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Renovation of West Hill Chapel
An Architectural Treasure Restored
(Dalton, Georgia)

One day, while walking in West Hill Cemetery, I happened up on West Hill Chapel and found it open. Some men were standing inside it, looking over the interior. "It's a shame this building can't be put to better use than as a tool shed," I said. "I wonder if it couldn't be restored?" I soon learned that, in fact, the chapel was about to be renovated. I had, by accident, run into the man who was about to save the little chapel from becoming a complete ruin.

Terry Christie, one of Dalton's aldermen, had discovered the lovely old chapel on his own. He, too, had wondered why the chapel had been forgotten. A bit of research showed that the city of Dalton already owned West Hill Chapel. Christie, a lover of architecture, saw the potential of the chapel. He also saw that the slate roof was in danger of collapsing under its own weight if not preserved immediately. Christie made sure that that didn't happen. He immediately began raising funds for the West Hill Chapel renovation.

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Restoring the chapel was no easy or inexpensive task. The mortar had to be repointed. The roof needed support. Interior trim had to be repainted. Throughout the restoration, the integrity of the original arts-and-crafts architectural style had to be maintained. One surprise came when the original light fixture for the chapel turned up unexpectedly. Years before the renovation, a man who lived near the cemetery had spotted the lantern-shaped lamp in a pile of scrap iron and wood that was being discarded from the chapel. Construction workers gave him the scrap metal. He had held onto the light fixture for many years. Later, when he learned that West Hill Chapel was to be restored, he offered to give the lamp to Christie, who gladly accepted the donation. Both men were glad to see the lamp put back into place. It now hangs in its rightful place, in the center of the chapel ceiling. (West Hill Chapel is located in historic West Hill Cemetery on West Cuyler Street in Dalton, Georgia.)

Brief History of the Chapel       Back to Intro

Text Links to Larger Photos of Chapel

Directions & Google Map Link


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