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Friday, August 23, 2019


Illustration of Decker’s Chapel in the mid 20th-century
RIDGWAY, PA – In recent days, the Elk County Historical Society has received numerous calls and messages regarding the historic Decker’s Chapel in St. Marys. Several concerned citizens had spotted a “for sale” sign near the property and had mistakenly believed the chapel is for sale.

The chapel, which was built in the 1850s, came under the stewardship of the Knights of Columbus in 1955. It was the Knights who first added electricity to the building. In 1990, a descendant of the Decker family deeded ownership of the building to the Elk County Historical Society, who has cared for the space ever since.

“Decker’s Chapel is one of the oldest structures in Elk County and a crown jewel of the Historical Society’s collection.” Said Nancy Peterson, Elk County Historical Society Board President. “We are always so happy when the public brings things like this to our attention and we were just as surprised as everyone else that a ‘for sale’ sign seemed to appear nearby.”

The Historical Society has been unable to independently verify the location of the sign or identify the property that is for sale, but they wanted to reassure the public that the historic chapel is not for sale and will remain under the guardianship of the Elk County Historical Society.

The Elk County Historical Society completed a major renovation of Decker’s Chapel in 2016. The original stacked stone foundation was repaired and the floor reinforced to accommodate visitors in wheelchairs. The St. Marys landmark is open every day, year-round. Visitors are encouraged to visit this quiet place of prayer and reflection and sign the guest book, which has included pilgrims from around the globe.

About the Elk County Historical Society

The Elk County Historical Society is a nonprofit membership organization funded through donations and grants and governed by a 15-member Board of Directors. The Society has is 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The Society is funded in part by generous grants from Elk County and the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. The Society is a repository of artifacts that tell the rich story of Pennsylvania and pioneers and settlers who ventured into the vast wilds to help create America.

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