State Gives $400,000 for Restoration Of Annie Pfeiffer Chapel

Jan 24, 2014

by Cary McMullen | Publications Editor
As part of an ongoing effort to preserve and enhance its unique treasure of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, Florida Southern College has been awarded $400,000 in grants from the State of Florida’s Division of Historical Resources, including a major grant to restore the interior of the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel to its original state.


The Division of Historical Resources awarded two grants to Florida Southern, both of which must be matched dollar-for-dollar by the college, which means that $800,000 will be expended within the next two years to ensure that Frank Lloyd Wright’s American campus at FSC remains a premier showcase of his genius.

The grants, which are administered by the division’s Bureau of Historic Preservation, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission, are as follows.
  • $50,000 for the replacement and repair of the decorative “textile blocks” on the west side of the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel. Most of the blocks on this wall are cracked and reinforcing bars have rusted. Using techniques developed for the construction of the Usonian house for the Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center and the repair of the President’s terrace on the Emile Watson Administration Building, new and improved blocks will be cast to replace the ones that have failed.
  • $350,000 to restore the interior of the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel to its original appearance. The project will include eliminating alcoves to restore the original transepts, replacing modern theater-style seating with pews based on Wright’s design, and replacing glass exterior doors with replicas of the originals. In addition, the massive “ship’s prow” pulpit, destroyed in 1944 when a hurricane collapsed the chapel’s tower, will be reconstructed.

The $50,000 grant has a six-month completion requirement, and the chapel interior restoration grant expires in June 2015.

Florida Southern has been the beneficiary of previous grants from the Division of Historical Resources, part of the Florida Department of State, to restore and preserve its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structures. Among other projects, the Water Dome and the Theatre-in-the-Round were restored to their original conditions through DHR grants given in 2007 and 2009, respectively.

“We are grateful to the Division of Historical Resources for their invaluable assistance in keeping alive the vision of America’s greatest architect,” said FSC President Anne Kerr. “These generous grants will make it possible for Frank Lloyd Wright to inspire future generations.”