PILOT POINT, Texas — Along the side of a rural road north of Dallas, in between the farm and ranch land on the outskirts of Pilot Point, drivers are regularly hitting the brakes these days for a double-take at the twisted little chapel that stands out among the fields.
We’re talking twisted literally.
“We wanted to create something super memorable, out of the norm,” Elizabeth Jones said as she walked alongside the winding brass-colored rails that lead to the front door of the chapel.
The whole building looks as though it’s leaning to the left while the bell tower on top counters, leaning the other way. The windows each sit crooked on the sidewalls, and even the bell in the tower veers in its own direction.
Chris Duncan stood back admiring the building he built from the ground up himself, with absolute attention to detail. You have to show that kind of attention to make something like this chapel stay standing.
“Framing it was probably the toughest because every board is different. It’s constantly changing, so you can’t just figure out the angles on one board,” Duncan said.
It’s safe to say the architecture — inspired by a mix of Tim Burton, Dr. Seuss and other unique stories — is a bit different for the small Denton County community it sits in, but Jones and Duncan, the owners and creators of the chapel, say so are they.
“Not everybody is as wacky as we are,” Jones said with a laugh.
While Duncan moved to the area from Oklahoma, Jones said she’s lived in Pilot Point for about 28 years and wanted to do more with the couple’s unique art to bring some new attention to her small community. They decided to open a bed-and-breakfast atop a small event center to do that and completed most of the work to get going early last year. They named the place Lizzy Gator after an old nickname Jones had received years earlier.
Then, COVID-19 hit.
Like everyone else in the event and hospitality business, the couple’s plans had to be put on hold, but their artwork didn’t stop on the property.
“The entire time of ‘the plague,’ this is all we did,” Jones said, showing off the unique mix of steampunk, modern and other inspirations that decorate the event center.
The couple created a large metal angel at the gates of Lizzy Gator, a model ‘electric chair’ inside the events center to entertain visitors. Still, the largest undertaking was that twisted little chapel.
After about two months of work, Duncan said they built what passers-by see today, though he’s still working on finishing the interior. Jones said the chapel quickly became a mini-tourist attraction once word got out, and she said their neighbors seemed to enjoy the unique attention grabber at the edge of town too.
“I think the world is hungry for something new,” Jones said. “Everything we do is about love and happiness and bringing beauty.”
Despite the delta variant slowing things down again, the couple said they’ve already held several weddings at the chapel throughout the summer and had become a regular location for several events. Sure, they say the alternative look and presentation of their place won’t be for everyone, but they hope it’ll be a dream come true for others.
“There are a lot of people that love the arts or something different or unique, so those are my people,” Jones said.