BUILT during Canada’s Centennial year in 1967 by members of the Terrace Christian Reformed Church, the tiny chapel at Usk east of Terrace on Hwy16 will be rededicated during this year’s 150th anniversary of the country.
The rededication takes place noon July 2 followed by a barbecue hosted by the church and featuring a large cake.
The chapel’s history goes back to 1965 when after the Terrace Christian Reformed Church finished its current church on the corner of Sparks and Straume, church members had more energy and some extra money to work on a new project.
That sparked suggestions to consider a chapel at Usk to replace a church named after the Reverend Thomas Marsh which was located on the north side of the Skeena River and damaged during flooding in 1936 and again in 1948.
One house was saved from being swept down river during one of the floods when it came to rest against the original church.
A table that was set up in the original church had a large hardbound Bible resting on top that escaped damages. As the 1936 flood waters rose inside the church the table began to float, keeping the Bible safe and dry.
The inspiration for the chapel came from George Heimstra and it was Len VanderKwaak who proposed the small scale of 12 feet by 18 feet.
The chapel was built on the spare lot beside the VanderKwaak home on Sparks Street and moved by trailer to its present site. The steeple needed to be attached once it arrived because of the height.
The chapel now sits on land donated by Bill and Helene McRae near the old Adam’s sawmill.
The chapel was moved on deck trailer by Doc’s Cartage and Storage, now known as Bandstra Transportation Systems.
Since placed at Usk, the chapel has maintained an open door policy and is available to the public for no charge. There has been many weddings at the chapel and stacks of guest books have names of visitors from around the world.
The chapel has been maintained by members of the Terrace Christian Reformed Church with some support of the local residents of Usk.
It has withstood its own challenges – about 10 years ago, in a violent wind storm, a couple of large trees came down and rested on the slope of the roof with just minor damages to the chapel.
Information for the above courtesy of the Terrace Christian Reformed Church and the Terrace Public Library.