“Enter, Rest and Pray” are simple instructions to travelers, as indicated on the front of the Little Roadside Chapel near Salome, Arizona.
It was once commonplace for churches to keep their doors open for travelers. Now few churches remain open for visitors. And also becoming extinct are the tiny, rural, roadside chapels, which frequently could be found along American back roads or “blue” highways. These provided rest to the weary traveler, inspiration to the lost, and a simple shelter from the storm.
Until a few months ago, Arizona had at least two of these tiny chapels. This past September a severe microburst destroyed a tiny roadside chapel near Yuma. But the Little Roadside Chapel still stands along Salome Road, just southeast of Salome. Built in 2004 by Paul and Lora Marks, as a place for travelers to rest and reflect, the Little Roadside Chapel was modeled after the one near Yuma.
“It was always a dream of my husband’s,” said Lora Marks. “He wanted to have a place for travelers… to stop, pray, meditate.”
The Little Roadside Chapel holds about a dozen people, not large enough for Sunday services, but it’s ample room for a family making their way west or a couple coming back to Arizona for the winter. Only one or two visitors stop during the summer months and several more each day throughout the year. Fortunately, neither storms nor vandals have damaged the Little Roadside Chapel and Mrs. Marks said there’s only been one incident of theft.
“The truckers love it,” she said, “you’d be amazed how many stop to rest and pray.” She added that it’s a favorite stop for those truck drivers making the drive to Parker, Arizona.
More locations of roadside chapels can be found on roadsideamerica.com