Established in the 1970’s
The Victorian Valley Chapel is a community space that welcomes all genders, denominations and ethnic backgrounds.
The Victorian Valley Chapel was built in the 1960's by the Bangs family. Intending to create a small Victorian village in the valley, the family constructed the church first for their daughter's wedding. As time went on, circumstances changed, and only the chapel and a small house on the hill were completed.
In 1986, the entire valley, including the chapel, was sold to another family and summer weddings were started as a way to support the upkeep of the chapel. Soon afterwards, Susan Osborn began her famous candlelit Christmas concerts in the chapel; five nights of celebration and song. They have continued for 24 years.
In the mid nineties, the the small Victorian home on the hill was transformed into a Bed & Breakfast. Weddings in the chapel continued. During our first visit to Orcas Island, our family learned that the chapel was for sale. How could we resist? From Los Angeles, we longed to return again and again to the quiet valley.
Finally in 2004 we retired to Orcas Island to care for the chapel and build a home on a hill looking down on the chapel.
Much of the chapel is old. The stained glass windows and pews were salvaged from an old church in Anacortes. The ceiling beams were fashioned after Swedish church beams and build by a craftsman on the island. The cross is a copy of a Welsh Celtic cross and adds to the non-denominational feel of the chapel. The chapel has not been changed from it's original design except for the addition of electricity for heating- we were tired of crawling under the building to turn on the propane! Everyone still lights their weddings with candles. We have only 15 weddings a year, to cover the maintenance, so your wedding is a special one to us.
The chapel sits in the valley as if it has a life of its own. It has seen homeowners meetings, yoga classes, concerts, memorials, christenings, picnics, gypsy weddings, elopements, grand weddings, and small intimate family weddings. One of our sons was married there in 2011 and one of our daughters in the garden, in 2012. It has never had its own minister or pastor but rather lends itself to quiet contemplation for all.
The doors are always left open to carry the gentle message that she (the Chapel) belongs to everyone.
We feel privileged to care for its gracious environment amidst the surrounding deer, birds, berries and geese.
Please come visit anytime!
- The Smith Family.