Thorncrown Chapel, nestled in the woods just outside of Eureka Springs, on Highway 62 West, is an architectural marvel of glass and natural materials that will spark the adoration and fascination of any visitor, no matter their beliefs (or lack thereof).
An angled structure of glass and wood rising up a magnificent forty-eight feet into the Ozark sky, the woodland sanctuary of Thorncrown Chapel draws both the penitent and the secular with its majestic beauty.
Built in 1980, Thorncrown Chapel was designed by world renowned architect and apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright, E. Fay Jones. It is composed of all organic materials, with the only steel in the structure being the diamond shaped patterns in its wooden trusses. In fact, Fay designed the structure around the requirement that no structural element used could be bigger than what two men could carry in through the woods.
Thorncrown Chapel rests on top of over 100 tons of native stone and colored flagstone, and has 425 windows – over 6,000 square feet of glass – all of which help this simple yet stunning design merge beautifully into the lush, natural setting of Ozark woods. One can be forgiven for thinking that they’re looking at an open air pavilion when, in fact, Thorncrown Chapel is a completely enclosed, conditioned space.
The undeniable magnificence that is Thorncrown Chapel netted E. Fay Jones the 1981 American Institute of Architects National Honor Award and was listed in the American Institute of Architectsâ€™ top ten buildings of the 20th century.
Commissioned by retired schoolteacher Jim Reed, who initially bought the property for his retirement home then realized he wanted to share the lush beauty of the plot, Thorncrown Chapel has attracted well over six million people since its opening. Non-denominational Sunday services are held April through October, with limited services in November and December.
Sight-seeing visitors enjoy similar access – March through December – and, though there is no charge to visit, donations are accepted. If you’re in the area, you owe it to yourself to stop by and marvel at this “Ozark Gothic.”
12968 US-62, Eureka Springs, AR
For hours, images, and more details, be sure to visit the Thorncrown Chapel website at: www.thorncrown.com
Thorncrown Chapel Lodging
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