Knowles Memorial Chapel is located on the campus grounds of Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Dedicated in 1932, the chapel was donated to Rollins College by Frances Knowles Warren in memory of her father, Francis Bangs Knowles. The chapel is known for its distinctive Mediterranean Revival style, its chapel organ, and the "Rose Window." Today, the chapel hosts Christian worship services and is a popular venue for weddings.


  • View of the Knowles Memorial Chapel tower and campanile
    View of the Knowles Memorial Chapel tower and campanile
  • Detail of the relief adorning the entrance of Knowles Memorial Chapel
    Detail of the relief adorning the entrance of Knowles Memorial Chapel
  • Image of the Knowles Memorial Chapel Organ
    Image of the Knowles Memorial Chapel Organ

Construction began on the Knowles Memorial Chapel in March 1931, and the building was dedicated on March 19, 1932. Frances Knowles Warren donated the chapel to Rollins College in memory of her father, Francis Bangs Knowles, who served as one of the founders and original trustees of the college. The trust set up by Warren also paid for a masonry restoration in 2007. The chapel was designed by church and collegiate architect, Ralph Adams Cram and built by G.W. Hessler, Inc.

This chapel is an example of Mediterranean Revival architecture and is notable for its distinctive campanile, the upper section of the chapel tower. The campanile and other architectural features are heavily inspired by the Cathedral of Toledo in Spain. The chapel bell, which rings every day at noon, is the same one that called students to the first day of class in 1885. Knowles Chapel sits adjacent to the Annie Russell Theater, separated by a chapel garden, and across from a rose garden.

Above the entrance of the chapel is a relief inscribed with the motto of Rollins College, "Fiat Lux." Other notable features of the chapel are the stained class windows, including the "Rose Window," a circular stained-glass window on which is written "Wisdom is Better than Strength." Four of the windows honor individuals instrumental in the founding of the school. Inside the chapel, above the entrance, is a bas relief depicting Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the disciple John, and the words "Peace I Leave With You." The altar area is decorated with a hand carving of the Last Supper by Ernest Peligrini.

Additionally, the chapel houses an organ, originally built in 1932 by Ernest M. Skinner. Skinner's company, Aeolian-Skinner, renovated the organ in the 1950s, and the organ was again renovated in from 1999 to 2002, this time by Randall Dyer & Associates. Additionally, Dyer & Associates also installed a free-standing antiphonal organ at the rear balcony.

In 1997, the National Park service added Knowles Chapel to the National Register of Historic Places. The site was also recognized by the Florida chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 2012. Weekly Christian services occur at the chapel every Sunday. It also hosts classes on Scripture and Theology, and conducts marriages, baptisms, funerals and memorial services for members of the Rollins community. The beauty of Knowles Chapel makes it a popular venue for weddings, music events, and photography.

"History." Rollins College. Accessed August 21, 2016. http://www.rollins.edu/chapel/history/index.html. "Knowles Memorial Chapel." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed August 21, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowles_Memorial_Chapel. Zhang, Wenxian, with Eneid Bano and Charles Stephens. Rollins Architecture: A Pictorial Profile of Current and Historical Buildings. Winter Park: Olin Library, Rollins College, 2009. "Overview: Knowles Memorial Chapel." Rollins College. Accessed August 21, 2016. http://www.rollins.edu/chapel/index.html.