Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 10: Built Environment

The Chapel, 1922 – present

Chapel. View from road in front.

Chapel. View from road in front. [DSCF00151.jpg]

The Charlotte F. Hedges Memorial Chapel, commonly known as the Chapel, was initiated by Jesse Munger, a friend of Pine Mountain Settlement School. According to Mary Rogers and letters of correspondence found in the Pine Mountain School archives, Munger offered to donate a small fund left to her by her aunt, Charlotte F. Hedges, plus some additional funds of her own to build a house or chapel. Ethel de Long Zande responded by suggesting a chapel and library. Miss Munger did not want the library included and requested the funds be used specifically for a chapel.

Several people suggested plans for the new chapel including Luigi Zande and Dr. Thomas B. Roberts, the Harlan minister then serving the School. The ultimate design, however, came from Mary Rockwell Hook, the designated School architect. Some interior modifications, such as the rounded arch above the altar, were suggested by Luigi Zande and reluctantly included by Hook.

Chapel. Woodblock print by John A. Spelman III. c. 1940.

Chapel. Woodblock print by John A. Spelman III. c. 1940. [chapel_spelman_modified.jpg]

The building began in 1922 and, although used in the summer of 1924 with make-shift furnishings, the Chapel was not dedicated until November 12, 1924. The Reverend A. L. Wilson, a Presbyterian minister from Ohio and a member of the Pine Mountain Advisory Board, gave the sermon.

The 1924 Pine Mountain Notes describes the new Chapel:

“It took two and a half years to build our memorial chapel, and those who worship in it were the builders of it. The stone-masons who laid its beautiful walls, the carpenters who fitted its beams and oaken woodwork and made its heavy panelled doors are our neighbors and learned their craft at this school. So the day when we gathered to dedicate this work of our hands was high and holy one. Rev. Alfred Lee Wilson, of Canton, Ohio, conducted the service and preached on “What Religion Adds to Life.” Later, at an evening service he held for the boys and girls only, twenty-four of them told him of their wish to lead the Christian life, and the dedication day had its own meet offering. 

Whenever the church bell rings it peals out the words that are cast in its bronze and send them ringing down the valleys for all to hear: “Oh all ye children of men, bless ye the Lord; praise Him and magnify Him forever.”

While this sounds like a sectarian revival meeting, Mr. Wilson wrote back after his visit and said:

“The religious work, symbolized by the beautiful new church building is not sectarian, but vitally Christian, and the kind of Christian character your school is building into the lives of the splendid mountaineer boys and girls is a real contribution to the best life of America. In the language of our mountain friend ‘you’re puttin’ a powerful lick’ not only for education, but for the Kingdom of God.'”

It is in this spirit that the door to the beautiful Chapel is always open for any worshiper to enter.

In the early 1940s, the building and equipment was valued at $17,760.00. The building is one story with a small basement where a furnace is located, a large open nave and a small music room in the apse to the left of the altar. The seating capacity of the Chapel is about 200. The Chapel also houses a unique and beautiful two-manual, 10-stop Holtkamp organ. The church is described as “unusually conducive to worship.” It has also been the site of numerous weddings, a tradition that continues today.

Ethel de Long Zande is buried next to the nave that faces the campus. In the transept to the left of the exit door are plaques of dedication to Ethel de Long and to Katherine Pettit, the School’s founders. The large bronze plaque for Ethel del Long Zande was given by the Montclair Pine Mountain Association and reads:

In Memory of the Radiant Leadership
and Inspiration
Ethel deLong Zande
in this School
Whatsoever things are true
Whatsoever things are honest
Whatsoever things are pure
Whatsoever things are lovely
Think on these things.

Chapel sketch by John Spelman III, c. 1940. Barbara Spelman Correspondence. [spel_b_012b.jpg]


In the 1944 issue of the CONIFER the graduating class wrote a lengthy poem about their years at Pine Mountain. The poem titled “How Beautiful Their Feet Upon the Mountain,” extols the many memories the School evoked. One particular section remembers the Chapel:

American Gothic— tall gables reaching skyward—
symbol of our aspirations toward all good, toward God;
This, our chapel, built of stone and timbers,
hewn from the strong mountain at its back.
Throughout our lives, we may close our eyes
and see it through the changing seasons:
In spring, bare dark branches burst alive—and behold!
a picture framed in the pearl of dogwood and rose redbud.
In summer, greenness of sloping lawn, climbing ivy,
balm of hemlock, shade of poplar.
In fall, the miracle of Nature’s final fling in riotous color,
mellowing to soft earth tones.
In winter, the purity, peace, and blessing
of white on ground, on roof, on bough.
Now the clear rhythmic call of the bell pulses throughout the valley.
We ascend the winding pathway;
silently the heavy, oaken doors swing open and close.
We are filled with a sense of warmth, protection, at-homeness
A wave of thankfulness for all that is ours,
for all that our chapel has meant,
and will mean to us and others,
wells up in our silent prayer.
The stone altar, simple and beautiful in moss, foliage,
and flower of Nature’s constant offering;
The cross, illumined in candle light.
A vesper hour with the masters—
Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, on organ, or piano;
Or with the poets— Coffin, Whitman, Bryant, Shelley, Keats.
Ardent young voices raised in song;
Prayer for the millions of God’s own
who are deprived of the good things of earth.

CONIFER 1944 – Class of 1944


In 1929 the insurance value of the building was $13,608.62.

At the close of the nineteenth century, the members of the Women’s Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church were concerned that many Americans in isolated areas were not receiving a proper education. The women decided to establish church-supported schools in areas where there were no public services. In many cases, the young people who came to these mission schools had no prior formal education.


Deschamps’ “Perfect Acre”

Located behind the Chapel is the “Perfect Acre” is a cultivated forest designed by Leon Deschamps to be the best example of silva culture. He began work on the site in 1917 when he came to the School to teach forestry to the children. The wooded site can still be viewed outside the windows of the south flank of the Chapel.

Deschamps' "Perfect Acre," May, 2016. [pmss_archives_perfect_acre_2016b.jpg]

Deschamps’ “Perfect Acre,” May, 2016. [pmss_archives_perfect_acre_2016b.jpg]

Gallery – Chapel


See especially:

Uploaded on: September 7, 2020
Uploaded by: pmss_editor
File name: 1938_12_directors_reports_holtkamp_003.jpg


See Also:




Alt. Title

Charlotte F. Hedges Memorial Chapel ; The Chapel ;




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Mary Rockwell Hook, Architect

Subject Keyword

Chapel ; Charlotte F. Hedges Memorial Chapel ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Jesse Munger ; Mary Rogers ; Charlotte Hedges ; Ethel de Long Zande ; Luigi Zande ; Dr. Thomas B. Roberts ; ministers ; Mary Rockwell Hook ; Reverend A.L. Wilson ; Presbyterians ; Pine Mountain Advisory Board ; basements ; furnaces ; music rooms ; naves ; apses ; altars ; Holtkamp organ ; gravestones ; transepts ; memorial plaques ; Katherine Pettit ; weddings ; churches ;

Subject LCSH

Chapel — Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Architecture — Pine Mountain Settlement School.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Historic Buildings — Kentucky — Appalachia.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.

Date Original

Dedicated November 12, 1924

Date Digital

2013-09-11 ; 2013-09-17 ;


Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY


Jessie Munger for Charlotte F. Hedges


Collections ; text ; image ;


Original and copies of images/JPG, documents, and correspondence ; collection of photographs ;


Series 10: Built Environment (Physical Plant)




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 10: Built Environment (Physical Plant) ; Kentucky Virtual Library collections <> [searchable]
Berea College Southern Appalachian Archives <>
Transylvania College Archives <>
Univ. of KY Appalachian Archives <>
National Historic Landmarks Database <>

Coverage Temporal

1922 – present

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ;


Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.




Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers about the Chapel ; clippings, photographs, books about the Chapel ;


Constructed 1922-1924


“[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated

2002-07-01 hhw ; 2005-11-04 hhw ; 2013-09-17 hhw ; 2014-05-14 aae ; 2016-03-05 aae ;



“Chapel” Series 10: Built Environment. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Archival material.

Kentucky Virtual Library collections <> Accessed 2013-09-17. Internet resource.

Berea College Southern Appalachian Archives <> Accessed 2013-09-17. Internet resource.

Transylvania College Archives <> Accessed 2013-09-17. Internet resource.

Univ. of KY Appalachian Archives.<> Accessed 2013-09-17. Internet resource.

National Historic Landmarks Database. <> Accessed 2013-09-17. Internet resource.