About the Chapel


The University began construction on the Chapel in 1867 at the request of Robert E. Lee, who served as president from 1865 to 1870 of what was then called Washington College. His son, George Washington Custis Lee of VMI, proposed the simple Victorian design; Col. Thomas Williamson, also of VMI, drew up the plans and specifications. Built of brick and native limestone, the Chapel was completed in time for graduation exercises in 1868. Lee attended weekday worship services here with the students and the lower level housed his office, the treasurer's office and the library. For more information on the 20th century history of the Chapel see Lee Chapel on Digital Humanities under our featured links.

The History of the Flags in Lee Chapel and Museum

In 1930, Washington and Lee's Board of Trustees granted a request from the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to display original Confederate battle flags from different regiments of the Army of Northern Virginia in Lee Chapel near the statue, "The Recumbent Lee." These flags remained in the Chapel until 1995, when they were removed for conservation.

Special Programs

Read about the events that take place throughout the year at the Chapel.