Gateway Design Studio, LLC Celebrates 200th Anniversary of the Old McKendree Chapel in Jackson, Missouri


The Old McKendree Chapel 200th Anniversary celebration took place on Sunday, September 22nd with a traditional worship service, along with dedications and remarks from community and church leaders. Photos and a brief article about the 200th Anniversary event are available through the Southeast Missourian newspaper and online at 

The Chapel and property have a significant historical story as the oldest standing chapel west of the Mississippi. Built in 1819, the chapel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Gateway Design Studio completed the master plan for the property renovation of the Old McKendree Chapel last year, working with Craig Milde, AIA at Design + Advice Architects as well as the City of Jackson, Missouri, the chapel’s property Trustees, and other church and community leaders.

GDS’ purpose for this project was to provide Site and Landscape Master Planning documents for the existing historic chapel and cemetery site located in Jackson, Missouri. The site currently has an existing chapel built in 1819, the Williams Cabin and natural spring, a building serving as the caretaker house, the cemetery grounds south of County Road 36, and other accessory buildings and improvements.

The Old McKendree Chapel Master Plan provided design recommendations and guidelines for the following program elements and improvements:

  • FUTURE FACILITIES – Plan for future Visitors Center for meeting space, restrooms, interpretive center; recommendations for dedication elements such as trees, plaques, donor pavers, benches, garden
  • ENTRANCE AND PARKING LOT IMPROVEMENTS – Plan for parking area for 150 vehicles also to include a bus turnaround at the future Visitor’s Center; planned entrance road improvement for bus access to future expanded parking area
  • OTHER BUILDINGS & STRUCTURES – Provide for additional picnic areas or a small pavilion with restroom for small gatherings, family events; and develop existing Williams Cabin as an interpretive museum displaying period items and relics of the early 1800’s era
  • HISTORIC PRESERVATION – Featuring the path of an historic railway that cuts through the site, future plans provide for additional preservation methods for chapel site such as the wagon stage area, natural spring and the Williams Cabin
  • SIGNAGE AND INFORMATION – Provide improvements to the entrance sign for better visibility; wayfinding plan for directional signs, parking, visitor welcome/rules for the property, map of the property; and additional interpretive signs for the natural spring, old railroad line, natural resources i.e. trees, woodland, creek-riparian habitat, preservation areas
  • TRAIL SYSTEM – Create a trail system that continues to cemetery and provides a good connection, establish a Native Wildflower Trail that ties into interpretive areas on the chapel site for walking tours and provide a Cemetery trail for walking tours, history, areas for reflection/meditation
  • ADA ACCESSIBILITY  Provide ADA access to existing chapel and restrooms, along with ADA designated parking
  • SITE FURNITURE AND ACCESSORIES – Recommendations for park benches for seating at key locations i.e. trail head, contemplative areas, restroom facility, drop off/parking area; provide for trash receptacles, a designated smoking station, bike racks and security bollards for restricted areas
  • NATURAL RESOURCE PRESERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT – Provide for preservation of Creek & Drainageways by creating a riparian habitat with erosion control, and preservation and enhancement of woodland wildlife habitat, and reserve and protect few remaining Liberty Trees that remain
  • LANDSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS AND BUFFERING – Provide for noise and visual buffering, enhancement of existing features on the property with native plants 
  • STORM WATER MANAGEMENT – Recommendations for flow control of tributary creeks with rock check dams; provide for mitigation of runoff from adjacent subdivision development with bio-swales, basins, plantings
  • LIGHTING AND SECURITY – Secure perimeter fencing around the historic chapel site, and a locked gate access to certain areas of the property for additional security; and additional lighting for chapel, Williams Cabin, entrance road access, parking lot
  • BUDGET AND FUNDING – Long-term plan for the Board to prioritize projects; recommendations for local grants, donations, supporters, and recommendations for short- and long-range funding mechanisms.    

For more information regarding the Gateway Design Studio, LLC and the Old McKendree Chapel Master Plan project, the public can contact Patrick Worzer at (314) 703-1800 or visit the company’s web site at


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