Stickney Chapel in Bretton Woods
and Stickney Tomb in Concord, NH
Joseph Stickney, builder of the Mt. Washington Hotel, and owner of the Mt. Pleasant House, died suddenly in 1903 at the age of 64. HisMt. Washington Hotel had opened the year before, in July 1902. His wife, Carolyn, built a chapel to his memory on hotel property. The granite chapel, today formally known as the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, is commonly referred to as the Stickney Chapel. Many of Joseph Stickney’s friends donated to the chapel and there are several bronze plaques in the building commemorating the donors. Several leaded and painted Tiffany windows are in the building. Carved oak furniture and a carved oak pulpit create a very special place.
Local residents state that some of the same Italian stonemasons that had worked on the Mt. Washington Hotel built the chapel, which opened in 1906. Careful examination of the exterior granite walls reveal some whimsical carvings, including an ice cream cone. (See the photo album-link below.) The chapel, owned by the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, is still a functioning church with services conducted during summer months and is well maintained.
The chapel was home to the Bretton Woods Boys Choir. The choir was organized in 1910 to be the choir for the Stickney Chapel. Frank Roland Hancock, a Harvard sophomore and member of the choir of St. Paul's Cathedral in Boston, was hired to direct the small group of boys for ten weeks each summer.
The Choir Bus, c. 1920
The Singers' concert career began in 1911, with an impromptu performance at the Maplewood Hotel in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. Each summer thereafter, as many as thirty-five concerts were given in New Hampshire's North Country and surrounding areas. Each Sunday, the boys sang for two services at the Church of the Transfiguration. A summer home, Camp Duncan, was established for the boys, on Hotel property, along the road to the Base Station of the Cog Railroad. Each summer, twelve to fifteen boys enjoyed all the usual benefits of a boy's summer camp.
Carolyn also provided that upon her death, a mausoleum be built in which she and her husband would be interred. In 1904, she bought land in the Old North Cemetery in Concord, NH, adjoining the Stickney family plot. The Stickney family had its roots on Concord and many members of the family are interred there. She died in Nov. 1936, at the age of 69. Her will provided that a mausoleum be built at a cost “not to exceed $35,000” on that plot. It was completed in 1938 and Joseph’s remains were moved into the mausoleum on August 18. Carolyn also left a perpetual care fund of $10,000.
A particularly interesting feature of the mausoleum is a large painted glass window in the rear wall. It’s a three panel window, 21 ½” by 44”. The artist is unknown. (Tiffany Studios was no longer in business at this time, so it’s unlikely that this is a Tiffany window. Efforts to identify the artist have so far been unsuccessful. The window may be in need of conservation.) The scene is one Carolyn and her husband would have known well. It shows Crawford Notch with Mt. Willard and surrounding scenery. Carolyn, as well as today’s visitors, would see the scene from the South veranda of the Mt. Washington Hotel. (See photo in Photo Album-link below.)
We thank the individuals who allowed us access to the Chapel and the Tomb. The photographs in the Photo Album were only possible with their cooperation. The color photos, dated 2010, were taken by Forrest Seavey. There are more photos than we usually use-we wanted to share the Chapel photos.