Blossom Hill Cemetery, the little chapel on the hill
If you’ve driven down North State Street past Blossom Hill Cemetery, you have probably noticed the little chapel on the hill.
This little chapel is the Clara B. Perkins Memorial Chapel, and it dates back to 1904. Nine years after Blossom Hill Cemetery was established, the cemetery committee expressed the need for a chapel to hold burial services. The chapel was ultimately a generous gift from Concord philanthropist Miss Susan George Perkins, and named after her mother, Clara Bartlett Perkins. Both Susan and her mother are buried in Blossom Hill Cemetery.
The chapel is an example of late Gothic Revival architecture, based on English Parish design. Other features of the architecture & construction include:
• Stick style scissors truss made of heavy timber
• Granite walls & windows
• Roofs covered with Vermont slate
• Tall windows filled with stained glass
The architect was unknown for many years until Cemetery Administrator Jill McDaniel discovered a partial collection of Concord Cemetery Commissioner minutes in 2010. From these records, it was discovered that the architect was most likely Marshall Francis Oliver. The Perkins Chapel bears strong resemblance to the 1905 Judy Chapel in Washington Union Cemetery in Washington Court House, Ohio. The known link is David H. Buchanan, a Concord stonemason who did the stone work on the Judy Chapel. There is no evidence that Buchanan worked on the Perkins Chapel, but he is buried in Blossom Hill Cemetery.
The chapel was used for burial services after it was constructed, but use slowed and the chapel’s condition deteriorated. It was renovated and reopened in 1942. Additional renovations were done in 1976 and it was re-dedicated in January 1977. Repairs were made to the chapel’s roof and windows in 1997, and interior rehabilitation took place in 1998, with another rededication in 1999. The most recent 2018 renovations to the chapel include interior painting, a new walkway, and the addition of outdoor lighting.
The City of Concord and the Cemetery Division of the Concord Parks and Recreation Department continues to maintain and utilize the chapel as an important piece of the City’s past.
*Some information courtesy of the National Register of Historic Places