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The Chapel

10 School Street

The building commonly called the Chapel was constructed in 1884 by the First Congregational Church as an area for social worship. It has served the Church and the Madison community ever since its completion.

Under the eye of the Rev. James A. Gallup, the Chapel was built and decorated with a fund of four thousand dollars. The plot of land on which the Chapel now rests was purchased by Gallup from Fannie Meigs and was offered to the Church at a meeting of the Ecclesiastical Society. Women of the town helped solicit money for the building while men offered material and manual labor.  At the groundbreaking ceremony, Reverend Gallup carved out the first scoop of earth with a spade, then handed the spade to a boy and a girl for two more scoops to represent the children of Madison. After the building was constructed, the Young Ladies Society, the Charitable Society, and a small, local social group called The Jolly Girls helped furnish the interior. They donated chairs, lamps, and dishes, and perhaps even had a fund-raising role in acquiring a grand piano—although some sources say that Miss Susan J. Hart donated the piano, which had been a gift from her friend Marie Hotchkiss.

Architecturally, this petite but practical building boasts some charming shingling and two lovely windows: a complete rosette in the center gable pediment and a semi-circular arch in the front bay.

In constant use since its construction, the Chapel offered a place for church services during the winter when coal or oil was scarce. In summer, the Episcopalian congregation used it on Saturday mornings for their worship services. Church suppers soon became a common event in this building, and, during World War II, women gathered here to prepare bandages that were sent overseas. After the construction of the Congregational Church’s modern Church House, the Chapel was sold to the Town of Madison in 1962 for use as a community center.

The Madison Beach and Recreation Commission refurbished the Chapel in recent decades while preserving the original character of the building. Utilized since 1980 by various town organizations, the Chapel is currently occupied by Madison Youth and Family Services, which continues the building’s original mission as a place for “friendly union and goodwill.”

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