Going Inside: Ole Miss Chapel, c.1915

This fascinating picture comes from an even larger image, titled “Views on Campus, University of Mississippi,” a photo by John C. Coolvert that is available as an electronic record on the MDAH catalog. I had never noticed this interior view, which MDAH estimates as taken between 1910 and 1920, and which I believe may show the chapel inside what is now known as the Croft Institute for International Studies.


As you can see from this 1916 Sanborn map, the chapel was still in this building, taking up the first and second floors, as reflected in this image with the balcony, and I believe it remained here until Fulton Chapel was opened in 1927.

Sanborn map, Oxford, Feb. 1916, sheet 8

Sanborn map, Oxford, Feb. 1916, sheet 8

Detail of above Sanborn map image, Feb 1916

Detail of above Sanborn map image, Feb 1916

Croft Institute, formerly Chapel,, University of Mississippi, c.1915, from "Views on Campus," photo by John C. Coovert. MDAH Electronic Resource.

Croft Institute, formerly Chapel, University of Mississippi, c.1915, from “Views on Campus,” photo by John C. Coovert. MDAH Electronic Resource.

If this chapel view is of the Croft Institute building, it may be designed by William Nichols. According to the MDAH Historic Resources Database, the building was built in 1853 and is attributed to Nichols, although it is later than the original campus buildings, including the Lyceum, that he worked on in the late 1840s. Nichols died in December 1853 in Lexington, Miss., but his work at Ole Miss comprised laying out the circle and the buildings around it. There are no interior views of the Croft Institute on the MDAH database, but my understanding is that this space was long ago remodeled out of existence. Anyone know?

To see the entire “Views on Campus” panoramic photo, click on the image below. Warning: you will spend a good part of your Friday morning zooming in on each image in the picture.


Go inside other cool old places in Mississippi:

Categories: Antebellum, Architectural Research, Churches, Oxford, Universities/Colleges


6 replies

  1. That was a fun Friday morning! Quite a different view of the circle these days.


  2. That building was known as “The Y Building” when I was there in the mid-1970s. Was it a YMCA or YWCA building at one time?


  3. That space still exists, but in a considerably moderated form. It has been broken up into different rooms and floors. You can see some of it at the end of this video: http://olemiss.edu/tours/video-YBuilding.html


    • I imagine the only reason the columns are still there, in the room shown in the video, is because they are likely load-bearing and cannot be removed. Do you know whether that is the former balcony area in the video? The columns seem complete but do not start at floor, like the ones on the chapel’s lower level in the old photograph. I wonder if that is the former balcony area, with the wainscoting around the base hiding where the balcony railing used to be. Of course, with so many changes to the space, none of the columns’ facing materials could be original.


  4. I love the panorama at the bottom! Thanks for sharing. Hopefully the University will begin to document changes a little better rather than just remodeling things out of existence (I love that phrase).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: