By Marjorie Woodfin
Pilot staff writer
The stonework has been completed and the beams are going up on the Capella by the Sea being built in Azalea Park by Elmo Williams in loving memory of his wife Lorraine.
Williams said this week, "I'm hoping, praying and guessing that it will be completed by the end of September."
The dream of building this place of rest and solitude first came to Williams and his wife when they found a few quiet and peaceful moments of respite in a similar little chapel in Eureka Springs, Ark., during a busy trip.
Unfortunately, Lorraine succumbed to cancer before they were able to complete their plans and set them into motion. But, Williams was determined to fulfill the dream he and his wife had shared.
The original sanctuary that inspired the couple's dream was designed by Fay Jones of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Plans for the Azalea Park Capella were designed by architects David McKee and Maurice Jennings from the same Arkansas architectural firm.
Williams said he is pleased that the capella, begun in 2006, is now in the final stages of putting up the massive beams.
"It's a very complex affair," he said. "None of the lumber is long enough to go to the full height and must be laminated together, all notched. It has to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle."
Viewing the architectural drawings, it is easy to understand that contractor Paul Viale and his crew have a challenge putting the jigsaw puzzle together.
Williams was quoted in the early stages of planning, "According to the National Institute of Health, 46 percent of American adults have health problems directly related to stress."
At that time he said that his desire to build the capella was influenced by his hope that, "it will provide a quiet place where those of all ages and all beliefs can meditate and find solutions to their problems."