By Molly McClain

The Journal of San Diego History
San Diego History Center Quarterly
Spring 2017, Volume 63, Number 2

St. Mary’s Chapel, 2017. Courtesy of The Bishop’s School.

St. Mary’s Chapel at The Bishop’s School is a sacred space for students, staff, and alumni at the Episcopal preparatory school in La Jolla. It is a small chapel, now barely large enough to hold a class of ninth graders, though originally designed to accommodate the entire school. Built in the Spanish Mission Revival style, it has tile floors, unadorned white walls, and dark wooden stalls along either side of the nave. At the west end is the altar, flooded with light from stained glass windows. Brass plaques engraved with the names of students in each graduating class, from 1910 to the present, line the walls. It is a quiet, serene place. Through the chapel program, students have the opportunity to experience themselves as part of a larger community, and to have space and time for personal reflection.

The Right Reverend Joseph H. Johnson, Bishop of the Los
Angeles diocese of the Episcopal Church, founded The
Bishop’s School in 1909. Courtesy of the National Portrait
Gallery, London.

This year, St. Mary’s Chapel celebrates one hundred years of history and tradition. Dedicated in 1917, it was designed by Carleton M. Winslow, Sr., previously supervisory architect for the Panama-California Exposition (1915-16) who went on to become one of the prominent ecclesiastical architects in Southern California. This article explores the history of St. Mary’s Chapel and considers the continued importance of this sacred space.

The Bishop’s School was established in 1909 as a day school in Banker’s Hill, San Diego and a boarding school for girls in La Jolla. The Right Reverend Joseph Horsfall Johnson, Bishop of the Los Angeles diocese of the Episcopal Church, worked with philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps and her sister Eliza Virginia Scripps to create an institution that would prepare girls for college at a time when educational opportunities for women were just beginning to expand. Within a decade, Bishop’s School graduates attended elite women’s colleges such as Barnard and Vassar as well as the co-educational Pomona College and the University of California, Berkeley. In 1915, the school closed its Bankers Hill site and focused its resources on the La Jolla campus. It became co-educational after 1971 when it merged with the San Miguel School, and closed its boarding program in the 1980s.1

Irving J. Gill, a visionary modernist architect, designed the first school buildings: the day school at First Avenue and Redwood Street (1908), now the Self-Realization Fellowship; Scripps Hall (1910); Bentham Hall (1912); and Gilman Hall (1916). Thanks to the patronage of Ellen Browning Scripps, Gill also built La Jolla’s St. James’s Chapel (1908); the Biological Station (1910); the La Jolla Woman’s Club (1914); and the La Jolla Recreation Center (1915). In 1916, he rebuilt Scripps’s residence, South Molton Villa, in the same modern idiom as his other La Jolla projects. He also designed a home for Wheeler J. Bailey (1907), one of the trustees of The Bishop’s School.

View of The Bishop’s School from Prospect Street, 1912. Scripps Hall (left) and Bentham Hall (right) were designed by architect Irving J. Gill. ©SDHC #81:11867.

St. James Chapel, 1908, by architect Irving J. Gill, now St. James by-the-Sea. In 1929, the small chapel was moved to Genter Street where it housed the First Baptist Church and now the La Jolla Christian Fellowship. ©SDHC #84:15150-47.

Headmistress Anna Bentham led the Class of 1913 and younger students to St. James Chapel. Courtesy of The Bishop’s School.

Bishop Johnson and his wife, Isabel Green Johnson, pictured in their passport application, 1921. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

The early campus did not have a chapel; instead, students walked from school to St. James’s Chapel for Sunday services and other events such as matriculation and graduation ceremonies. One early photo shows headmistress Anna Frances Bentham leading students and faculty towards St. James where her husband, Rev. Charles E. Bentham, served as resident priest. After the construction of Bentham Hall, campus gatherings took place in an assembly room that extended north of the tower known as El Miradero.

In 1916, Isabel Green Davis Johnson, the wife of Bishop Johnson, donated funds to build a chapel dedicated to the memory of her mother, Mary Holman Estabrook Davis (1807-75), an early supporter of women’s education. Isabel Johnson’s father Isaac Davis (1799-1883), a prominent lawyer and politician, was one of the founders of the Worcester Academy in Massachusetts. Isabel Green Davis, who married Joseph H. Johnson in 1881, followed her husband’s ecclesiastical career from New York to Rhode Island to Michigan and finally to Los Angeles in 1896. Although she spent much of her time in Pasadena, she made frequent trips to La Jolla with her husband and son Reginald, who became a Los Angeles architect.

St. Mary’s Chapel was dedicated to Mary Holman
Estabrook Davis (1807-75), the mother of Isabel Green
Johnson, wife of Bishop Johnson. Courtesy of the
American Antiquarian Society.

For whatever reason, Irving J. Gill was not chosen as the architect of St. Mary’s Chapel, despite the fact that he had designed all of the other buildings on campus. Nor did the patron’s son Reginald Johnson get the job. Johnson graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1910 with a degree in architecture and received collegiate training in the offices of Myron Hunt, Elmer Grey, and Robert D. Farquhar. Johnson began practicing architecture in Los Angeles in 1912.3 Margaret Gilman, who became headmistress in 1915, remarked that she was sorry “that the whole thing—designing, building, furnishing, etc., should not have been left entirely to Mr. [Reginald] Johnson; that would have completed the beauty and significance of the tribute by his mother.”4 Instead, the project went to Carleton M. Winslow who had worked as the supervisory architect for the Panama-California Exposition in the years leading up to its opening in 1915.

Born in Maine on December 12, 1876, Winslow left school at age sixteen and went to work first in Milwaukee and then in Chicago as an office boy for Thomas H. Mullay, an engineer and builder who had worked on the Chicago World’s Fair.5 “I knew very little about architecture nor about office work for that matter,” Winslow recalled, but added that he learned “a lot” from his time with Mullay. Impressed by his employer’s skill at watercolor painting, Winslow took art classes at the Art Institute of Chicago.6 After working as a draftsman in Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge’s Chicago office, he moved to New York in 1900 to work under Charles Eliot Birge, a “brilliant designer and man of great culture,” and Harold Van Buren Magonigle.7 In 1904-05, Winslow spent sixteen months in Europe, principally visiting France and Italy. He took classes in mathematics, free hand drawing, and watercolors, and briefly studied at Atelier Jean-Louis Pascal and Atelier Chifflot. He was also hired to help remodel an Italian villa near the town of Capri. Returning to New York, he worked for Heins & LaFarge for a year before having the good fortune to land a position in the Boston office of Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson.8 Around the turn of the century, the firm produced a significant number of Episcopal churches in an eclectic Gothic Revival style.

Winslow developed a close friendship with Bertram G. Goodhue who, like himself, had apprenticed at an architectural firm. An exceptional

Carleton M. Winslow, c. 1915.
©SDHC UT25410.1.

draftsman, Goodhue produced rigorously accurate perspective drawings that had an ethereal quality, almost too perfect for this world. Having designed the Cadet Chapel of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (1906), his career was beginning to take off. In the early twentieth century, Goodhue and his partner Ralph Adams Cram were commissioned to build St. Thomas Episcopal Church (New York City, 1905-20); St. James Episcopal Church (South Pasadena, CA, 1906); St. John’s Episcopal Church (West Hartford, CT, 1907-09); Christ Church (New Haven, CT, 1908); The Taft School (Watertown, CT, 1908-13); the campus plan for Rice University (Houston, TX, 1909); the Chapel of the Intercession (New York City, 1910-14); and the Panama-California Exposition (San Diego, 1911-15).

In 1911, Goodhue asked Winslow to move to San Diego to supervise the construction of the Panama-California Exposition. The former’s extended journey to Mexico in 1890 informed the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture of the fair. Goodhue personally designed the California Quadrangle that included the California Building with its dome and tower and the Fine Arts Building. Winslow, meanwhile, was involved in the design and construction of many temporary structures in the park such as the House of Hospitality, along with director of works Frank P. Allen, Jr. In 1916, Winslow published The Architecture and Gardens of the San Diego Exposition, with a forward by Clarence S. Stein, that described how the romance of the Spanish Colonial style lent “gaiety and color” to the fair.

Winslow also took on other architectural projects in San Diego. He worked with William S. Hebbard to enlarge All Saints’ Episcopal Church (1912), originally designed by Hebbard & Gill, and to create a new home for the University Club (1916, demolished).12 In addition, Winslow created a Point Loma house for Ernest Riall, a lawyer and member of the All Saints’ congregation (1912); three redwood bungalows in Burlingame (1913); and the La Jolla residence of Dr. Isabella Scott Hotchkiss (1914). Together with Reginald D. Johnson, he designed the Congregational Church of La Jolla (1916) that replaced the old Union Church destroyed by fire in 1915. Winslow later remarked that they intended to express the traditions of early Congregationalism transplanted to the shores of the Pacific, “in a land shining with sunshine and redolent with the traditions of Spanish antecedents.”13

It is unclear how Winslow came to be chosen as the architect for St. Mary’s Chapel at The Bishop’s School, but by the summer of 1916 he had begun to draw up plans for the new structure. Presumably, Bishop and Mrs. Isabel Johnson admired the romantic Spanish Colonial Revival structures in Balboa Park and wished to see a chapel in the same style built on the grounds of the otherwise modern campus. Goodhue, Winslow’s patron, also may have put in a good word. In 1911, Goodhue described Bishop Johnson as his “old and valued friend.”14

Ellen Browning Scripps did not know Winslow personally, though she was well aware that he was working on the new chapel. She told her sister an embarrassing story about having mistaken a clergyman for the architect. Scripps said that headmistress Margaret Gilman brought a “Mr. Winslow” to her house. He began “to talk of the beauty of the school buildings.” Scripps assumed that this was Carleton M. Winslow and recounted that she “proceeded to lead the conversation in a material and architectural direction, instead of a spiritual one—as I discerned after a time to my horror, when I discovered the clerical cut of his garments.”15

Carleton M. Winslow’s plans for St. Mary’s Chapel, 1916. Courtesy of the Architecture and Design Collection, University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara.


A photograph of the school softball team, practicing on the quad in 1927, shows St. Mary’s Chapel, left, and Bentham Hall, center, with Irving J. Gill’s tower, El Miradero. Courtesy of The Bishop’s School.

St. Mary’s Chapel viewed from the porch of Bentham
Hall. Courtesy of The Bishop’s School.

Winslow drew up his plans for St. Mary’s Chapel after Gilman Hall had been built, but was not quite finished. In the spring of 1916, Irving J. Gill designed Gilman as a modern building to contain classrooms, assembly rooms, and laboratories on the lower floor, and a dormitory with a sleeping porch on the upper floor. Winslow’s plans for the chapel, created in July and revised in August and December 1916, show a rectangular Spanish Mission Revival building wedged between Gilman and Bentham Halls. The north end of Gilman Hall served as the south side of the chapel. The architect indicated that he planned to cut into the wall on the second floor of Gilman to create niches in which to put three stained glass windows. He also interrupted Gill’s arcade leading from Gilman to Bentham Hall by inserting a porch with a large pointed arch, flanked by two smaller arches. The coat of arms of Bishop Johnson was affixed to the porch just below the Mission Revival parapet. On the east wall of the chapel, a rose window led to a pitched roof adorned with red clay tiles.16

Winslow’s 1916 plans also included a tower modeled after the California Tower in Balboa Park, designed by Goodhue. Winslow’s mentor used “tall, exuberant towers as potent symbols, standing as markers in the landscape, giving prominence and authority to the buildings below.”17 The construction of the tower, however, was delayed until 1930.

Inside, St. Mary’s Chapel consisted of a long nave with choir stalls lining both sides. To the right of the entrance were stairs that would lead to the future tower. Old Spanish pavement tiles lined the floor. The nave led to an arched half dome at the west end beneath which stood the altar. A small sacristy was located on the south side of the sanctuary while a chancel stood on the north side, accessible by a side door. Seats for clergy were located along the south chancel wall. Winslow created all of the furniture in the chapel, including the altar, credence table, and stalls. He also planned the Arts & Crafts tapestry that hung from hooks in the sanctuary and partially covered two west-facing windows.18

The cornerstone of the new chapel was set down on September 21, 1916.19 Viola Gilbert, Class of 1918, recalled the ceremony with a poem:

They laid the Stone at set of sun,
As Evening shadows fell,
We all were there to see it done,
To see them do it well.

A view down the nave of St. Mary’s Chapel, c. 1917. Courtesy of The Bishop’s School.

And as we stood there watching,
Singing hymns of love and praise
Ever in my mind came stealing
Visions of future days.

When maiden after maiden
Goes thronging through the door
With hymns of praise outringing
“O Salutaris” evermore!20

At the same time the chapel was built, a second story was added to the west end of Bentham Hall designed by Irving J. Gill and supervised by his nephew Louis Gill. The new dormitory space had bands of continuous windows on both the north and south sides that gave the addition a particularly modern appearance.21

St. Mary’s Chapel was dedicated on Thursday, February 15, 1917. Ellen Browning Scripps described the “beautiful and impressive service” followed by a reception that attracted several hundred people.22 A tablet bearing the following inscription was placed on the wall of the chapel:

To The
Glory Of God

And In Loving Memory Of
Mary Estabrook Davis
Of The City of Worcester
In The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

This Chapel
Dedicated To St. Mary
Is Erected By Her Daughter
Isabel Green Johnson23

Bishop Johnson was delighted with the results of his building program that included St. Mary’s Chapel, Gilman Hall, and the second story of Bentham Hall. At the annual board of trustees meeting in October 1916 he appeared “radiant” and “insisted on showing the members all over the building (or buildings) and also insisting on their admiration as well as approval.”24 It was fortunate that the work was finished before the US entry into World War I in April 1917. Afterwards, Scripps noted, “Building has practically come to a standstill in all this part of the country; and no one is going to do any speculative building while financial conditions are so uncertain.”25

Students celebrating May Day on the lawn between Bentham Hall and Prospect Street. St. Mary’s Chapel can be seen in the background. Courtesy of The Bishop’s School.

Winslow, meanwhile, moved his office from San Diego to Los Angeles. In June 1917, he was certified as a member of the Southern California chapter of the American Institute of Architects. He worked with Goodhue as supervising architect of the downtown Los Angeles Public Library, which he completed after the latter’s death in 1924.26 In 1918, Winslow opened a second office in Santa Barbara and competed for commissions to build large Spanish Colonial Revival style houses, with limited success. Instead, he became the go-to architect for churches, parish halls, and church furnishings such as lecterns, communion tables, altar rails, and pews.

During the 1920s, Winslow became one of the leading ecclesiastical architects in Southern California. He worked in a variety of historic revival styles—from Spanish Colonial to Mediterranean to English Gothic—though he typically avoided ornate exterior details. Like most of his contemporaries, he used modern building methods like reinforced concrete. He had a strong working knowledge of what he and his contemporaries called the “allied arts”: sculpture, decorative painting, metal work, textiles, ornamental work in plaster, and stained glass. This was typical of architects who came of age during the Arts & Crafts movement. An Episcopalian, Winslow understood and appreciated the symbolism and “heraldry of religion”; he also earnestly studied the history of church architecture.27 Among the projects he designed during the 1920s in California were: First Congregational Church (Glendale, 1922); All Saints’ Episcopal Church (Highland Park, 1925); Beverly Hills Community Presbyterian Church (1925); First Baptist Church (Pasadena, 1925, with Frederick Kennedy); Vermont Square Methodist Church

(Los Angeles, 1925-26); St. Mary’s Chapel (Boyle Heights, 1928); St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (Monrovia, 1928); St. Mary’s of the Angels (Los Angeles, 1929); All Saints’ Episcopal Church (Riverside, 1930); and All Saints’ By-the-Sea (Montecito, 1930).28

Winslow was not an innovator like Irving J. Gill, but he recognized that a great deal of architectural experimentation was going on in Southern California. In 1929, he wrote of “a rather loosely bound band of earnest seekers after the truth of architectural expression, always experimenting, trying hard to give Southern California that thing which is appropriate to the locality and practical to work, play or think in.” He added, “it is doubtful if the things being built ever become ‘old fashioned’ by this band of men.”29

Ironically, old-fashioned looking architecture—particularly the Spanish Colonial and Mission Revival styles—was in great demand during the 1920s and 1930s. Inspired by Goodhue’s buildings in Balboa Park, builders and developers scrambled to create what is called Spanish “Fantasy Heritage” architecture.30 In San Diego, architects Lilian J. Rice, Herbert Mann, Richard S. Requa, Thomas L. Shepherd, and Edgar V. Ullrich, among others, designed houses, hotels, and apartment buildings in this romantic style. Examples in La Jolla included Casa de Mañana (1924) and Los Apartamentos de Sevilla (1926, christened La Valencia Hotel in 1928), along with dozens of houses built in the Barbour Tract, La Jolla Hermosa,

A drawing of St. Mary’s Chapel from the school’s 1929 yearbook. Courtesy of The Bishop’s School.

Preliminary sketch for St. Mary’s Chapel and Memorial Tower, 1916, by Carleton M. Winslow, Sr. Courtesy of the Architecture and Design Collection, University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara.


the Muirlands, and La Jolla Shores.31 By 1930, St. James’s Chapel had been moved to Genter Street where it still stands, and was replaced by a Spanish Colonial Revival church designed by architect Louis Gill. Its bell tower, dedicated to the memory of Virginia Scripps, was completed in 1929. La Valencia Hotel also sported a tower designed by Reginald D. Johnson, the bishop’s son, who had become an authority on Mediterranean-style architecture.32

Winslow’s contribution to this activity was his design for what is known as “The Tower” on the campus of The Bishop’s School. In 1928, the death of Bishop Johnson led to the

A recent view of St. Mary’s Chapel
and Memorial Tower. Courtesy of The Bishop’s School.

resurrection of Winslow’s 1916 plans for a bell tower to be attached to St. Mary’s Chapel. Trustees and friends of the school donated funds for the construction of the Bishop Joseph H. Johnson Memorial Tower with its blue-and-gold tiled dome. The Frank L. Stimson Construction Company began construction in the summer of 1930. At the same time, renovations planned for Bentham Hall—including a recreation room and infirmary—created a reason to remove its old tower, El Miradero.33 It was replaced with a short tower topped by a Moorish Revival dome that fit uneasily into the otherwise modern Bentham Hall.

When completed, Winslow’s memorial tower was not as tall as the one he had originally envisioned, but it was still a dramatic focal point on campus. A poem entitled “Our Tower” in the 1933 student yearbook, El Miradero, expressed students’ pride in the structure:

Tall and with pride in every line,
It stands serene, with cross held high
A guardian over a noble shrine,
A symbol of strength to guide me by.

Man, by the skill he could apply,
Planned and patterned its design.
He took the blue of the framing sky;
He took the gold of the gleaming sand.34

From the beginning, Winslow designed almost everything connected with St. Mary’s Chapel, from the pulpit to the oak doors. He sketched the two stone statues depicting St. Catherine of Siena and Elizabeth of Hungary to be placed on either side of the arch leading to the entrance of the chapel. He drew up the plans for a processional cross, new doors, a baptismal font, and an organ front. He even went so far as to purchase an antique chair decorated by winged lions to serve as the bishop’s seat. Only the stained-glass windows were not designed by Winslow; they were made by the Judson Studios in Los Angeles. The San Diego Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) honored his work on The Bishop’s School Chapel and Tower—including the woodwork—with an award in 1933, noting a “special problem solved with great dignity and simplicity.”35

Aerial view of La Jolla, 1935, with the The Bishop’s School campus at center. ©SDHC #79:741-8.

In 1934, Winslow completed construction of the Wheeler J. Bailey Library on The Bishop’s School campus. Located across a ravine (now filled) from the main quadrangle, the one-story Spanish Mission Revival building has a red-tiled roof and a simple, arcaded porch that mirrors the design of other structures on campus. Inside, Winslow referenced ecclesiastical architecture with an apse at the east end and an elevated, chancel-like platform on which stood a desk. To the left is a small, enclosed space, not unlike a sacristy; to the right is an area that might have served as a chapel in a medieval church. Reading tables were located in what looks like a nave. Winslow also designed the library’s Arts & Crafts style furnishings.36

St. Mary’s Chapel received additional attention after the Long Beach Earthquake (1933) resulted in focus on structural problems. In the summer of 1938, Winslow returned to La Jolla to make improvements and additions to the chapel. A choir sacristy was added to the existing sacristy located to the left of the sanctuary, along with several offices. The chancel, meanwhile, became the Chapel of St. Ann with a small altar and credence; it is now used as a baptistery. Most significant was the construction of a transept that made possible additional seating. Winslow designed wooden screens to separate the north and south transepts from the stalls in the nave.37 He also sketched a design for the Rose window at the east end of the chapel. A number of English antique stained glass windows replaced the plain glass windows at this time. Stained glass windows designed by the Judson Studios in Los Angeles were added in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1990s.38

Other structural additions that Winslow made on The Bishop’s School campus between 1934 and 1938 included: modifications to the headmistress’s office in Gilman Hall, and major changes to Bentham Hall, including an addition to the art room, the enlargement of the study hall, and the creation of new bedrooms on the second floor.39

The 1930s and 1940s were difficult decades for Winslow, as for many architects, but ecclesiastical commissions kept him working. He designed St. Peter’s Church (Del Mar, 1931); Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church (La Jolla, 1936); a chapel for the Mission of the Holy Comforter (Los Angeles, 1939); additions to the Congregational Church of La Jolla (1916, 1939); St. Ambrose Chapel of the Church of St. Augustine-by-the-Sea (Santa Monica, 1941); and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and Parish Hall (Glendale, 1938-48), his last project. He continued to believe that church architecture should reflect the historical origins of the Catholic Church and the various Protestant denominations, and “express the Christian faith to coming generations.” The ideal church, meanwhile, “should breathe a prayer or stimulate one to pray even when empty and in repose.”40

At The Bishop’s School, boarding students went to services twice a day: morning prayers in the study hall and evening chapel at St. Mary’s. The girls covered their heads and wore dress-length, dark chapel capes to the evening service until the mid-1960s. Day students usually did not stay for the evening service, but morning prayers were required. Seventh graders sat on benches on either side of the nave while seniors occupied the choir stalls.41

Students dressed as pilgrims walking from St. Mary’s Chapel on Thanksgiving, 1936. Courtesy of The Bishop’s School.

Students recalled the serenity of St. Mary’s at all times of day. Norma Kean, Class of 1926, wrote about slipping into the chapel during organ practice where beneath the sound of

Chapel Name Plates, Class of
1910, Courtesy of The Bishop’s

the organ, she could hear the low murmur of the sea:

A wonderful quiet filled my soul…I had a feeling of a perfect, deep safety and security against every petty discord and trial. It was a place apart from the world where I could get nearer to God and understand a little better, perhaps, that His message was absolutely comforting and true. And so within the very heart of our still Chapel I found Simplicity, Serenity, Sincerity.42

St. Mary’s Chapel offered “a sense of belonging and reflection,” according to Mimi Holman Test, Class of 1961, who attended The Bishop’s School with her twin sister Sheila Holman Banks. “We were here with our teachers—and our friends—so everybody heard the same thing and we had the opportunity to talk about it and to share it with each other,” she said. “The messages were short but they were life messages…[They] were open, they were affirming, they opened up my heart, they opened up my mind.”43 Annie Wolterstorff Love (Class of 1965) remembered chapel as a special place that helped students prepare for the day: “We learned from the example of daily chapel to take that reflective moment to center ourselves, to prayerfully and calmly move ahead into the chaos of the day.”44

Stained glass windows created by the
Judson Studios show the seals of educational
institutions associated with the Right Rev.
W. Bertrand Stevens (1928-47) and the
Right Rev. Francis Eric Bloy (1948-73),
bishops of the Episcopal Diocese of Los
Angeles and trustees of The Bishop’s School.
Photographer Pablo Mason. Courtesy of The
Bishop’s School.

Evening chapel service was discontinued in the late 1960s, along with the requirement that women cover their heads in the sanctuary. Previously, seniors had worn special chapel caps while younger girls donned purple beanies.45 By the 1970s and 1980s, the chapel could no longer accommodate the growing student body, so daily worship ended. Instead, various grades in the school came in for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning services based on the new Book of Common Prayer (1979).

In the 1990s, St. Mary’s Chapel and Tower underwent renovations to meet new safety and seismic standards, and to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other alterations reflected changing liturgical styles within the Episcopal Church. For example, the old altar was removed and replaced by a portable, Byzantine-style altar positioned next to the lectern. This gave equal symbolic importance to the Word (lectern) and the Sacrament (altar), and allowed the congregation to witness the celebration of the Eucharist. Adjacent to the chapel, the Ruth Jenkins Memorial Garden made possible a quiet and contemplative space in which students and staff could commune with nature.46 Corinne Perkins Ross, Class of 1997, reflected that chapel services watered the “faith seed” in her life at a time when she faced her mother’s mortality. She said, “My parents planted the seed, but having chapel every week only allowed the seed to grow and thrive.”47

Today, students attend chapel weekly with members of their same grade level, and often lead services under the guidance of the School chaplain, The Rev. Brian Fidler, an Episcopal priest. The Altar Guild, first established in 1923, prepares the sanctuary for services and helps set the agenda for the school year. Chapel talks may take the form of a slide show, personal reflection, or discussion of a topic of interest. They represent “the richness of the beliefs and interests of the student community as well as reflect the holidays and traditions of many religions.”48 The Rev. Andy Shamel, Class of 2001, recalled listening to several Muslim students from UCSD who were invited to give a chapel talk. On hearing the repetition of the phrase, “Peace be upon you,” he wondered about his own faith, “Why do we do what we do? Where do my practices as a Christian come from?” and realized that for the first time, “I started thinking critically about my religion…and, I’m grateful to say, that critical thinking has never stopped.”49 Austin Rutherford, Class of 2008, also remembered the chapel as a place that helped him to become more self-reflective, “What do you take for granted in life?”50

Music is an integral part of worship. Organist Steven Townsend explained that he is inspired by “the extraordinary beauty of St. Mary’s Chapel at The Bishop’s School,” as well as the talented choristers that he has the opportunity to work with.51 A chamber music group performs regularly in the chapel, as do the Knights Chorus, the Knightingales, Bel Canto, and The Bishop’s Singers. On February 26, 2017, a music-filled Evensong service took place in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the chapel. The Right Reverend James Mathes, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego, officiated. “It was a wonderful celebration with beautiful music,” said Judy Ray, a former teacher. She added that students “really treasure” the chapel program.52

St. Mary’s Chapel continues to be used for alumni events, baptisms, and weddings. The Rev. Brian Fidler observed, “One of the great joys of welcoming alumni back is realizing how much a part of their lives this sacred space became while they were students here, whether they realized it at the time or not.” Chapel records show 330 baptisms since 1937, and 313 weddings since 1938. The chapel welcomes all alumni, faculty, and staff who wish to unite in Christian marriage. Virginia McKenzie Smith, Class of 1921, said of her daughter’s “lovely wedding” in the chapel, “The Bishop’s School Chapel is so pretty for a wedding because it’s long and narrow and the pews face each other.”53

In 1930, students raised money for the rose window in St. Mary’s Chapel, each petal of which depicts two of
the Twelve Apostles. Photographer Pablo Mason. Courtesy of The Bishop’s School.

For one hundred years, the chapel program has served generations of students, staff, and alumni who come to pray, reflect, and remember their experiences at The Bishop’s School. St. Mary’s Chapel is revered as a place of sacred beauty and tradition, thanks to the school’s careful stewardship and the architect’s creative vision.


1. Molly McClain, “The Bishop’s School, 1909-2009,” The Journal of San Diego History (hereafter
JSDH) 53, no. 4 (2008): 235-67.

2. Sarah J. Schaffer, “A Significant Sentence Upon the Earth: Irving J. Gill, Progressive Architect:
Part I: New York to California,” JSDH 43, no. 4 (1997): 218-39; Schaffer, “A Significant Sentence
Upon the Earth: Irving J. Gill, Progressive Architect: Part II: Creating a Sense of Place,” JSDH
44, no. 1 (1998): 24-47; Nicole Holland, Ashley Chang, and Pieter Stougaard, “Irving Gill’s
Vision for The Bishop’s School,” JSDH 54, no. 4 (Fall 2008): 268-280; Nicolas Stougaard and
Nicole Holland, “Architect Irving Gill (1870-1936) and the Specifications for Bentham Hall,
The Bishop’s School,” JSDH 61, no. 1 (Winter 2015): 299-306; “Dare to Be Simple: Irving J. Gill,
Architect, and The Bishop’s School” (catalog), Centennial Celebration Exhibition, March
24-April 30, 2009, The Bishop’s School Archives (hereafter TBS Archives). See also Bruce
Kamerling, Irving J. Gill, Architect (San Diego: San Diego Historical Society, 1993); Thomas S.
Hines, Irving Gill and the Architecture of Reform: A Study in Modernist Architectural Culture (New
York: The Monacelli Press, 2000).

3. In 1920, Reginald Johnson joined forces with Gordon B. Kaufmann to form Johnson and
Kaufmann, Architects. This later became Johnson, Kaufmann and Coate. Johnson established
an independent practice after 1925. His most notable projects were the Santa Barbara Post
Office and the Santa Barbara Biltmore Hotel. Finding Aid for the Reginald Johnson Papers,
Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum, University of
California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

4. Ellen Browning Scripps to Eliza Virginia Scripps, La Jolla, November 25, 1916, Drawer 3,
Folder 17, Ellen Browning Scripps Collection, Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College
(hereafter EBS/SC).

5. Thomas H. Mullay worked in the office of Daniel H. Burnham designing buildings for Chicago
World’s Fair in 1893 before setting up his own practice. He described his career in a letter to
his former office boy. Thomas H. Mullay to Carleton M. Winslow, Series 2A, Box 2, Folder
35, Carleton Monroe Winslow Sr. papers, Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design
& Architecture Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara (hereafter CMW/UCSB).

6. Carleton M. Winslow, Sr., to [Thomas H.] Mullay (copy), August 27, 1942, Series 2A, Box 2,
Folder 35, CMS/UCSB.

7. Ibid.; Carleton M. Winslow, Jr., “The Architecture of the Panama-California Exposition, 1909-
1915,” master’s thesis, University of San Diego, 1976. Winslow Jr. wrote that his father also
worked with Chicago builder and contractor Daniel Wade.

8. Carleton M. Winslow, Sr., Autobiography, 1938, Series 1, Box 1, Folder 9, CMW/UCSB. Winslow
wrote this three-page document for a publication produced by the Federal Writers Project.
Winslow to George Hoedinghaus (copy), January 4, 1940, Series 2A, Box 1, Folder 9, CMW/
UCSB; “Reminiscence in Concrete” (draft), Series 2B, Box 2, Folder 72, CMW/UCSB.

9. Richard Oliver, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1983), 21, 52-
53, 55; Romy Wyllie, Bertram Goodhue: His Life and Residential Architecture (New York: W.W.
Norton, 2007), 76-77. Winslow wrote that he had “the happiest memories of great adventures
in architecture,” during his time with the firm. He added, “Possibly the romance of these
adventures was the influence held over by Mr. Goodhue from what was best in the twilight
of Victorian times and there was much that was fine in the Victorian Era as I have heard Mr.
Goodhue himself say again and again.” Carleton M. Winslow, Sr., to Mayers, Murray, and
Phillip (copy), March 18, 1940, Series 2A, Box 2, Folder 35, CMW/UCSB.

10. History/Biographical Note, Finding Aid, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue architectural drawings
and papers, 1882-1980, Avery Drawings & Archives Collections, Columbia University Library, (accessed March 13, 2017).

11.Iris H.W. Engstrand, “Inspired by Mexico: Architect Bertram Goodhue Introduces Spanish
Colonial Revival into Balboa Park,” JSDH 58, nos. 1-2 (Winter/Spring 2012), 62; Richard W.
Amero, Balboa Park History, chap. 2, (accessed
March 13, 2017); Carleton Monroe Winslow, The Architecture and Gardens of the San Diego
Exposition (San Francisco: P. Elder, 1916), 11-12, 18. Stein was at that time working in Goodhue’s
New York office.

12. Stephen Cox, Changing and Remaining: A History of All Saints’ Church San Diego (San Diego:
privately printed, 2011), 45-46; “All Saints Church,” Series 4, Box 11, Folder 328, CMW/UCSB.

13. Donald Covington, “Burlingame,” JSDH 39, no. 3 (Summer 1993), 149-69; “Hotchkiss, Dr.
Isabella Scott house,” Series 4, Box 11, Folder 340, CMW/UCSB; “Riall, Ernest house,” Series
4, Box 11, Folder 351, CMW/UCSB; Howard S. F. Randolph, La Jolla Year by Year (La Jolla: The
Library Association of La Jolla, 1955), 27-28; “Union Congregational Church” (1939), Series
2B, Box 2, Folder 78, CMW/UCSB.

14. Wyllie, Bertram Goodhue, 75.

15. Ellen Browning Scripps to Eliza Virginia Scripps, La Jolla, November 25, 1916, Drawer 3,
Folder 17, EBS/SC.

16. “Bishop’s School for Girls,” Drawer 254, FlatFile 34, CMW/UCSB.

17. Oliver, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, 31. A blueprint of Winslow’s tower, dated 1916, can be found
in The Bishop’s School for Girls: Chapel with Memorial Tower, Drawer 71, Flatfile folder 8,
Irving J. Gill Papers, Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum,
University of California, Santa Barbara (hereafter IJG/UCSB).

18. Ibid.

19. Ellen Browning Scripps, Diary, September 21, 1916, Drawer 23, Folder 20, EBS/SC.

20. Viola Gilbert, “The Laying of the Corner Stone,” Yearbook, 1917, 22, TBS Archives.

21. Thanks to James B. Guthrie for pointing out the band windows on Bentham Hall, pre-1930.

22. Ellen Browning Scripps, Diary, February 15, 1917, Drawer 23, Folder 21, EBS/SC; “Society,”
The San Diego Union, February 18, 1917.

23. Randolph, La Jolla Year by Year, 98.

24. Ellen Browning Scripps to Eliza Virginia Scripps, La Jolla, October 5, 1917, Drawer 3, Folder
18, EBS/SC.

25. Ellen Browning Scripps to Eliza Virginia Scripps, La Jolla, September 22, 1917, Drawer 3,
Folder 18, EBS/SC.

26. Wyllie, Bertram Goodhue, 186.

27. Winslow, Sr., “The Architect’s Viewpoint” (draft 2) for Architect and Engineer, May 1929, Series
2B, Box 2, Folder 57, CMW/UCSB.

28. “Carleton M. Winslow, Sr.,” The Pacific Coast Architectural Database, http://pcad.lib.washington.
edu/person/789/ (accessed March 27, 2017).

29. Winslow, Sr., “The Architect’s Viewpoint.”

30. Carey McWilliams, “The Fantasy Heritage,” in North from Mexico: The Spanish-Speaking People of
the United States (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co., 1948). See also Phoebe S. Kropp, Culture and
Memory in a Modern American Place (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press,
2006) and Matthew Bokovoy, The San Diego World’s Fairs and Southwestern Memory, 1880-1940
(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005), among other studies of the subject.

31. Seonaid McArthur, Molly McClain, and Diane Kane, Jazz Age to Our Age: Architects and
Developers of 1920s La Jolla (La Jolla: The La Jolla Historical Society, 2017).

32. Lawrence H. Waddy, A Parish by the Sea: A History of Saint James-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church,
La Jolla, California (La Jolla: St. James Bookshelf, 1988), 116; “La Valencia: A Lavish Renovation
for the Storied La Jolla Landmark,” Architectural Digest 58, no. 11 November 2001): 235-37.

33. Caroline S. Cummins, “Miss Cummins Honored; Reflects on Past 50 Years,” The Bishop’s
School Alumnae News (Summer 1970), 2-5, 12, DOC Bishop’s School, San Diego History Center
Archives (hereafter SDHC Archives). In 1933, Louis J. Gill received an award from the San
Diego chapter of the American Institute of Architects for his work on Bentham Hall (“wellhandled
difficult problem”). “Architects Vote San Diego 200 Honor Awards,” The San Diego
Union, June 30, 1933, 7.

34. El Miradero [yearbook] (1933), TBS Archives.

35. Carleton M. Winslow to William Templeton Johnson, September 5, 1933, Series 2B, Box 2, Folder
96, CMW/UCSB. Winter & Nicholson, contractors and engineers, carried out the building
work on the chapel. “Architects Vote San Diego 200 Honor Awards,” The San Diego Union,
June 30, 1933, 7.

36. Bishop’s School for Girls library building and furniture, Series 4, Drawer 254, Flatfile 32,

37. Bishop’s School for Girls chapel, chancel furniture, and chapel remodeling, Series 4, Drawer
254, FlatFile 33, CMW/UCSB; Thomas W. Mitchell, Reviewing the Vision: A Story of the Bishop’s
Schools (San Diego: privately printed for the Bishop’s School, 1979), 40-41.

38. Mitchell, Reviewing the Vision, 43, 45; Jane Bradford, “The Vision Revisited” (1999), 90,
unpublished manuscript, TBS Archives; “The Altar Guild,” El Miradero (1925), TBS Archives.
Walter W. Judson, owner of the Judson Studios and President of the Stained Glass Association
of America, offered an iconography of the stained glass windows in St. Mary’s Chapel, adding,
“I hope that the windows will now be used as they were envisioned—as a teaching medium.”
Walter W. Judson to The Bishop’s School, [ca. 1988-89], TBS Archives.

39. Bishop’s School for Girls Bentham Hall remodeling, Series 4, Drawer 254, Flatfile 35, CMW/UCSB.

40. Winslow, Sr., Outline of Lecture on Spirituality in Church architecture, 1933, Series 2B, Box
2, Folder 87, CMW/UCSB.

41. Mitchell, Reviewing the Vision, 49, 54.

42. Norma Kean, “The Chapel,” El Miradero (1925), 35, TBS Archives.

43. “Chapel Talk: Mimi Test ’61,” YouTube,
KckG4aXAAz8zVgJ7mHy9sVy0m (accessed March 27, 2017).

44. “Chapel Talk: Annie Wolterstorff Love ’65,”
KckG4aXAAz8zVgJ7mHy9sVy0m (accessed March 27, 2017).

45. Mitchell, Reviewing the Vision, 67.

46. Bradford, “The Vision Revisited,” 90-91.

47. “Chapel Talk: Corinne Perkins Ross ’97,”
KckG4aXAAz8zVgJ7mHy9sVy0m (accessed March 27, 2017).

48. “Chapel Program at The Bishop’s School,”
(accessed March 26, 2017).

49. “Chapel Talk: The Rev. Andy Shamel, ’01,”
KckG4aXAAz8zVgJ7mHy9sVy0m (accessed March 27, 2017).

50. “Chapel Talk: Austin Rutherford ’08,” YouTube,
KckG4aXAAz8zVgJ7mHy9sVy0m (accessed March 27, 2017).

51. “It’s a Life full of Music for La Jolla Church Organist Steven Townsend,” La Jolla Light, December
8, 2010.

52. Evensong Service Celebrating the 100th Dedication of St. Mary’s Chapel, YouTube, https:// (accessed March
27, 2017); Judy Ray, interviewed by author, April 7, 2017.

53. OH Smith, Virginia Churchill McKenzie (1903-1988), SDHC Archives.