The West Wing: The Milbank Memorial Chapel

| July 28, 2010

The western wing of Main Hall, opened in 1897 and known as The Milbank Memorial, was the gift of banker Joseph Milbank in memory of his parents. The chapel is the main feature of the Milbank Memorial.  Andrew S. Dolkart describes the chapel in Morningside Heights: A History of Its Architecture and Development:

…designed to seat 250 people, it [the chapel] is a fanciful Gothic space with a wide pointed arch framing a shallow raised platform. The chapel’s piers and walls are paneled with quartered-oak wainscot. Above the wainscot is a colorfully patterned stenciled decoration, primarily green and gold, designed by the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company. The decoration includes TC and M initials and a centrally placed winged angel. The ceiling is paneled in oak with ornate pseudo-Gothic coffers. The five stained glass windows located at the rear of the chapel, representing science, literature, art, the New Testament, the Old Testament, are not by Tiffany, but are the work of Clayton and Bell of London.

The New York Times reported on the dedication ceremony. Six thousand invitations had been mailed out to friends of education, including the heads of every educational institution in New York State, and the chapel was filled to capacity. The Rev. Dr. Henry M. Saunders, pastor of the Madison Avenue Baptist Church, spoke on “The Relation of Wealth to Education.”