Thorncrown Chapel

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Thorncrown Chapel
Thorncrown Chapel.jpg
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Nearest city Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Coordinates 36°24′59″N93°46′22″W / 36.41639°N 93.77278°W / 36.41639; -93.77278 Coordinates: 36°24′59″N93°46′22″W / 36.41639°N 93.77278°W / 36.41639; -93.77278
Area7.6 acres (3.1 ha)
Built1980 (1980)
Architect E. Fay Jones
Architectural styleModern
MPS Arkansas Designs of E. Fay Jones MPS AD
NRHP reference No. 97000452 [1]
Added to NRHPApril 28, 2000

Thorncrown Chapel is a chapel located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, designed by E. Fay Jones and constructed in 1980. The design recalls the Prairie School of architecture popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright, with whom Jones had apprenticed. The chapel was commissioned by Jim Reed, a retired schoolteacher. Jones' goal with the building was to make it a pilgrimage chapel set apart in the landscape for meditation. The design of Thorncrown Chapel was inspired by the Sainte-Chapelle, a gothic church in Paris containing many windows and different types of glass to allow more light into the structure. These same methods were utilized in the design of Thorncrown Chapel.


Thorncrown was included in Budget Travel's "12 Most Beautiful Churches in America" [2] and Bored Panda's "50 Most Extraordinary Churches Of The World." [3] and was selected for the 2006 Twenty-five Year Award by the American Institute of Architects as well as receiving its listing in 2000 on the National Register of Historic Places, [1] a status not granted to buildings fewer than fifty years old unless exceptionally significant. [4]

Structure and status

Interior 09-02-06-ThorncrownChapel1.jpg

Constructed mostly of wood and other materials indigenous to northwestern Arkansas, the design minimized material transportation costs. The architects only used materials that two people could carry (i.e., 2×4s, 2×6s, and 2×12s of Southern pine wood). Though it looks like an open-air structure, the chapel is a glass-enclosed, air-conditioned space. They enlarged the ornamental skylight to provide natural lighting throughout the chapel.

In 2013, the Southwest Power Company (SWEPCO) submitted and subsequently withdrew an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility, [5] requesting permission to construct a high voltage transmission line adjacent to the chapel. [6] [7] [8]

See also

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  1. 1 2 "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. "12 Most Beautiful Churches in America". 21 January 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  3. "50 Most Extraordinary Churches of the World" . Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  4. "How to Apply the National Register Criteria for Evaluation," (PDF), National Register Bulletins, National Park Service, 6. Accessed 2009-12-06.
  5. "Online public suggestions". Arkansas Public Service Commission. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  6. Meier, Allison (2 May 2013). "Thorncrown Chapel's Ozarks oasis under threat" . Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  7. Christopher (7 May 2013). "Thorncrown Chapel under threat". This is Colossal. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  8. "Order" (PDF). Arkansas Public Service Commission. Retrieved 1 December 2019.

Further reading