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Students stand with then-pastor Fr. Michael Egan before the St. Louis chapel on Clarksville Pike, Route 108 in 1953.
Students stand with then-pastor Fr. Michael Egan before the St. Louis chapel on Clarksville Pike, Route 108 in 1953. (Courtesy of St. Louis Catholic Church)

Where a kebab shop and nail salon now stand on Route 108 not long ago was farmland, and so was the rolling plain now dotted with single-family homes. In those days, Clarksville was synonymous with St. Louis Catholic Church, says Monsignor Joseph L. Luca: “There was nothing else here.”

The church was founded by poor farmers in the area, who built their first chapel, with a humble thatched roof, in 1855. That chapel still stands at the church’s cemetery down the road; it was restored after being used as a storage shed for many years.

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The chapel at St. Louis Catholic Church in Clarksville was built in 1889 and was recently restored after its bell stopped working.
The chapel at St. Louis Catholic Church in Clarksville was built in 1889 and was recently restored after its bell stopped working. (Christina Tkacik / Baltimore Sun)

In 1889, the farmers raised enough funds to build a grander, Gothic-style chapel, made of granite quarried nearby. That, too, needed some TLC in recent years.

The bell was fixed, the building’s blue interior walls were changed to white, with discreet stencils, restoring it to a more historically accurate character.

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Which makes the building great for baroque music. “The acoustics are just perfect,” said Heather Adelsberger, who plays the piano and organ for the church.

Quatrefoil trim was taken from the St. Louis gothic-style chapel bell tower during renovation.
Quatrefoil trim was taken from the St. Louis gothic-style chapel bell tower during renovation. (Christina Tkacik / Baltimore Sun)

Though a larger church has taken over for services, the rehabbed chapel is still used for weddings and funerals, and a regular free concert series with a performance Jan. 19.

Visit stlconcertseries.org for concert details.

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