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4.5
186 votes

Thorncrown Chapel

12968 Highway 62 W, Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632 USA

Free
Free to Visit
Closed Now
Opens Fri 9a
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards not Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
Add to Trip

“a breathtaking woodland sanctuary”

Nestled in a woodland setting, Thorncrown Chapel rises forty-eight feet into the Ozark sky. This magnificent wooden structure contains 425 windows and over 6,000 square feet of glass. It sits atop over 100 tons of native stone and colored flagstone, making it blend perfectly with its setting. The chapel's simple design and majestic beauty combine to make it what critics have called "one of the finest religious spaces of modern times."

Thorncrown was the dream of Jim Reed, a native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. In 1971 Jim purchased the land which is now the site of the chapel to build his retirement home. However, other people admired his location and would often stop at his property to gain a better view of the beautiful Ozark hills. Instead of fencing them out, Jim decided to invite them in. One day while walking up the hill to his house, the idea came to him that he and his wife should build a glass chapel in the woods to give wayfarers a place to relax in an inspiring way.

Shortly thereafter Jim met E. Fay Jones, a professor at the university of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Much to Jim's surprise, Jones was quick to accept the proposal to design the chapel. On March 23, 1979 the construction crew broke ground on the mountain side. Jim's dream looked like it would soon be a reality.

However, half way through the project, funds began to run out. Soon the building process ground to a halt. In his own words, it looked like Jim had made "...the biggest mistake of my life." He desperately tried to raise the necessary funds to complete his dream, but all of his efforts failed.

Finally, one evening Jim took what he thought would be one last walk down to his half-finished chapel. He would take one last look and never return. Then the unexpected happened

He said, "I am not proud of the fact, but the first time I ever got down on my knees was on the chapel floor. I prayed more seriously than ever before. All the trials and tribulations gave me the humility to get on my knees."

This was a turning point in Jim's life and in the construction of the chapel. In a few short days all the money Jim needed was made available. On July 10, 1980 Thorncrown Chapel opened. Since then over six million people have visited this little chapel on the hillside. Thorncrown has won numerous architectural awards. It has been featured on television programs such as NBC Nightly News and the 700 Club. Almost every major magazine in the country has carried a story about the chapel including Time, Newsweek, and Parade.

Thorncrown Chapel is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. It is located on Highway 62 West three miles outside of Eureka Springs. There is no admission fee, but donations are accepted. Every tour group will receive a presentation telling the story of the chapel followed by an inspirational song by one of the Thorncrown musicians. There is ample parking for buses and RVs. So, while in the Ozarks, stop by what many have called one of the most beautiful and inspiring chapels in the world. It will be a visit you will not soon forget.

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Reviewed by
SteveandJaimeroadtrip

  • Road Warrior
  • 52 Reviews
  • 50 Helpful
September 24, 2014

Do NOT miss this! Even an atheist would have to leave feeling peaceful and touched! definitely go during one of the services, it is memorable. The same lady has been singing there for years and she starts in the back of the room acapella and you think it must be recorded because it sounds so angelic but as she walks to the front you will discover it is her! It blows my mind how clear the glass is it is just like sitting in the forest but with air conditioning. so so stunning!

5 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
laurenbedford

  • 3 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
June 15, 2014

This was worth going out of our way to see! It is beautiful!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
LarryB1800

  • 4 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
July 11, 2014

My wife and I visited the chapel in June 2014. It is a very beautiful and inspiring place!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
JanetBoie

  • 11 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
October 1, 2016

Loved this! I wish I could have been there on a Sunday to attend a service there. Very peaceful.

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Reviewed by
TuckeredOutTravels

  • 18 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
September 27, 2016

This church was absolutely beautiful. Great place for a short stop to have a look around and stretch your legs. Go have a seat and clear your mind for a few before you head down the road.

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Reviewed by
juswas

  • 11 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
September 9, 2016

Worth a look

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Reviewed by
BriKMoritz

  • 3 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
March 21, 2016

Very beautiful site, built by one of Frank Lloyd Wright's students! I'm in love with the architecture and how peaceful the landscape is. I'd definitely love to come out here for a wedding or service sometime!

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Reviewed by
miss_hamiltot

  • 3 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
January 2, 2016

Beautiful and worth the stop. This church is placed in such a serene setting.

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Reviewed by
karen.b.nichols

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
July 6, 2015

A beautiful place! Could sit there all day!

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Reviewed by
uniquely.you.94

  • 25 Reviews
  • 6 Helpful
July 4, 2015

Beautiful and peaceful. It is a unique building and worth a visit if you are in the area. The walk up to the chapel is just as wonderful and the chapel itself. You walk on a paved path up to the church. It is shaded by many large trees and in the hot summer the shade feels refreshing. It's free to visit. You can also make a donation if you wish.

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Thorncrown Chapel

12968 Highway 62 W
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
72632 USA

Hours

Closed Now
  • Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Is there a problem with this listing? Let us know.

  • Independent
  • Credit Cards not Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Public Restrooms
  • No Wifi
  • Private Parking
  • Free Parking

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