Eureka Springs, Arkansas is home to the breathtaking, glass enclosed Thorncrown Chapel. The chapel rises forty-eight feet into the Ozark Mountains and consists of 425 windows and over 6,000 square feet of glass. The inspiration behind the building of the Thorncrown Chapel came from Jim Reed, a retired school teacher and a native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The land was originally purchased to build his retirement home but he decided to construct a place of worship and rest for travelers heading to the Ozark Hills. The Thorncrown Chapel is a must-see attraction on your next trip to Eureka Springs.
Construction began in March of 1979 with architect E. Fay Jones helping to fulfill Reed’s vision. Midway through the project, funds for the chapel began to run low and the project looked as if it would go unfinished as Reed was unable to raise the money to complete the project. A turning point in the project came when Reed visited the unfinished chapel for what he thought would be the last time. He found himself kneeling on the chapel floor praying. Within days of this encounter, all of the money needed to complete construction became available. On July 10, 1980, the Thorncrown Chapel opened its doors. Winning numerous architectural awards and featured in such publications as Time and Newsweek, it’s no wonder the chapel has seen more than six million visitors since its opening back in 1980. Because the chapel is not funded by a foundation, the chapel relies on donations to remain open.
The chapel is open to the public for a variety of services. Sunday church services are held April through October at 9:00am and 11:00am with music and a biblical teaching. The service lasts for one hour and is non-denominational. Church groups are also encouraged to host retreats and events at the chapel. While visiting, church groups will hear a brief history of the Thorncrown and be treated to an inspirational song led by one of the chapel musicians. Reservations are not required but the chapel closes early for special events and weddings especially on the weekends. The Thorncrown will be closed all Saturdays in the month of November.
Brides and grooms can also choose to have their wedding at the Thorncrown Chapel or accompanying larger area known as the Thorncrown Worship Center. The Thorncrown has been hosting weddings for the past 30 years and has become the leading choice among couples in Arkansas. Because of the open design, couples and guests can enjoy both the feeling of the outdoors plus the comforts of air conditioned indoors at the same time. A minister and chapel host are available on site to help with the ceremony portion of the day. For more information on the facilities and prices offered for weddings click here.
It’s a beautiful time of year to visit Eureka Springs. Come enjoy the holiday season with us here at Arsenic and Old Lace. Let us pamper you during your stay in one of our five guest suites. We’ll even treat you to a gourmet breakfast in the morning to ensure your day gets off to a great start. Rooms are booking up quickly. Get your reservation in today to ensure your perfect room.
Photo courtesy of Nathan Hughes Hamilton