Chapel of the Cross, c.1843
304 E. Franklin Street
Chapel Hill’s Episcopalian Chapel of the Cross has a long history dating back to May 23, 1842. Under the guidance of Reverend William Mercer Green, twenty-four individuals formed the beginnings of the church. A graduate of UNC and a professor of Belles-Lettres at UNC, Rev. Green and his congregation chose the location of where the Chapel was to be constructed. Thomas U. Walter designed the church in the Gothic-Revival style and construction began on the church in 1843. Walter is significant because President Millard Fillmore appointed him Architect of the Capitol Expansion in 1851. As the parish grew, there came a need to build a new chapel. This new chapel was built to the east of the original chapel and completed in 1925. Other construction has added to the Church, but the most substantial addition is to be completed later in 2014 when the newest wing, west of the original Chapel, is finalized.
Being one of Chapel Hill’s original churches, Chapel of the Cross has provided numerous individuals with a place to worship. Its most notable past attendee may be Pauli Murray. Murray, who grew up in Durham, North Carolina, first gained national attention when she pursued legal action for her rejection to UNC’s all-white Law School. Rev. Pauli Murray became the first African-American woman ordained priest in the Episcopal Church. In 1977, Murray celebrated her first Eucharist at the Chapel of the Cross and became the first woman to celebrate the Eucharist at Chapel of the Cross.