Florence Henry Memorial Chapel
The Florence Henry Memorial Chapel has stood in The Highlands for over 89 years. Florence Henry, "Flollie," as she was called, was born in 1886 in Minneapolis to Susan and Horace Henry. Flollie was the youngest of their four children, and the only girl.
Horace Henry came to Seattle, initially, to build a belt line for the Northern Pacific Railroad. Horace did not intend to make Seattle his home, but soon after he arrived, it became apparent that Seattle had a future for an ambitious entrepreneur.
A few years later, while attending school in Massachusetts, Flollie fell acutely ill. Her father left immediately for the East Coast, but arrived too late. Flollie had died of appendicitis.
Returning to Seattle, Horace Henry buried himself in his work. In 1905, Horace Henry was one of the original Seattle Golf and Country Club members who considered turning the extra land at the new club site into a residential subdivision.
Horace selected what he considered to be the ideal spot to build a chapel to be dedicated to his daughter and hired W. Marberry Somerville, a local young architect, to design the simple Scottish chapel. Today Florence’s portrait is directly to the left as one walks in the door.
In 1911, C.D. Stimson donated the Kimbell pipe organ and the chapel was ready for use. Through the years additions were made to the building by Highland members and parishioners. Paul Henry donated the first stained glass window in 1928 in memory of his wife. It is a copy of “The Light of the World” by Holman Hunt. This was the first of the memorial windows in the chapel. The other stained glass windows were designed by glass artist Charles J. Connick. His work can be seen in St. Patrick’s Cathedral and in the Rose Window in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. These windows bear the names of Kerry, Stimson, Bullitt, and Stewart family members. The Gowan chimes were donated by a group of members inspired by Mrs. A. S. Kerry after her visit to the Croyden Bell Factory in England. The chimes were installed for their first service in 1929 and dedicated to a beloved minister to the community. The largest bell bears the inscription in raised bronze “To the Glory of God and in loving appreciation of the ministrations of Dr. Herbert H. Gowan.”
Horace Henry’s gift of the Italian marble relief of “Leonardo’s Last Supper” in the altar area was purchased from the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909. The painting over the altar, “Christ Entering Jerusalem,” was donated in 1938 by the Horace and L. C. Henry families.
The generosity to the chapel continues until today. The needlepoint cushions on the kneeling benches were made by members of The Highlands in the 1970s. Recent memorials include the communion silver for Anne Flohr, the flowering cherry for Mary Ryan, the bird bath for Glen Kerry Trimble and the altar frontal for Ann Webb. The silver altar candle holders are from Mary and John Ryan, parishioners of the chapel.
Through the years, the chapel was used on a regular basis, but did not have a full-time minister until 1949. At that time it affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, but is still owned by The Highlands, Inc.
Dedicated for the use of The Highlands as a non-sectarian church, it may be used by any member of The Highlands, regardless of denomination, any member of the Highlands Parish, which includes St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, or any descendant of the Henry family, for wedding, burial or baptismal services. In addition, Episcopal Sunday morning services are held in rotation with St. Dunstan’s.
In recent years the chapel has been used for neighbor sponsored events. The annual “Lessons and Carols Service,” introduced by Mr. and Mrs. Van der Vorm in 1993, has become a tradition. Dr. Richard Rotter has organized musical recitals to benefit the chapel fund. Events such as these and the Annual Chapel Grounds Clean Up Day, expand the community’s involvement with this special gift to the neighborhood.
Though he never lived in The Highlands, Horace Henry's memorial to his daughter continues to benefit all who worship there.
The Florence Henry Chapel is run by the Chapel Committee. The chairpersons are custodians of the chapel and are responsible for the facilitating of all services held there. If you wish to know more about the regular Episcopal services held in the chapel or have questions on how to schedule a private service, please contact one of the chairpersons.
St. Dunstan's Church, a congregation of the Episcopal Church, has been serving North Seattle and Shoreline since 1949 and holds 8:00am Holy Eucharist at the Henry Memorial Chapel every Sunday.
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