a grant, but did not have a specific use in mind for the building, so it did not work out” remarked Jane Lentz, former chairman of the restoration committee.