Liberty Station in San Diego used to be a military recruiting and training center. When many military facilities were closed in the mid-1990s due to budget cuts, Liberty Station was one of them. Fortunately, San Diego recognized the tremendous history that existed at Liberty Station and saved a majority of it, renovating that which could be saved and used, and building a multiple use area out of the rest, including residences, stores, restaurants, and parks.
One of the structures that was saved is the historic North Chapel (Building 208).
North Chapel was completed in 1942 and features leaded stained glass windows representing the 41 different training schools on site, and one window, directly above, representing the recruit.
The windows are designed to tell stories of the Old Testament and the New Testament. Some windows have an emblem of Moses’ Ten Commandants placed at the top of the window. These scenes are from the Old Testament. Other windows have a cross on the top and depict scenes from the New Testament. Each window has been carefully designed to match a story from the Bible to a job that an enlisted Navy sailor would assume on a ship. Here are the other windows:
Of course, recruits at the Naval Training Center practiced many different religions, so different services were held at North Chapel, conducted appropriately by priests, rabbis, and ministers. The chapel also hosted many weddings for senior officers.
When the Naval Training Center was decommissioned in 1997, North Chapel, a Spanish Colonial Revival-style architecture, evolved into a special event venue and underwent a restoration in 2007. Restoration brought fresh white stucco paint to the exterior and re-roofing of the red tile building, as well as replacing and upgrading the electrical, plumbing, and heating systems. The historical light fixtures were preserved, and the wooden, hand-carved pews and pulpit were refurbished. The outdoor music system that provides bell rings for the chapel was also replaced, and the sanctuary’s original Roger’s pipe organ was modernized.
The stained glass windows by well-known artist Fred Wieland were restored and cleaned. Fred Wieland was a native of Germany, studied in New York City at the Art Student League, and was a member of the San Diego Museum of Art Artists Guild. Mr. Wieland arrived in San Diego in 1930 and is well known locally for designing and creating the stained glass windows of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Cathedral, St. Didacus Church, and the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center (the sister chapel to the North Chapel). Another church where Fred Wieland’s stained glass work may be found is located at Polk Avenue and Park Boulevard, the former Park Boulevard Methodist Episcopal Church.
Now privately owned, North Chapel is open to the public for rent and offers the flexibility of uses not available in similar settings, such as weddings, funerals, concerts, and plays. North Chapel is also open
for viewing on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month from
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572
If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!