Built in 1901, St. Peter’s Chapel is the oldest Naval chapel in the United States. It is home to one of the largest collections of Tiffany stained glass windows under one roof and is filled with historic naval memorials.
Located in the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California, St. Peter’s was the second chapel built on a U.S. Navy property. (It was preceded by the original chapel at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, which was replaced with a new building in 1904.) The single-story chapel was designed by Albert Sutton. The walls are lined with 29 striking stained-glass windows, most of which were created by Tiffany Studios.
The chapel sits in a small park, surrounded by eucalyptus trees that host monarch butterflies in the winter months when they hibernate. If you arrange a tour of the chapel, plan for the late afternoon. The windows come alive; it is a vision to see the light dance through the stained glass as the leaves move in the breeze. Pre-Covid, the chapel also hosted a Christmas concert featuring the 1929 pipe organ that replaced the pump organ, originally installed in 1901.