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Another trip to the North Carolina beach of Corolla with our family is over and we all survived Tropical Storm Arthur.
This reporter was a little apprehensive about the approaching storm at first but when other vacationers were “battening down the hatches,” I decided that we would, too!
Word quickly spread on TV and from others to secure all outside chairs or to bring them inside the rental homes. Anything that could blow around like pool toys, trashcans, etc. were secured and we set in for a night of wind and pouring rain.
Actually, a thunderstorm that passed through during the next week was just as rough. The lightning was keen and the thunder was loud with severe winds above us at Virginia Beach.
Many vacationers head to Nags Head but our crew turns left at Rt. 12 and drives north another 20 miles to Corolla and the four-wheel beaches of Carova. We’ve never found shells in that direction but the beaches are wider and smoother and the waves aren’t as rough.
This year we attended church services at the Corolla Chapel that was originally built in 1885. This chapel is one of Corolla’s most treasured historic buildings tucked away behind the Currituck lighthouse. Two carpenters built the original one-room chapel with a seating capacity of 100. This chapel was in the Baptist Conference from 1885 to 1938.
Circuit-riding preachers served the chapel and could only arrive by boat. Due to the difficulty in getting to the Outer Banks, the preachers stopped coming regularly in 1938.
The property was listed to be sold on a tax sale as abandoned property in 1962. John W. Austin protested and was given the property deed with the stipulation that he had to pay taxes as long as there was no schedule of services. The chapel eventually fell into disuse. In the early 1980’s a variety of groups came to minister at the chapel for a few weeks each summer but none stayed.
In 1987, Pastor John Strauss and his wife, Ruth, came to the Corolla Chapel during the summer season. At the urging of local parishioners, Pastor John and his wife started a year-round service in 1988.
Since that time the chapel has been re-dedicated, an addition built in 1992, and in 2002, the old chapel was expanded and moved across the street and affixed to new construction forming a cruciform. This chapel is beautiful and is also a popular destination for weddings.
A Fellowship Hall was completed in 2007 and a twin structure, an Educational Center, is in future plans. The plans envisioned to accommodate the area’s growth are coming along nicely. Included in the vision was a beautiful stained glass window designed and commissioned by Pastor Strauss to honor his late wife, Ruth. The window features a large pelican feeding her young and is quite lovely.
Pastor Strauss retired at the end of 2007 and installed Rick Griffis as his successor on January 6, 2008. Pastor Griffis still serves as the minister and conducted a very inspiring service. If any of our readers get down that way, please visit the Corolla Chapel. Interdenominational services are held year-round.