Nestled among a characteristically quaint rural New England neighborhood, which abuts the University of New Hampshire campus in Durham, Hamilton Smith Memorial Chapel is a curious hidden gem of local historic architecture in a campus town that sees faces from all corners of the globe.
The structure might seem little more than a postage stamp in comparison to the looming churches of England from which the picturesque chapel’s style was inspired. Built in the style of the Late Gothic Revival architecture, the tiny stone chapel now sits near hidden within the greenery surrounding the now town-owned property it was built on over a hundred years ago.
The chapel is situated on the outskirts of an estate owned by the late Hamilton B. Smith, who died suddenly of a heart attack on July 4th, 1900. The small stone chapel was built in his memory by his wife Alice. It was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 2012.
Simple in its construction, the chapel sports stone buttresses at each corner of the exterior, as is characteristic of the Late Gothic Revival style which was popular at the time of the chapel’s construction—now adorned by tendrils of crawling ivy along the walls, and splotches of moss which now call the stone monuments of the adjoining family cemetery their home.
Know Before You Go
Located at 45 Mill Pond Road. From the Durham Town Hall take Mill Pond Road for 1/3 mile. Smith Chapel is on the left, with parking along the road.
Though the chapel is not currently open for use—the town-owned property may be visited by anyone wishing to view the exterior of the chapel.
For those interested in viewing the interior of the chapel—guests may request to book the space of Smith Chapel for use in religious ceremonies, or request to view the interior by contacting the town office for a private tour.