Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery & Memorial, Chapel, Rue du General Pershing, Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, Departement de la Meuse (France), FR
Significance: Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery & Memorial is one of eight overseas World War I cemeteries redesigned and administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), a federal agency created in 1923. The practical necessity of burying American soldiers who died during the conflict was first handled by the War Department through the Office of the Quartermaster General's Graves Registration Service (GRS). At Meuse-Argonne the War Department proposed, but never constructed, a chapel on the site at the top of the hill behind the grave areas. ABMC improvements to the overseas cemeteries included a nonsectarian memorial chapel for each; as the largest cemetery Meuse-Argonne received the most expensive chapel.
The New York firm of York & Sawyer, with principal architect William Louis Ayres, was given the commission for designing the Meuse-Argonne Chapel, as well as new entrance pylons and other features. The Meuse-Argonne Chapel is a Romanesque Revival concrete and limestone building with a front gable center pavilion and long loggias to either side which terminate in end pavilions. Round arches characteristic of Romanesque architecture appear throughout the building. The tympanum and archivolt at the main doorway and the column and pilaster capitals in the loggias are heavily ornamented with stone carvings. The iconography of the carvings comes from a variety of sources, including Classical, Romanesque, Gothic, and some subtle imagery referencing contemporary military motifs. The Chapel also features an elaborate marble and limestone interior with a groin-vaulted dome. Additional sculpture appears around the walls of the Chapel's interior and on the marble altar. Located on the crest of the hill behind the burial sections, the view of the Chapel's front façade is framed by allées of clipped linden trees lining a grassy mall. Construction of the Meuse-Argonne Chapel took place in 1929-32.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N152
Survey number: HALS US-2-A
Building/structure dates: 1929-1932 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1938 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: ca. 1999 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 2015-2016 Subsequent Work