King Chapel (1882)
Even if you're not into buildings that tower beautiful and grand, King Chapel will give you goosebumps. The building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976 and is built of dolomitic limestone quarried locally. The main tower, with its Seth Thomas clock, is almost 130 feet high and can be seen from miles away as it shoots up from the hilltop campus.
The building seemed doomed at the start. The cornerstone was laid in 1876, but one month later, with the walls half up, the contractor went bankrupt and skipped town, leaving the college with a pile of liens. The financial burden was almost the end of Cornell, and the college had to be mortgaged to pay off the bills. The faculty contributed a fourth of their pay to help out and by 1882 the college was free of debt and ready to finish the building.
The main auditorium, which seats up to 800 people, was first used in 1882. This is where students got together for chapel every day when that was required. It's where Cornellians and the public gather for Music Mondays concerts and lectures.
The auditorium has a Moller organ with 3,800 pipes. And King Chapel is the source of the daily bells that ring loud and clear five times a day during the week and four times daily on weekends.
In 1940 the Chapel was named the "William Fletcher King Memorial Chapel" in memory of the man who served as Cornell's president from 1863-1908.