During a recent trip through Colorado Springs we had the opportunity to tour Colorado’s number one manmade tourist attraction, the Cadet Chapel. It was truly an honor to see such beautiful architecture on a spectacular campus dedicated to The Lord and enriching the lives of our service men and women. It is a bit intimidating to actually get on site to visit the chapel. We were stopped at the traffic gate, had to show I.D. and even open our trunk for inspection. But once you are on the grounds it is well worth any inconvenience. The winding drive to the chapel through the campus grounds is beautiful even by itself.
The Chapel was designed by Walter Netsch and completed in 1962. It is a sight to behold. The most striking aspect is the roof line of sixteen metal spires that shoot towards the sky almost mimicking stealth jets shooting into the atmosphere. On the front a wide granite stairway leads you up to the entrance and a breathtaking view. At geometric intersections all along the ceiling and walls of the chapel there are lines of bright beautiful stained glass. It was difficult to capture in a photograph but almost gives off an electrical glow.
Another wowing feature is the giant silver pipe organ that towers over the back of the chapel. You can just hear its pipes filling the air with music.
The actual chapel is broken up into three distinct areas. The Protestant Chapel, the largest of the three, is located on the main floor and can seat up to 1200 individuals. Below the main chapel are a Jewish and Catholic chapel as well as a Buddhist room. One neat feature is that all the chapels have separate entrances and can hold services at the same time without interfering with each other.
While the Protestant chapel was the largest and most awe inspiring it was worth it and very interesting to visit the other chapels as well. Each area feels very authentic to its faith and has artifacts that are of importance as well. One thing that I was impressed by was the floor of the Jewish chapel, it is paved with Jerusalem brownstone which was donated by the Israeli Defense Forces.
It took us about an hour to tour the entire facility and we really enjoyed our time. If you find yourself in Colorado Springs please take the time to visit this beautiful attraction.
To get to the Academy: take Exit 156 on Interstate 25, 14 miles north of downtown Colorado Springs. Drivers will need a valid photo I.D. to enter the gate. All vehicles are subject to search.
Service Hours: Open daily 9:00am to 5:00pm, closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The Visitor Center is also closed Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
For more information about the Cadet Chapel visit their website at http://www.usafa.af.mil/information/visitors/