New wedding chapel near Gainesboro offers unique ceremony, quaint setting
Monday, Aug 1, 2011
This is the chapel located in Gainesboro that was built by hand and is now available for weddings. (Photo by Greg Little)
Because we’re going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married
Going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married
Gee, I really love you and we’re gonna get married
Going to the chapel of love
The Chapel of Love
Written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector in 1964
When people look for a “different” kind of place to get married, many choose Las Vegas or maybe a favorite place like a mountaintop in East Tennessee.
What most people in this area probably don’t know is there is a unique wedding chapel located in the heart of the Upper Cumberland.
It’s called The Chapel at Rosewood and is located just south of Gainesboro and right off of Highway 56.
Owner Glenn Jones said he was inspired to build the chapel — as well as beautiful grounds which include four fountains, one 13-feet tall — for a rather odd reason.
“The way the land was, there was so much grass to mow,” says Jones, partly serious.
Actually, he said one of the central reasons was “because the yard was so pretty and people were already getting married in the yard.”
Yet that yard wasn’t always in place. In fact, when Jones bought the 50 acres in 1989, it was nothing but woods and some steep terrain.
First there was the matter of building a house. Jones himself built the entire house, which is two stories and features an inside balcony and historic game room, from the ground up. After the house, he decided to beautify the grounds.
Jones first had to clear quite a bit of wooded land. Then he tore out a hill and turned it into what is essentially the side yard of the house. Large sidewalks (big enough for a limo), a unique trellis and fountains were added by Jones to that part of the yard. By 1999, he began work on the chapel.
Because he has a full-time job working as the archivist and curator of veteran’s halls in both Jackson and Putnam counties, the chapel took a long time to complete. In fact, it wasn’t until earlier this year that the chapel was given the final touches of carpeting and some antique paintings. The first wedding inside the chapel took place in April of this year.
Inside the building there are church pews which he obtained from an abandoned church in Jackson County. There is a working organ and piano. The window frames are from the Watertown Church of Christ and are more than 100 years old. Jones purchased stained glass for all of the windows. The chapel also has a steeple which came from the Lebanon Methodist Church.
He also constructed a balcony at the rear of the church which allows for excellent photography angles as well as overflow seating. He said for the one wedding they had, 200 people fit into the chapel, some standing.
But don’t think the ever-energetic Jones is going to stop there. As he jokes, Jones decided to build a “lean-to” on the side of the house. Well, it’s certainly not your typical lean-to. In fact, it’s a huge two-story edition which will house a kitchen, ballroom, dining room and reception area on the top with antique furniture perfect for wedding photography. He has two weddings booked for August and hopes to have at least some of it done by that time.
“People have to eat,” said Jones of his reasoning for building the reception hall to complement the chapel.
What may be one of the most incredible aspects of this entire project is the fact Jones has no construction background.
“I helped build a friend’s house once and thought, ‘this is easy,’ so I started building stuff,” he said.
For many people, that might mean a shed or deck, but not for Jones.
Jones said he might get his ambition from growing up in Double Springs on a farm. His parents owned that farm and his grandmother had a farm in Clay County.
“Gainesboro is right in the middle,” he said, reasoning that’s why he chose to purchase the land on top of Hail Hollow.
In fact, even that is an interesting story. When he purchased the land, an adjacent landowner had a dispute with Jones over whose property the road which is the driveway to the home is located. Jones went to county officials and they formally settled the dispute by giving the road a name — Glenn Jones Road. That apparently riled the adjacent landowner and Jones said the road sign was stolen. It stayed that way for 15 years until he finally got it back — after a death.
“True story,” he says.
Along that road into the grounds there’s a fairly large building with an antique Texaco sign hanging just like it’s a gas station.
“I have collected signs and gas pumps for years,” said Jones.
Jones said he will eventually finish that building and make it look like an old store and filling station. Eventually, he said, persons could have receptions in the general store.
What’s interesting about the chapel, the house and everything Jones has built is that he goes for the “clean, historical look. I like the look of an old house and the good smell of a new house.”
That’s why he has antique furniture for photo opportunities along with sharp new wood which lines the entire ceiling of the wedding chapel.
He’s also making plans to construct a large waterfall on the property where people could choose to wed.
The goal is to make it a full-service wedding offering. He said for many traditional weddings, the parents of the bride and groom may spend days or even a week preparing a place for the ceremony and reception. Jones said with the way the chapel has been constructed and furnished, none of that is necessary. Everything will be ready and persons simply have to come to the location and tie the knot. They’ll even arrange the catering, music and anything else needed for the wedding.
“We are trying to be cost effective,” said Jones.
So far, Jones said people who have been to the grounds are “all surprised” about how it looks, saying it’s a perfect spot for a wedding. Jones has even gone so far as to have grave markers along one side of the chapel to simulate a cemetery, something very typical at rural chapels.
Overall, Jones said he is pleased with how the chapel and grounds have turned out and said he will continue to work toward completing the entire project.
“It’s not even finished yet,” said Jones.
Some might say it may never be finished because Jones is constantly coming up with new ideas and challenges to make it even better.If you would like more information about The Chapel at Rosewood, you can call him at 931-268-2293. So far, he doesn’t have a website but said that will likely happen in the near future.