Curator’s Corner- Davisville Stained Glass

img_2089-1

Original stained glass window from the Chapel in the Pines in Davisville, Rhode Island (U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

Davisville, Rhode Island is the birthplace of the Seabees and was a strategic location for Seabees serving during the Cold War. The Navy acquired the property in 1939, and built the Naval Air Station Quonset Point. In 1942, adjoining properties were developed for training Seabees, including Advanced Base Depot (ABD) Davisville. After WWII, ABD Davisville was placed in caretaker status until August 8, 1951, when it was reactivated as Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) Davisville due to the intensification of the Cold War. The base played a significant role during the Cold War by supporting advance base construction, emergency public works, and participating in special task force projects. The active duty mission of the base was disestablished in 1974. All active duty units were transferred to Gulfport or Port Hueneme and NCBC Davisville was changed to reserve status. Reserve NCBC Davisville officially closed on April 1, 1994.

 

chapelinpinesdavisville-crop

Chapel in the Pines, base chapel in Davisville, Rhode Island (Courtesy of the CEC/ Seabee Historical Foundation

“The Chapel in the Pines” was the base chapel of NCBC Davisville built by the Seabees in 1963. At construction, it was the only poured concrete chapel in the world. A large, circular stained glass window was featured in the chapel. The stained glass is about 7 feet in diameter and lights up with vivid shades of green, blue and red. The words “Praise Ye The Lord” are crafted into the stained glass along with a small Seabee insignia in the lower right-hand corner.

img_2094-1

Seabee insignia crafted into the stained glass (U.S. Navy Seabee Museum)

 

After the closing of Davisville in 1994, the stained glass was removed from the Chapel of the Pines and relocated to the Seabee base in Gulfport, Mississippi where the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum Annex resided. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, it severely damaged the museum’s building and all the historical artifacts were removed. The stained glass was relocated to Gulfport’s chapel for safe keeping until its official move to the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum in Port Hueneme, California where it is prominently displayed in the museum’s Cold War Gallery.

Come visit the U.S. Navy Seabee Museum and see the new Cold War exhibition which is now open to the public.

 

photo-of-robyn-for-curators-cornerMeet the Curator: Robyn King is pursuing her master’s degree in Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management through Johns Hopkins University. She earned her Bachelors in History and Anthropology from the State University of New York at Oneonta. She has experience working at state museums, historic sites, the National Park Service, and most recently the Navy. She is an expert in collection management, and has worked closely with both natural and cultural collections. Robyn loves all museums and sharing her love of history. When she is not working, she is volunteering her time with the National Peace Corps Association, as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from West Africa.

5 comments on “Curator’s Corner- Davisville Stained Glass

  1. Ellyn says:

    My father was a Seabee in WWII – CBMU #615. I have several pictures of Okinawa when he was there. Does anyone have any interest in these pictures? I just hate to throw them away.

    Like

  2. David A McIntire says:

    I was married in the chapel on April 15, 1967.

    Like

  3. Michael manley says:

    On my bucket list CBMU 301. Boot in Gulfport. Dong ha rvn.

    Like

  4. Clifford M. Ray says:

    I was on Seabee Team 6207 if look to the right of YAP you will see RAY by the way I have a larger stone money by the way

    Like

  5. Carl Sargent says:

    Hello Robyn. I am looking for information on how to donate materials and information for the museum. My father was a career Seabee stationed at the Sand Point Naval Air Station in Seattle. It is no longer active. My father started the first Seabee Naval Training Hanger in America about 1962. He also managed the only Navy Seabee Drill Team. I have photos, stories, newspaper articles and more. Is this something you can help me with? I will be at the Museum around May 1st. I will finalize the exact date later. I would like to meet with you or another archivist if possible.
    Thanks for your help.
    Carl Sargent

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s