Wednesday, June 14, 2017


The oldest building in Milwaukee was not originally built there.  The St. Joan of Arc Chapel was originally built in a small village in France, probably in the 15th century.  It had fallen into ruin but was discovered by a young architect following World War I.  The chapel was acquired by the daughter of railroad magnate James J. Hill and moved by her to New York where it was reconstructed in 1927.  Following her death, her heirs decided to gift the chapel to Marquette University.  The chapel was reconstructed and rededicated on Marquette's campus in 1966.

The building is modest in size and in architecture but has great charm, in part by reason of its simplicity.  Here first is a shot of the entrance to the chapel.

I visited the chapel on a Saturday afternoon and was a bit surprised to find it open to visitors.  A number of other individuals joined me during my visit.

The interior of the chapel is quite dark, even though there is some overhead lighting, as well as stained-glass windows (not original) on all four sides of the chapel.  I had my tripod in the car, but I didn't bring it with me for my visit, thinking either that the chapel might not be open or that it might not be appropriate to use the tripod in such a small setting.  Instead, I ramped up the ISO and/or just tried to hold the camera steady.

Here is a shot from the back of the chapel.  This was actually shot at an ISO of 100, with an exposure of a whopping five seconds.  In this case I was able to set the camera on a table at the rear of the chapel.

I regret that I didn't take any shots of the chapel's furnishings.  They consisted of simple wooden chairs and accompanying wooden kneeling stands, of some antiquity.

The ceiling about the sanctuary features ribbed stone archwork, which I attempted to capture by sitting in the front row and holding the camera in my lap.

And here is a photo of the stained glass window behind the sanctuary.

The chapel included a number of interesting icons and artifacts that added to its overall charm.

Finally, a detail shot of the interior of the entrance door.

It's not clear how this chapel is related to Joan of Arc other than the location where it was originally built and the general period when it was constructed.  It is also not clear which, if any, of the artifacts in the chapel are from the same area or period, although the small madonna and child icon, shown above, appears to have dated from the 14th century.


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