LYNN — For more than a century, the Rhodes Memorial Chapel has been a landmark of Lynn’s Pine Grove Cemetery. Yet, few people have been inside.
That is about to change.
On Sunday, the public is welcome to tour the chapel from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is no required registration or fee; those interested are welcome to simply stop by during those hours.
Art Dulong, chairman of the Pine Grove Cemetery Commission, is excited for visitors to see just how beautiful it is inside.
“We’d love to open it for funerals or weddings or other events,” said Dulong. “We don’t want it to be a museum, but a functioning entity for the people of Lynn to enjoy. I’ve been on the commission for 24 years, and I’ve been fighting for the last 10 to get something like this done. I think people are finally realizing what a gem we have.”
Built in 1891 in a style of Romanesque Revival architecture, the chapel was a donation of Mrs. Amos Rhodes. It was a gift in memory of her husband generously granted to the City of Lynn. Over the years, the 1,100-square-foot chapel has been refurbished and brought up to health standards, with asbestos removed and the roof replaced. The 12 stained-glass windows that were previously boarded up have been uncovered, and the compromised ones will be repaired. The chapel currently has no electricity, but Dulong hopes that with additional funding, lighting will be added. He would also like to see a heating and air-conditioning system installed, along with a bathroom, in order for it to be fully functioning for gatherings.
Two years ago, the Pride of Lynn Cemetery, a nonprofit established to serve the Jewish communities of the North Shore, made a donation of $100,000, which will go toward the renovation project. Donations can also be accepted by check, made out to the Rhodes Memorial Chapel.
Located on Chapel Avenue, the Rhodes Chapel is near the Boston Street entrance of the cemetery. It is closest to the Receiving Tomb, as well as the lot for World War I veterans.
Pine Grove, one of the largest cemeteries in the country, was established in the mid-1800s as a privately owned cemetery and was sold to the City of Lynn in 1850. The burial ground is rich in history and is home to three Medal of Honor recipients: John Adams, Benjamin Franklin Falls, and William Poole, all who served in the Civil War.
Dulong says it is one of the few cemeteries to have more than one Medal of Honor recipient buried. It is also the resting site of many notable individuals, such as Lynn Classical legend and Red Sox first baseman Harry Agganis, inventors Lydia Pinkham and Elihu Thomson, artist Charles Herbert Woodbury, and Francis Moore, who, undisguised, assisted in throwing tea into the Boston Harbor during the 1773 protest. The cemetery is approximately 250 acres and is near the 2,200 acres of Lynn Woods Reservation.