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HISTORY

New Owners

In 1962 the Gavin estate passed into the possession of Mr. and Mrs. Marc B. Rojtman. Shortly before they were to move in, a fire, which smoldered for sixteen hours, gutted much of the chateau but almost miraculously spared the Chapel.

A fleet of trucks, each truck carrying 40,000 pounds, brought the Chapel stones to Milwaukee. The reconstruction took nearly two years.

The exterior façade of the chateau, which in the sixteenth century belonged to the royal line of the Dukes of Orleans-Longueville at Melun in France, was saved. This the Rojtman's presented to the Metropolitan Museum where it is scheduled to be installed at the east end of the Medieval Sculpture Hall, where it will survey the Spanish Cathedral Gates of the Hearst Collection and the J.P. Morgan Collection of Medieval Art. For this gift the Metropolitan Museum of Art made the Rojtmans "Fellows in Perpetuity."

In 1964 the Rojtmans presented the Chapel to Marquette and had it dismantled and sent to the campus for the University to reconstruct. They also gave numerous furnishing for the Chapel, including a crucifix, banner, a dozen priedieux, torcheres, candlesticks, lectern, missal stand, vestments, and antependium -- all of approximately the same period as the Chapel. In addition they presented an early Gothic antique font, probably of the twelfth or early thirteenth century.

The Move to Marquette University

The dismantling of the Chapel on Long Island began in June 1963 and took nine months to complete. Each stone was marked in three places: green for the top, red for the bottom, the inside carrying the number of the stone in relation to the others. Eighteen thousand antique terra cotta roof tiles were removed and packed. A fleet of trucks, each truck carrying forty thousand pounds, brought the Chapel stones to Milwaukee, where the first shipment arrived in November 1964. After the material was stored for the winter and the ground was cleared, reconstruction on the campus started in July 1965.

Architectural plans for the reconstruction at Marquette were initiated by the French architect Lucien David and revised and completed by the noted Earnest Bonnamy, a graduate of the French Beaux Arts and a member of the famous firm of Kahn and Jacobs, New York. The rebuilding was done by Siesel Construction Company with the careful supervision and cooperation of Roy H. Dirks of the Office of Campus Planning and Construction.

The St. Joan of Arc Chapel is "the only medieval structure in the entire Western Hemisphere dedicated to its original purpose: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam."

The principles of reconstruction were those employed at the Cloisters, a division of the Metropolitan Museum of Art at Fort Tryon Park, New York. Several changes were made to the adapt the Chapel to the campus: the nave was lengthened, necessitating the addition of several windows; the tomb of Chevalier de Sautereau and the niche were moved to the left and the sacristy to the right -- restoring them to the original positions in France -- and such modern concessions as in-the-floor electric heating were introduced.

After traveling from Chasse to Long Island and then to Marquette, the Chapel so fittingly dedicated to St. Joan of Arc on May 26, 1966, has come to a new home far from the Rhone River Valley where it stood for over five hundred years.

" It is doubtful," wrote Milton Samuels, Chairman of French and Company, New York, in the official appraisal papers dated April 9, 1964, "if such an historic architectural monument would be permitted to leave France today."

The Chapel is, to our knowledge, the only medieval structure in the entire Western Hemisphere dedicated to its original purpose: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.

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