RESTORING A NORTH SIDE GEM The Chapel Shelter in Riverview Park closed in 2005, and funds were allocated for its demolition. With the help of the City and additional funders, the Parks Conservancy led an effort to return the once-popular building to a lively gathering place.
ABOUT THE CHAPEL SHELTER
The Chapel Shelter was built in 1894 as the Watson Presbyterian Church. After a new church was built, the shelter was moved from its original location at Perrysville and Riverview avenues to the interior of the park, where it became a popular destination for North Side residents and visitors to hold social events. Over time, however, the shelter began to lose its character as the steeple, along with the building’s dormers, was removed in the 1950s and a concrete porch was attached.
The Chapel Shelter had been closed since 2005, and funds were allocated for its demolition due to a termite infestation. In 2008, the help of the City and additional funders, the Parks Conservancy led an effort to return the once-popular building to a lively gathering place.
ABOUT THE RESTORATION
In 2005, City crews removed dilapidated tennis courts behind the building in preparation for seeding a new lawn area for informal socialization. The landscape had become dominated by invasive Siberian elms, which were shading out a century-old collection of lilacs. The invasive species were removed, and native trees and shrubs were installed.By June 2008, the building’s restoration was completed. The interior was gutted and rebuilt with termite-resistant materials. An updated kitchen was installed, the porch and the restrooms were made wheelchair-accessible, and utilities were buried to increase the beauty and safety of the area. The new building otherwise looks very much like it did when it was first moved into the park, with a steeple, dormers, and charming color scheme. The Riverview Park Chapel Shelter is now the most rented shelter in the city.