Renovation of Historic Chapel Complete

Mount Auburn Chapel / all photos by Robert Benson Photography

Watertown, MA – Shawmut Design and Construction announced its completion of a $15 million renovation of Mount Auburn’s Bigelow Chapel, a national historic landmark, located in Watertown.

Shawmut, together with William Rawn Associates and CSL, worked to enhance and preserve Bigelow Chapel’s façade and interior, originally constructed in 1845 out of Quincy granite. The team installed a new, floor-to-ceiling glass addition that complements the original gothic revival design by Dr. Jacob Bigelow and connects visitors within the space to the beautiful and meditative landscape outside.

ADA entrance creates larger gathering spaces for events

The new structure serves as a space for public gatherings, memorial services, receptions, and educational programs. The Shawmut team conducted a complete renovation of Bigelow Chapel while greatly improving overall accessibility, including adding a new ADA entrance, creating larger gathering spaces for events, and improving lighting and acoustics in the chapel.

Restoration of the Great Rose Window

Other highlights include the restoration of the Great Rose Window, located above the chapel entrance. Commissioned as part of the chapel’s original design and imported from Scotland, the fragile glass panels were meticulously removed from the window’s original cast-iron frame, then repaired, restored, and reinstalled.

In addition to upgrading select architectural features, the team installed a new state-of-the-art crematory within the chapel’s new addition, replacing the existing facility.

The modern space includes a serene, glass-enclosed viewing room, and private garden where families can participate in the cremation and memorial process.






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