Historic and beautiful, the Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church rests on a sloping mountainside in the Ozark Mountains in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Standing in the parking lot of the Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church, I can look down the tiered mountainside and see the entire church and grounds. Looking up and behind me I see the historic, famous and notoriously haunted Crescent Hotel looming over the valley.
At the edge of the parking lot stands the Bell Tower. A statue of St. Elizabeth of Hungary greets you as you enter the tower.
Highlighted in “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” this unique feature belongs to the only church where visitors must enter through the Bell Tower.
Pass through the bell tower and follow the 100′ path to the entrance of the Catholic Church. Native rock lines the path on both sides. Notice the 14 stations of the cross represented in sculptures carved from Italian marble. Flowering shrubs, small trees, and manicured flower beds add color to your walk to the front of the church.
Built by Richard Kerens, the St. Elizabeth Church pays tribute to his mother, Elizabeth. The Rotunda, with its crowning dome reminiscent of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, was built in 1904. Then, the Sanctuary was added to the back of the Rotunda in 1907. And finally, the detached Bell Tower was added to the church in 1910.
There’s a tradition held by the locals that if you make a wish and toss a coin onto the red roof of the church, and the coin stays on the roof your wish will come true. If not . . . better luck next time.
To visit the Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church is free and open to the public. Enter respectfully, slip onto a bench in the quiet sanctuary and say a quick prayer, remember loved ones, or contemplate your blessings.