Old Towne Grove Chapel

Next door to our garden is the quarter-scale prairie chapel built by my father.  Before it was completed, couples began asking to be married in its diminutive interior.  Old Towne Grove Chapel has hosted over 2,000 weddings since its construction.  Because it holds barely twenty people, most ceremonies actually take place in its garden, but the chapel is still the centerpiece.

Although Old Towne Grove is charming in all seasons, Spring is the best.  When the crabapple trees in the front garden blossom, they permeate the air with intense fragrance.  The trees adorn the entrance like marshmallow pink pompoms, standing sentinel.  Peeping out of the pastel drift is the sturdy gazebo, as popular for the “I do’s” as the chapel interior.  When the weather is warm, who wouldn’t want to bond with the blossoms, on the outside rather than “in.” 

My father did not intend to create a retirement business in building his chapel; it was a folly…a whimsical idea to re-create the church where his maternal grandfather was pastor.  Building a church one-fourth the size of the original just created something so adorable, others want to rent it for their own life-changing events. 

 

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About Sharon L. Clemens

Sharon and husband Merle and their children owned and operated a specialty shop and restaurant in a restored dairy barn for thirteen years in a village in Illinois. After closing their restaurant, they converted the barn into the family home and moved their shop to the garden level. They operated a collectable shop as a home-based business for another thirteen years before retiring to the country life. Sharon has been a special feature guest on the local NBC telelvision affiliate and has spoken professionally on topics relating to herb gardening and cottage lifestyle. In addition to conducting workshops and programs, Sharon writes a weekly cottage lifestyle e-newsletter called “Cottage Chat” and a Word Press blog: Seasons of Farm Grove. She has written five novels, The Younger Girl, Door County Cottage, Timeless-A Door County Love Story, Door County Cabin and Door County Escape, love stories with traditional values set in Door County, Wisconsin.
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13 Responses to Old Towne Grove Chapel

  1. Sharon L. Clemens says:

    Kelly,

    You may call Mr. Erwin E. Towne, the owner/operator of Old Towne Grove Wedding Chapels, by calling 309-387-6375. He can provide information on rental fees and services available for either chapel. You can also make an appointment to see both chapels.

    Mr. Towne no longer provides rental space for wedding receptions. However, many couples have their wedding at Old Towne Grove before going to another location for a reception. Groveland is centrally located between Pekin, East Peoria/Peoria, and Morton, Illinois. These municipalities offer a broad selection of reception options.

    Old Towne Grove Chapel is open to the public from morning to dusk, unless previously rented. Saturdays are the most popular time for rentals. It is located on Springfield Road in the heart of Groveland, Illinois. Garden Grove Chapel, the larger facility, is open by appointment only.

  2. Elysa Harris says:

    Sharon,

    I heard about the Old Towne Grove Chapel through a friend and then found your blog through google. The garden gazebo sounds beautiful! I was wondering, when are the trees usually in bloom? How late do they bloom? I am planning my wedding for this spring/summer and would love to have a wedding there when the trees are flowering. I called the number you gave on your blog and will hopefully be visiting sometime this week.

    my email is: elysamarie47@gmail.com

    Thank you!

    Elysa

  3. Sharon L. Clemens says:

    Elysa,

    My father is the real authority on the Old Towne Grove Chapel as he is owner/operator–however, as his daughter and next-door neighbor to both Dad and the Chapel, I can answer your comment to the best of my ability.

    When the crabapples bloom, it is usually mid-May–and they are beautiful for about 2 weeks. In the summer, Dad plants annuals in the beds flanking the brick walk to the chapel front door, so there is color all season.

    When you come to see the chapel, stop by our shop in the lower level of the Farm Grove barn and tell me who you are so we can meet in person. We are open Tues. thru Sat., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.–or knock at the front door.

    Best from the Barn @ Farm Grove Collectables,
    Sharon

  4. Sharon L. Clemens says:

    Trevor and Jen

    Congratulations!

  5. Megan Vollmer says:

    I have heard several great things about the Old Towne Grove Chapel. I am currently searching for an outdoor venue to get married at next spring or summer.
    I was just curious about how much the rental fee is for the gardens? do you provide chairs? if so how much?

    my email is mnvollmer1@aol.com

    thank you

    • Sharon L. Clemens says:

      Megan,
      With our daughter’s wedding June 5 at the Old Towne Grove Chapel, I have been unable to keep up with my blog and did not access your comment until now! So sorry! My father is the one you need to contact for any information regarding the two chapels. Call Erwin Towne @ 309.387.6375.

      Thanks for your interest.

      Best,
      Sharon

  6. Linda Hartzler says:

    Sharon,

    Is your shop still open at the barn? I took a couple of classes with you several years ago and so enjoyed your farm. I will be at the tea room in Mackinaw with some friends on Sept. 21 and would like to stop by to see the chapel and your shop if you are still open. Please advise. Thanks. Linda Hartzler

    • Sharon L. Clemens says:

      Linda,

      Our shop closed three years ago, but the Old Towne Grove Chapel is open to the public. It is the quarter-scale replica of a prairie church on my father’s property behind our now barn home.

      May I also suggest a visit to the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard, just east of Mackinaw on Route 9. It has great vistas of the valley from their wrap-around porch and patio and a pavilion by the pond. Also try the specialty shops in the old depot in Tremont or Main Street in Morton.

      Have fun!

  7. I would like to stop by and take a look at your cute chapel soon. My fiance and I are very very low on funds and are getting married and would like to not be married at a courthouse. My plan is for our parents and best man and maid of honor to have a small ceremony at a tiny cute venue so that we can have cute pics to show for the day afterwards at your chapel. We wouldn’t be long or have very many people. Approximately what would be your charge? I live in Pekin and my email address is live42day722@yahoo.com. Please contact me. I would also need to find somebody to marry us. Do you have any people that you use? Thanks so much! I am thinking this November.

    • Sharon L. Clemens says:

      Chris,
      Call my father, the owner and manager of the chapels, for answers to all your questions. Erwin Towne, 309-387-6652. He does have pastors who marry people at the chapels.

      Congratulations,
      Sharon

  8. Sonya says:

    My husband and I got married in the chapel with Erwin. We had a beautiful wedding. I was so pleased with how easy it was to set everything up and how reasonable it was. Erwin is so sweet and he made our ceremony so memorable for my husband, myself, and our close family. We had a photographer at the chapel as well as one maid of honor, us, an usher, one best man and 12 of our closest family members present. It was perfect to fit in the chapel. It was small enough to make it personal and large enough to where our grandparents were still comfortable. It was beautiful in my pictures. We were married on 9-9-11 and people in our family still rave about how much they loved our wedding. I am so blessed to have had Erwin and his beautiful chapel. It made for memories that we will always and forever cherish.

  9. How many people can fit into the chapel?

    • Sharon L. Clemens says:

      Cindy,
      The small chapel holds about 20. It is a 1/4 scale replica of a traditional prairie chapel. Garden Grove chapel is a larger facility that can accomodate up to 90. Please contact owner Erwin Towne for further information on availability. Phone 309-387-6375.
      Thanks for your interest!
      Sharon

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