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.
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.
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.
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.