Saint Elizabeth's ChapelEureka Springs is featured in "Ripley's Believe it or Not" more than any other location on earth. One of the amazing unbelievable features found here by Robert Ripley is Saint Elizabeth's Chapel. It was built in 1904 by a man named Kerens in memoriam of his mom, named Elizabeth after the patron saint of Hungary. So what's the amazing part? You enter the church through the bell tower. At left is a photo of a couple of tourists doing just that.

I don't want to make trouble for the folks that publish tourist guides, and I don't want to make Robert Ripley out to be a liar; but the verbal description found in Ripley implies that you have to slide down the Bat Pole to go to church and that is clearly not the case, your honor. Here. Take a look at the chapel and bell tower from another angle. See? The bell tower is just built over the entrance to the grounds. It's not even attatched to the chapel. After you've "entered" the bell tower, you walk down a hundred foot sidewalk before you enter the chapel.Saint Elizabeth's Chapel from another angle

A visit to St. Elizabeth's doesn't cost anything, and it's a beautiful little piece of hybrid architecture cleverly nestled into difficult terrain, as is much of Eureka Springs. It's well worth the visit, a nice side-trip; but if you build your whole vacation around the chapel with the mistaken impression that beyond the doors holy water flows uphill, you might end up with the feeling you get when you've been tricked into a tent by a sideshow barker.

Mind you I don't fault the town or the church. I blame Robert Ripley and his clintonesque description of the facts.

Making a Wish and Tossing a coinHere's another angle. The bell tower is on the left. I think that red rooftop is the priest's residence. It was fenced off and marked "private." That sidewalk leads past icons depicting the stations of the cross and eventually to the actual entrance of the chapel. Those two girls facing the rooftop are tossing coins at it. Local tradition holds this to be a kind of wishing well. If your coin stays on the roof, your wish is granted. It's not as easy as it looks. Had I only retained the money that I threw at this roof, I could have granted my own wish of a club sandwich and cream soda.

Saint Elizabeth's Chapel is adjacent to the famous Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs. Easy to find at 30 Crescent Drive, phone 501-253-9853.


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