Nearly 50 years later, Sioux Center's tiny chapel standing tall - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Nearly 50 years later, Sioux Center's tiny chapel standing tall

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SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (KTIV) -

For decades, it's caused drivers to do a double take. It's a chapel so small, you wonder if you can even fit a bicycle inside of it.

Sioux Center's Wayside Chapel can hold a half dozen people, but it's stood tall, along Highway 75 for nearly 50 years.

"In America today, there's very little places left like this any more," said Darrel Wielenga of Bethel Christian Reformed Church.

"The size of it is the first thing that they're struck with," said Del Broek, a neighbor to the chapel. "They see a church, but it's the smallest thing they've ever seen."

As long as Wayside Chapel has been open, Del Broek and his wife Ann have lived just a small corn field away.

"It's in full view of our kitchen, it's in full view of our bedroom, where we sleep at night," said Broek.

Over the years, Broek has assumed responsibility for this chapel, performing tasks like mowing the grass and shoveling the snow.

"It is a constant effort on our part to keep it open in the winter time," said Del Broek.

But he's gotten some help keeping up the six person space. The chapel is open 24 hours a day and has even added heating and air conditioning throughout the years. Members of Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center often stop by to check on the inside and outside.

"It's not about the building. I think the building is a drawing card, but the building isn't going to do anything for them," said Wielenga.

The real attraction goes beyond the quaint architecture.

"A place they can get away, be by themselves, quite often in the quiet, where they meditate and be alone with their God," said Wielenga.

For the Broeks, every moment they can sit outside and see the light coming from the chapel is reassuring.

"Not much thought was given to the fact that it'd be there fifty years from now, but it is," said Broek.  

Broek's brother originally purchased that land in the 1960s and never suspected that it would still be going strong today. Upkeep costs are relatively low at the chapel.

Labor and supplies are frequently donated to keep the chapel up and running. A guest log book shows it's had visitors from all 50 states and several foreign countries as well.

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