DAGSBORO — A noteworthy piece of history built several decades before the Revolutionary War is set to reopen its doors to the public following a 16-month closure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prince George’s Chapel, a Dagsboro relic that stands off Ward and Chapel lanes, will welcome the public for monthly tours, beginning Sunday from 1-4:30 p.m.
“It wasn’t worth even trying to open it up with all the restrictions and everything. So we’ve had it shut down,” said Brian Baull, president of Friends of Prince George’s Chapel, the nonprofit organization that serves as caretaker for the chapel and events there.
Free tours are planned for the fourth Sunday of each month, said Mr. Baull, who is also the town’s mayor.
“Tours are free and open to the public. Obviously, we’ll take donations … to help support the Friends,” said Mr. Baull.
During the extended shutdown, Friends members periodically checked on the renowned chapel — which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 — especially during cold weather.
With construction beginning in 1755, Prince George’s Chapel had its beginnings as an Anglican chapel of ease, serving the northern outlying area of Worcester Parish, Maryland. During the reorganization of the Episcopal Church following the American Revolution, the chapel became an independent church in the Diocese of Delaware.
In 1757, when completed, the chapel was received by the vestry, dedicated and named Prince George’s Chapel after England’s Prince George (later George III of the United Kingdom).
Deeded to the state of Delaware in 1967, it was restored and reopened as a museum.
The chapel’s most prominent feature is its graceful, barrel-vaulted ceiling of natural, unadorned heart-of-pine planks. The nave section remains as the original 18th-century portion. The east transept end, with its spectacular window and octagonal high pulpit, has been reconstructed.
The chapel property is owned by the state, which has a lease agreement with the town of Dagsboro and Friends of Prince George’s Chapel.
“We maintain it. We open it for tours,” said Mr. Baull. “If we have major issues, like if a door breaks or things like that, we contact (the state), and they send a maintenance person down to do repairs. And the town actually owns the cemetery out front.”
For a fee, the chapel is available as a venue for weddings and other events.
Traditionally, Prince George’s Chapel has hosted its Olde Christmas event each January. But those festivities were not held in 2021 due to the pandemic and state of emergency.
Friends of Prince George’s Chapel membership is about 100, of which a smaller number actively participates in meetings, tours and events.
“We’re looking for new members,” said Mr. Baull. “We’d like to have some new people come out and attend meetings and help out at events and everything."
Anyone interested in joining the Friends or planning an event at the chapel may call 732-6835 or Mr. Baull at 604-8372 or visit the group’s Facebook page.