Thorncrown Chapel

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Thorncrown Chapel
Thorncrown Chapel.jpg
Thorncrown Chapel is located in Arkansas
Thorncrown Chapel
Thorncrown Chapel is located in the United States
Thorncrown Chapel
Nearest cityEureka Springs, Arkansas
Coordinates36°24′59″N 93°46′22″W / 36.41639°N 93.77278°W / 36.41639; -93.77278Coordinates: 36°24′59″N 93°46′22″W / 36.41639°N 93.77278°W / 36.41639; -93.77278
Area7.6 acres (3.1 ha)
Built1980 (1980)
ArchitectE. Fay Jones
Architectural styleModern
MPSArkansas 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 Thorncrown Chapel was designed off of The Sainte Chappelle (a gothic church in Paris), a very tall structure containing many windows and different types of glass to show more light into the structure. These same methods were used in the 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[edit]


Constructed mostly of wood and other materials indigenous to northwestern Arkansas, the design minimized material transportation costs. They used materials no bigger than what two people could carry (i.e., 2x4s, 2x6s, and 2x12s of Southern pine wood). Though it looks like an open-air structure, the chapel is a glass-enclosed, air-conditioned space. They enlarged the skylight to have a natural ornamentation lighting effect throughout the chapel.

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "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 (2013-05-02). "Thorncrown Chapel's Ozarks Oasis Under Threat". Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  7. ^ Christopher (2013-05-07). "Thorncrown Chapel Under Threat". Colossal. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  8. ^ "Order" (PDF). ARKANSAS PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION. Retrieved 1 December 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Charles K. Gandee. (March 1981) "A Wayfarer's Chapel By Fay Jones", Architectural Record. Vol 169 Number 3. pp. 86–91
  • Paul Heyer. (1993) American Architecture: Ideas and Ideologies in the Late Twentieth Century. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, pp. 102–103. ISBN 0-442-01328-0

External links[edit]