The Chapel of St. Gabriel the Archangel

The Chapel of St. Gabriel the Archangel, Highland Cemetery

Visitors to the Highland Cemetery have admired the quaint and picturesque Chapel of St. Gabriel, the Archangel, for decades.  Effectively placed in the center portion of the cemetery, this Neo-Gothic building rivals the Municipal Building as the town’s architectural gem.  At the time of its consecration in 1903, it was regarded as one of the most beautiful structures of its kind in the nation.

Designed by the Boston architectural firm of Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson, the chapel’s elegance depends on its simple proportions rather than a richness of decoration.  Materials include a seam faced granite and limestone exterior and white marble interior trimming; the interior also displays rich window tracery, iron grills, and oak pews.  The doors of the chapel were constructed from wood salvaged from an 18th century South Dedham farmhouse and barn.

The chapel was erected by Lewis and Anna Smith Day in a tribute to their parents.  On May 30, 1903, the chapel was consecrated and officially dedicated to the memory of Joseph and Hannah Rhoades Day, and Lyman and Melinda Guild Smith with the moving words, “They were among those who comprised the small family of the early town of South Dedham, who were interested in its prosperity and its moral welfare.  Here they lived and labored and died and we have entered into their labors.”

The Day family donated the building to the Town of Norwood; in keeping with their request, the chapel is available to all residents for funeral services, irrespective of religious beliefs, at no charge.  The tombs of Lewis Day and Anna Smith Day are located behind the iron grille to the left of the altar.

Supervised by the Board of Selectmen, the Chapel of St. Gabriel, simple yet impressive, reflects great credit on the foresight of the donors, and serves as a perfect physical and spiritual focal point for Highland Cemetery.