My Hidden Text

LADUE CHAPEL HISTORY

Celebrating our Past – Building for the Future

In 1940 and 1941 a few families gathered in private homes in the area to hold Sunday School. The first steps toward the building and congregation of Ladue Chapel as we know them today were very slow.

In 1941 Mr. and Mrs. Woodson K. Woods circulated the first petition, which was presented to the Presbytery in December of 1942, requesting the establishment of a church in some convenient location in the Ladue area. By May 1943, the core group of families began to “borrow” the chapel at Mary Institute on Warson Road. One member recalls Sunday School in the gymnasium surrounded by mountains of equipment.

In September 1943, the Executive Committee (Boyle Rodes, George Weber, Jr., Minard MacCarthy, C. A. Brandon, Woodson K. Woods, Jr., Robert Rodgers and Carl Bacon) petitioned the Presbytery of St. Louis to organize. They set an optimistic budget of $11,060.00 for the first year and notified the residents of Ladue of the opening of a community church to be founded under Presbyterian government. The Organization Service held at Mary Institute on November 7, 1943, boasted an attendance of 151 charter members and a Sunday School enrollment of 121. W. Davidson McDowell was installed as pastor, and Ladue Chapel was officially launched.

At the same time, the first Elders were elected. They were Woodson K. Woods, Jr., Dr. Ivan C. Nicholas, C. A. Brandon, Enno D. Winius, R. Wesley Mellow and George E. Mellow (Clerk). The elected Board of Deacons were Martin E. Galt, Jr., W. B. Whitton, Jr., George A. Griffin, Frank A. Hunter, Jr., James H. Woods, Robert B. Rodgers, Melchior A. Wagner and Carl M. Bacon.

The new congregation searched for a building site and, in September of 1944, purchased the former home of U. S. Senator George H. Williams, located on more than four acres of land on Clayton Road in Ladue. On the property stood three buildings, including the fourteen-room home which would be the Chapel House, a five-room cottage and four-car garage (Carriage House). The Chapel House served as a parish center for all weekday activities and meetings, as well as church offices, pastors’ studies and quarters for the associate pastor and custodian.

Before the building and grounds could be occupied, however, a Work Day was held to clear the overgrowth and clean the house. This was followed by a picnic supper served by the Women’s Association.

The enthusiasm to build a church was frustrated by wartime restrictions and shortages. Construction of the Sanctuary, Fellowship Hall and the first portion of the Educational Building could not begin until August 1948. The only bank to consider Ladue Chapel for a loan was St. Louis County Bank! Their faith paid off in January 1968. Surrounded by a group of early and charter members, Trustee President Donald Bryant happily put the torch to the last remaining note of indebtededness on Ladue Chapel.

In October 1948, the cornerstone for the Sanctuary was laid. Its contents included:
• Book of Common Worship
• Charter Membership of Ladue Chapel
• Roll of Present Members
• Minutes of the Congregational Meeting of Ladue Chapel called by the Commission of the Presbytery of St. Louis
• Report of Missionary Council of Federation
• Articles of Association of Ladue Chapel
• Names of Building Planning Committee
• Names of Building Committee
• Front page of newspaper dated October 3,1948
• Church School enrollment as of September 30,1948
• Program of Women’s Association for 1948-49