Concerts in the Chapel
Returning April, 2020
The Chapel of St. Gabriel the Archangel at Highland Cemetery was commissioned by Lewis and Anna Smith Day in tribute to their parents and was designed by the Boston architectural firm of Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson. Its principal architect was Ralph Adams Cram who went on to become a noted ecclesiastical architect, designing the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and Princeton University’s Chapel. Today over fifty Cram churches are recognized with National Historic Register Listings.
The neo-Gothic chapel’s elegance depends on its simple proportions rather than a richness of decoration. Materials include Weymouth seam-faced granite walls with Indiana Limestone trim. A beautifully crafted turret tower is topped with a copper lantern. The gable roof is constructed of wood, covered with copper roofing and gutters that spout out through Gargoyles at the northern corners of the building. The foundation is solid granite. All the windows are stained glass with cut stone tracery and there are buttresses that divide each bay on every side. The doors of the chapel were constructed from wood salvaged from an 18th century South Dedham farmhouse and barn. The chapel’s interior is unique in that it is divided into two sections, the main chapel with an altar and, behind an ornate iron grille, the chantry. The chantry houses four marble tombs, those of Lewis Day and Anna Smith Dayand two empty tombs. All interior walls are brick with a concrete floor imbedded with Mercer tiles.There are two exquisitely detailed limestone mantels surrounding faux-fireplaces, one in the main hall and one in the chantry.
On May 30, 1903, the chapel was consecrated and officially dedicated to the memory of Joseph and Hannah Rhoades Day, and Lyman and Melinda Guild Smith with the moving words, “They were among those who comprised the small family of the early town of South Dedham, who were interested in its prosperity and its moral welfare. Here they lived and labored and died and we have entered into their labors.” The Day family donated the building to the Town of Norwood with the stipulation that the chapel be made available to all residents for funeral services, irrespective of religious beliefs, at no charge. The Chapel of St. Gabriel, simple yet impressive, reflects great credit on the foresight of its donors, and serves as a perfect physical and spiritual focal point for Highland Cemetery.