Our Chapel

The Cemetery 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 1907.

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.

Wright used 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.

Historical Tours

Pettit Memorial Established in 1847, the Belvidere Chapel Cemetery has expanded from it's origin as a small community burial site to it's present size containing over 17,000 known graves and a great deal of history. We offer self-guided tour programs which allow you to view our grounds and learn the rich history of local legends such as Reverend Seth Whitman, General Stephen A. Hurlbut and many more. Stop by our office to pick up a tour program and find out more.
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