Inspired by the dreams of Elizabeth Evans Baker, the Peace Chapel was designed in
1988 and constructed in 1989 by architect and sculptor Maya Lin, who also designed
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. and the Civil Rights Memorial in
Montgomery, Alabama. The Elizabeth Evans Baker Peace Chapel, like many of Lin's designs,
is remarkable in its simplicity, yet very powerful and moving.
The Peace Chapel consists of two main sites, one large and one small, with a series of 24 granite steps leading up a slope to the larger of the sites, which is situated at the center of an open field. The larger site, consisting of a 40-foot circle composed of 53 rough-cut, salt-and-pepper blocks of granite, accommodates groups of people in a spectacular setting overlooking surrounding mountains and forests. Each of the stones was hand picked by the artist from a Vermont quarry.
The second site, several hundred yards from the first, is located in a small grove of trees on a knoll slightly higher than the circle of stones. This element of the Peace Chapel consists of a single smooth granite disc, four feet in diameter, situated for individual, private meditation.
The Peace Chapel occupies 14 acres just east of the Juniata College campus, off Warm Springs Avenue in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and is part of the larger 315-acre Baker-Henry Nature Preserve. The preserve was originally donated to Juniata by John C. Baker and C. Jewett Henry as a bird sanctuary and land preserve.
The Elizabeth Evans Baker Peace Chapel provides a unique atmosphere conducive to creativity and contemplation. It is used for campus and community worship services as well as other activities, including weddings. Over the years there have been peace studies classes, Earth Day celebrations and poetry readings held at the chapel. During the year 2000, every sunrise at the chapel was greeted with interfaith prayers for peace.