Nestled under a thick canopy of sky-reaching southern pines and age-old oak trees, the Anthony Chapel
quietly beckons those in need of solitude and respite. Nearly six stories tall, the brilliantly designed structure complements the surrounding wooded landscape and offers views of the changing seasons with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and multiple skylights that encourage sunbeams to dance across the impressive flagstone floors.
Maurice Jennings, a prominent Arkansas draftsman from Fayetteville (AR), relied on his 25-years of experience working with nationally renowned design partner Fay Jones to create a truly awe-inspiring chapel that rivals the team’s most famous creation – Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, AR – named the 4th best design of the 20th Century by the American Institute of Architects. Even Jennings himself describes the Anthony Chapel as “the finest” of the more than twenty chapels he has designed around the country.
Typical of Jennings’ design philosophy, he brings the outdoors inside and secures it with an intricate, open-beam bracing system and massive pine columns. From the pews and wall sconces to the outdoor lighting fixtures, every element of the chapel blueprint was created by Jennings and his design teammate, David McKee, also a Fayetteville architect.
The 160-seat Anthony Chapel, the largest of the Jennings and McKee designed chapels, is the site of numerous events, including concerts, memorial and christening services, and approximately 175 weddings annually.
Southwest Arkansas timber magnate and former University of Arkansas Board of Trustees member John Ed Anthony and his wife Isabel, whose families have had a presence in Hot Springs for more than five generations, generously donated $1 million to the chapel project, which cost about $3.8 to construct.
The chapel is open during the Gardens’ regular operating hours for viewing, except for previously scheduled events. A sign along the chapel walkway notifies visitors when an event is in progress.