Alaska Chapel - Soldotna, Kenai Peninsula
By: Courtney Dowd-Stanley
This tiny Alaska chapel proves that sometimes (even in the largest state in the nation), bigger isn’t always better. Located on Alaska’s magnificent Kenai Peninsula, is this tiny little church off the side of the Kenai Spur Highway. Inside you’ll (physically) find nothing more than three church pews with enough bibles to go around. But spiritually, visitors here are quick to realize that there is so much more than what first meets the eye. [caption id="attachment_8828" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Courtney Dowd-Stanley[/caption]
Head to Soldotna, known as Alaska’s Kenai River City, and home to an annual population of roughly 4,400 residents. As you come into town heading south from Anchorage, veer right at the ‘Y’ intersection where the Sterling Highway meets the Kenai Spur Highway. Continue down the highway for 3 miles, before turning right into the parking lot of Trinity Christian Center (directly across from Peninsula Powersports). [caption id="attachment_8830" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Courtney Dowd-Stanley[/caption]
The first thing that will likely catch your eye is the large dome structure at the back of the parking lot, which is the main place of worship for Trinity Christian Center. The tiny little chapel (that just might be the most unique in the world) is tucked off in an unassuming manner on the front left side of the lot. As the story goes, this tiny chapel (managed by Trinity Christian Center) was built so that local residents could have 24/7 access to God, as the larger church was only set to be open for limited weekly hours. It was originally intended to be open around the clock, going back to the old fashioned idea that churches should be left unlocked. [caption id="attachment_8829" align="aligncenter" width="768"] Courtney Dowd-Stanley[/caption]
A group of us decided to go check it out and see what all the fuss was about. As we pulled into the parking lot, we were instantly impressed by the charming chapel. The tall windows with triangular shaped glass at the top added an immense amount of character to such a tiny little structure. Other noticeable features include the rustic adornments, fragrant flowers, beautiful white-rock pathway, and a towering steeple on top. [caption id="attachment_8826" align="aligncenter" width="768"] Courtney Dowd-Stanley[/caption]
We turned the doorknob, and to our surprise, it was actually locked! Bummer, of course, but we still enjoyed peering inside from the chapel’s many windows. We counted over 10 windows in total, which let in an immense amount of sunshine from above and made the space appear much larger than it actually is. We have a feeling that all the natural light also keeps this place quite toasty. The inside was immaculate and very well organized, with nothing more than three church pews equipped with plenty of song books and bibles to go around. [caption id="attachment_8827" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Courtney Dowd-Stanley[/caption]
Alaska is filled with lots of historic chapels and unique churches, although it’s hard to deny that this tiny locale is one of the most unique in the world. What is the most unique Alaska chapel that you’ve ever visited in the Last Frontier? We’d love to hear about your experiences below.
Looking for more where that came from? You'll love learning about El Capitan Cave, Alaska's largest aboveground cave that will give you an enchanting middle-earth type of experience. You might also enjoy reading about the isolated places in Alaska where you can actually view Russia from your doorstep. This historic read on Portage - The Sunken Alaska Ghost Town That Nature Is Reclaiming is also quite interesting.
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Written by Courtney Dowd-Stanley
The door is always unlocked, but it needs a hard turn to open it. Sorry you were not able to get in. But thanks for the shout out!!!
Thank you for sharing I Enjoyed this Historical Church Adventure of yours. I loved how they set the corners of the Church on the one Church, Very Unique Indeed.