Built in 1855, the Chapel of The Holy Family was located on the second floor of St. Aloysius Orphanage where it remained for 68 years. As the orphanage population grew, the spaces occupied by the old chapel were needed for additional dormitories. Perhaps the biggest change that has occurred since St. Aloysius was first built in Bond Hill was the removal of the chapel from the main building and the 1923 addition of a new chapel at the north end of the building.
Two, stained glass windows on the second floor of the main building are the only remaining traces of the original chapel.
The new Chapel is a front–gabled, Gothic–inspired design in coursed ashlar limestone with a cross–shaped plan. Designed by Kunz & Beck, architects, The Chapel contains cut stone installed by the David Hummel Building Company and iron work from L. Schreiber & Sons who were in business in Cincinnati from 1854 until 1962. Their architectural ironwork can be found in buildings across the United States.
Preserving a Community Landmark
American orphanages were mostly phased out by the 1980's due to a national shift to foster care. The children in the care of St. Aloysius were provided housing until a suitable family could be found. By the late 1980's, formal religious instruction was no longer provided at St. Al’s, nor was mass offered, on account of government subsidy being the primary revenue source. With that, the use of the Chapel declined as did the necessary repair work and upkeep.
In the 90's, The Chapel was used primarily for weddings and small events. In the early 2000's, it began to experience more severe weathering and roof damage as did the rest of the buildings on the Bond Hill Campus. With only a small agency budget for facility maintenance, classroom and office safety remained the financial priority.
An emergency grant in 2010 afforded the opportunity to replace the Chapel roof. A generous gift in 2014 supported critical infrastructure repairs and restoration work.
Today the beautiful and historic landmark is a source of pride to the surrounding community. It hosts over 150 weddings each year, generating an additional revenue stream to support children's services at St. Aloysius (a 501c3 nonprofit organization).