Mount Olivet Chapel and Diocesan House
Diocesan House of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana is situated in the
former parish hall of the historic Mount Olivet Chapel in Pineville, LA. Built in 1858 and consecrated on June 29, 1859, Mount Olivet was originally a mission of the parish church St. James, Alexandria. The picturesque and perfectly proportioned chapel, of Gothic Revival style, was designed by the famous ecclesiastical architect, Richard Upjohn, who also designed Trinity Church, New York City.
The Chapel was built in an existing cemetery where tombstones date as early as 1824. The structure, except for its oak floor, is entirely of pinewood, milled from local trees. The parish hall was constructed in 1946, as booming growth in the Mount Olivet congregation followed the end of World War II. By 1966, the congregation had outgrown the chapel and parish hall. Reluctantly, the move was made to a new church home, St. Michael’s in Pineville.
The Rt. Rev. Willis R. Henton, first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western
Louisiana, restored the chapel and parish hall, making Mount Olivet the Bishop’s
chapel and Diocesan Center. “I very much believe in preserving history,” said Bishop Henton. “You’ve got to touch base with your history or you’re not going to plan wisely for the future -- or understand the present.”
In subsequent years the chapel experienced the ravages of age and fell into a great
state of disrepair. The third bishop of the diocese, the Rt. Rev. D. Bruce MacPherson, concerned with the preservation of this historic site, brought about the complete restoration of the chapel and renovation of Diocesan House. This endeavour has enabled both buildings to be accessible to all. Once again, Mount Olivet Chapel and Diocesan House, stand as visible links to the early roots of the Episcopal Church in Louisiana, a tribute to the spiritual journeys of the past.