In early 1978, Howard & Donna with their two children moved to the property later to be called Chapel in the Pines. The property was not a working farm when purchased and needed a lot of work as all of the buildings were 75 years old. In the past 40 years, they have transformed the property into a fairy tale setting which continues to this day.
While Chapel in the Pines marks the happiest day in the lives of countless couples, For Howard & Donna, it marks their happiest years together. When Howard constructed the chapel in 1994, it was not intended to be a place of matrimony so much as it was a 30th wedding anniversary gift for Donna. Little by little, however, as Howard finished its last minute features, more and more couples showed up at the chapel steps in hopes of exchanging vows.
Although Donna initially dreamt up the idea behind the chapel, it was Howard who arranged construction so that the chapel’s completion would fall in time for their 30th anniversary on April 27. Practically all by himself in his moments of spare time he built the chapel from the ground up using materials from old churches and other torn down buildings. Transforming what once existed as the origins of a dairy farm into a new era of wedding bliss.
The first wedding debuted on March 4, 1994, a day after the chapel was completed and since then has hosted over 2000 ceremonies from all over the world. As Howard puts it, “ I may have built it and own it, but it belongs to all the couples who have used it for their nuptials”. No matter their accomplishments, the two insist Chapel in the Pines has always been and will always be about the people.