The Gothic Chapel (1875)

Originally named the Gothic Vault, this limestone structure was designed by Diedrich A. Bohlen and constructed by Peter Routiers from 1875-1877 at a cost of $38,922.25. It served as a temporary place of entombment for up to 96 remains in the event of delayed burial, and an alternate venue for funeral services in poor weather.

One of its crypts held the body of Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley for over a year after his death on July 22, 1916, while those in charge of his affairs debated his proper place of interment. When that debate was resolved, Riley was buried on the summit of Crown Hill in October 1917. The chapel was first restored in 1971 and then again in 2004-05, with the latter restoration costing over two million dollars, funded through donations to the Crown Hill Foundation. This restoration included the installation of a custom-built organ designed by Classic Organs of Indiana and built by Rodgers Instruments of Oregon. The organ combines the sounds of 183 pipes and 2,545 digital pipes to create an instrument capable of both soft and grand music. Another added feature is the beautiful vestibule which expands the seating capacity from 65 to 90 or more. The Gothic Chapel hosts public and private events including lectures, tours, funerals, memorial services, weddings, concerts, and dinners.