Misc Virginia PWA Projects - Photo #14

Chapel and Gate to Arlington National Cemetery, Fort Myer, Virginia. “The Quartermaster Corps of the Army designed and constructed this chapel at Fort Myer and also built the new entrance gateway. The chapel is used for religious services at the post and also for rites in the cemetery. It is a brick building with wood cornice, an entrance porch of four stone columns, and a wood spire which rises to a height of 97 feet. The gateway with its brick posts, wide iron gates, and iron lamps ties into the wall surrounding the cemetery. The chapel was completed in May 1935. The P.W.A. Allotment for it was $101,724 and the allotment for the gateway was $3,514.50.”[1] 

“It was late April of 1935, Easter Sunday was on the 21st and the dedication of the Post Chapel that would bring a formal place of worship to Fort Myer. The project was begun and carefully watched over by then Maj George S. Patton, Jr., another of his legacies to this historic US Army Post. In an Oct 1933 report to then Post Commander, Col Kenyon Joyce, Patton outlined the specifics of building a principal chapel and nixed the idea of a separate mortuary chapel on Fort Myer. His conclusions were drawn after a field trip to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC where he surveyed the chapels on the grounds. Highlighted within the book ‘Images of America - Fort Myer’ among the other historical photographs and images are images of the chapel and Patton Hall which was first used as a chapel before the ‘Old Post Chapel’ was built. Ground-breaking for the construction of the chapel began on 04 Feb 1934 and then cornerstone was placed both of which without much fanfare or ceremony. Over time, this one building would become the iconic representation The Old Post Chapel on Fort Myer Virginia when one thought about Fort Myer. It was the focal point proudly occupying the center of the garrison's insignia. In addition to providing a place for worship for the Fort Myer Military community, it hosted many weddings and also provided the starting place for many of the final honors which would end in adjacent Arlington National Cemetery. It is also known for its unique stained glass windows.”[2]

Today, this building is called the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer and it is still in use for military funerals.[3] It is only one of a series of New Deal buildings at Fort Myer.[4]

  1. Short, C.W., and R. Stanley Brown, Public Buildings, A Survey of Architecture of Projects Constructed by Federal and Other Governmental Bodies between the Years 1933 and 1939 with the Assistance of the Public Works Administration, United States Government Printing Office, Washington (1939), page 572.
  2. Michael, John, Images of Fort Myer, Arcadia Publishing (2011).
  3. Army Funeral Services: Chapel Services, Arlington National Cemetery website, accessed 15 June 2017.
  4. Batzli, Samuel A., Fort Myer, Virginia: Historic Landscape Inventory, US Army Corps of Engineers, USACERL Technical Report, June 1998. “New Deal programs of the 1930s resulted in a construction boom on Army installations. Installations increased in size as training areas expanded. At Fort Myer, new officer housing resulted. The NCO housing on Sheridan Avenue represents the effort to improve installations nation-wide. The Georgian and Colonial Revival elements of the buildings are typical of the construction on Army installations during this era.“
Photos from C.W. Short, U.S. Federal Works Agency Public Buildings (1939).