Decorating A Country Chapel for Christmas

Old Towne Grove Chapel, Groveland, Illinois

Old Towne Grove Chapel, Groveland, Illinois

The Old Towne Grove Chapel is located in the village of Groveland, Central Illinois.  It is patterned after a chapel on the historic register near Chicago and is similar in architecture to early 1800’s churches in our area.  The chapel was built to one-quarter scale of traditional churches on the prairie.  The small chapel is surrounded by crabapple, pussy willow, fruit and gingko trees.  A towering blue spruce is just out of camera shot to the right.

Chapel Interior - Antique European Stained Glass Window

Chapel Interior – Antique European Stained Glass Window

Entering the small foyer, the eye is drawn to the antique stained glass window from a European church.  The altar is hand-crafted walnut and crowned by a cross also crafted by the chapel’s builder and owner Erwin E. Towne.   An antique oak pump organ to the right of the altar has been restored and when played, fills the space with nostalgic chords that remind visitors of childhood Christmas programs and summer revivals.

Broader Interior View

Broader Interior View

Five walnut pews sit on either side of the center aisle.  Each pew holds two to three people.  The two chapels on the property are popular for weddings; over two thousand couples have been married in the small chapel, the larger Garden Grove Chapel and chapel gardens. 

The chapel is privately owned and maintained.  As a family we assist my father, Erwin Towne, with care of the grounds.  For Christmas, a wrought iron cluster of pillar candles sits in a wreath of greens and poinsettias on the alter.  Two large poinsettia wreaths flank the window and fresh greens top the organ.  Garland wraps around the porch pillars accented by a decorated vine wreath on either side.  A boxwood wreath with tartan ribbon and lights hangs from the lamp post next to the bell in the garden.  White lights decorate the crab apple tree next to the chapel. 

Old Towne Grove Chapel is open to the public for visits.  To book the chapels for groups, weddings or events, contact manager Dirk Clemens – 309-264-8479.  Add a visit to the tiny chapel in Groveland to your holiday list and experience an atmosphere of what Christmas is all about.



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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