Association of Belvidere is proud to host the Pettit Memorial Chapel
designed by the world famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Built as
a memorial to Dr. William H. Pettit, the chapel was completed in
Dr. Pettit was born
and raised in Belvidere in the 1800's and received his medical
training from Hahnemann College in Chicago. He then practiced
medicine in Cedar Falls, Iowa, for the next 27 years. In 1877 he married
Emma Glassner, also a Belvidere native. Upon his untimely death in
1899 at the age of 48, a
funeral service was held in Iowa but his body was brought by special
train to Belvidere for internment in the Belvidere Cemetery.
Mrs. Pettit felt the need of a place in
the cemetery where friends could gather for services and be sheltered
from bad weather. She also had taken a special interest in the
improvement and maintenance of
the cemetery grounds and wanted a proper memorial for her husband.
Wanting a unique
structure and hearing about the work of Frank Lloyd Wright she
contacted him in 1905.
straight lines and very simple detail which was an extreme departure
from the Victorian style that was popular at the turn of the century.
The chapel was designed as Frank Lloyd
Wright was developing his Prairie School style characterized by long
horizontal lines, roof overhangs and dark trim on stucco walls. The chapel is a near
perfect example of this style because he was not limited by the use
of the building. The chapel has a cruciform design and is unique in
that it is the only cemetery memorial that
Wright ever designed.
The chapel was put
on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and is designated
as an Illinois Historic Site.