BUILT IN 1832 to replace a temporary wooden structure, the Chapel is one of the most aesthetically pleasing buildings at Georgia. At the time of its construction, at a cost of fifteen thousand dollars, it was the finest building on campus. In the early days, when Protestant orthodoxy dominated the campus, the Chapel was a center of campus activities. A daily religious service, which students were required to attend, was held there, as were assemblies and commencements.

A bell tower originally crowned the roof, but in 1913 it was found to be rotten and was removed. The bell, which rang for chapel, for the beginning and end of class, and in emergencies, was placed at the top of a wooden tower at the back of the Chapel. Now the bell is rung only to mark athletic victories or other special occasions.

The sundial in front of the Chapel marks the site of the famous Toombs Oak. A famous senator and Confederate general, Robert Toombs began his distinguished career by being expelled from the university in 1825. As the story goes, he reappeared at commencement and spoke so eloquently under the oak tree that the audience left the chapel to hear him. The incident, first recounted in a speech by Henry W. Grady (class of 1868), sounds just like the mercurial, impetuous Toombs—but, alas, it never happened. Toombs' love for the university did cause him to return many times to the campus, however, and he served on the board of trustees from 1859 until his death in 1885.

This excerpt was taken from A Walking Tour of the University of Georgia by F.N. Boney, retired history professor.


Situated in the heart of UGA's Old North Campus, the University Chapel is a well known campus landmark, and was once used primarily for daily religious service.


The sundial

The Chapel bell