Ruth Memorial Chapel hits 100-year mark

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The charming white chapel that lends historical ambiance to the downtown district has hit the century mark.

Ruth Memorial Chapel, which stands proudly on the south side of Mainstreet near Victorian Drive, is a landmark unlike any other in the Town of Parker. It’s among the few structures that have survived the modernization of the downtown area.

Town officials and longtime residents are preparing to mark its 100th anniversary with a celebration from 10 a.m. to noon May 18. Carriage rides and live music from the early 20th century will help participants “travel back in time to 1913,” according to the public invitation.

Walking into the one-room chapel, visitors are met with a sense of nostalgia. Those who take a tour of the chapel during the May 18 event will note finely crafted windows, sturdy church pews and the echoes of their own footfalls.

The Parker Area Historical Society, which helps represent and protect historic structures, partnered with the town for the 100-year celebration.

Mike Mulligan, president of the historical society, says Ruth Memorial Chapel was the first church built in town. All previous services were held in residents’ homes. Dedicated in May 1913 as Ruth Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, the facility still hosts weddings and regular church services, with seating for 70.

It has undergone a few renovations over the years — most recently in 2004, when new exterior paint was applied and the hardwood floors were finished — but has managed to retain its historic charm. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. The Town of Parker bought the building in 1996.

A miniature replica of the chapel stands at Parker United Methodist Church’s current location at South Parker Road and Pine Drive.

Ruth Memorial was named after the daughter of Dr. Walter Heath, the man who donated part of the land and $1,000 toward the chapel’s construction. Ruth died at an early age, and Heath passed away before the church was completed.

For more information about Ruth Memorial Chapel, visit www.parkerhistory.org. To rent it for a special event, visit www.parkeronline.org or call 303-805-3365.

 

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