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Metro Parks Newsroom


Historic chapel moving to Farnsley-Moremen Landing

Friday March 17, 2006

118-year-old chapel will get new life hosting weddings, special events


Route of chapel's moveA piece of history will find a new home on the grounds of Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing on Sunday, March 19, when the Moremen Family Chapel is carefully moved more than a mile down the Greenbelt Highway. A public celebration takes place at the chapel’s current site, on the corner of Dixie Highway and Bethany Lane, at 1:00 p.m. that day.

Using a system of remote-controlled dollies, contractors will slowly move the 240-ton brick chapel from its home for the past 118 years to Riverside.  The move could take up to 8 hours, and the Greenbelt Highway will be temporarily closed from Dixie Highway to Ashby Lane from 12:30 pm until the move is completed.  In preparation for the journey, the chapel has already been removed from its original foundation.

At Riverside, the chapel will be placed on a new foundation at the north end of the 300-acre property, near the historic Aydelott-Rosenberger House, which was built in 1868 and purchased by Jefferson County to expand Riverside in 1997.  The Aydelott-Rosenberger House is a brick Italianate farm house which is on the National Register of Historic Places and part of the Riverside Historic Landmark District.

A master plan for the entire property calls for using the Aydelott-Rosenberger House – and the new chapel – for weddings, receptions and meetings.  A modern visitor’s center near the Farnsley-Moremen House hosts special events, but the historic home itself is used only for educational tours.

“Relocating the Moremen Family Chapel not only preserves a well-known building from the 1800s, but it gives us an opportunity to expand the offerings of the Farnsley-Moremen Landing as a significant public asset for the southwest part of our hometown,” said Mayor Jerry Abramson.  “I look forward to continuing our partnership with the Farnsley-Moremen board to restore the Aydelott-Rosenberger House and implement a site plan for the entire historic property.”

The chapel was built in 1888 on land donated by the Moremen family as a new home for the Bethany United Methodist Church.  Members of the Moremen family are still active in the church, and several of the old chapel’s stained glass windows are dedicated to family members.  When the congregation moved to a larger site at 6100 Moorman Road last year, they donated the old chapel to Riverside.

“I am delighted that the chapel is finally going to be moved,” said Martha Collett, a member of the Moremen family who is active at Bethany Methodist.  “I think Riverside is the perfect place for it."

Last year, Abramson and Metro Councilman Bob Henderson (D-14) included a $125,000 challenge grant in the city’s capital budget to relocate the chapel to Riverside.  The property’s non-profit operating board – Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing, Inc. – has raised matching funds, and Metro Parks has provided another $75,000 for expenses associated with the chapel’s new site at Riverside.

“The board is so excited that this phase of our Master Plan is now a reality,” said Reba Doutrick, chair of the property’s operating board. “We look forward to becoming an important destination for residents of Louisville Metro, the state of Kentucky and beyond.”

Edwards Moving and Rigging is transporting the chapel to its new home at Riverside.  Mac Construction prepared the chapel’s new foundation.

Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing, is a 300-acre historic farm site on the Ohio River, with an 1837 home as its centerpiece. For most of the 19th Century, an active riverboat landing on the farm allowed people traveling by river to stop to trade goods, to take on boilerwood for fuel, or to rest. Today, visitors to Riverside may tour the historic home and grounds, which include a reconstructed detached kitchen, ongoing archaeological excavations, a modern Visitors Center, gardens, and a landing for the Spirit of Jefferson riverboat.  Information is available at 502/935-6809 or www.riverside-landing.org.