Photo by Sue Tone.
Originally Published: July 16, 2017 5:50 a.m.
The renovation has taken a year, and the transformation is amazing. The dilapidated historic buildings on the corner of Carleton and Cortez streets, once known as Church on the Street and utilized as a homeless shelter, is now the Prescott Wedding Chapel and Event Center.
Owner Connie Cantelme renovated the three buildings at 105 W. Carleton to accommodate a trend toward small weddings and for other events such as renewal of vows, baptisms, or family gatherings.
She watched for years how this “important piece of Prescott history” became so run down that it turned into a hazardous place to live.
“As you know, it was a homeless shelter for men. It was neglected and the deferred maintenance became overwhelming for the residents,” she said. “It was an eyesore for the neighbors and a nuisance.”
When the owner of the property, which was not the Church on the Street organization, decided to sell in June 2016, she jumped at the chance to buy it.
The 1883 structure has always been a church of some sort, Cantelme said.
“The information I received from the Prescott Historical Preservation Office says it was first the Prescott Pilgrims Congregation, then later the Seventh Day Adventist Church. I was told by the former resident, that it was moved to that site in the late 1800s from the place where Sacred Heart currently resides,” she said. “They said that it was moved to the spot on Carleton by mules rolling it down the hill on logs.”
She hopes to verify this information with research through Sharlot Hall Museum archives, then place a historical plaque in front of the church and one in front of the house.
People with disabilities now can access the structures by way of a brick-paved corridor from the sidewalk on Carleton to a side entrance to the chapel. A large “bride’s room” bathroom also conforms to Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
In the bright white chapel area, eight restored original east- and west-facing windows let in sunlight. Yet the building’s sand brick construction retains cool temperatures in the summer heat, Cantelme said. Four large metal chandeliers hang from the ceiling.
Plans to leave a brick chimney unpatched to show the original brick work under layers of plaster provide an artsy focal point to a room at the back of the chapel.
The space between the chapel and the currently-rented home next door is lit and paved with bricks. This could be used to set up serving stations for food and coffee, and also provides wheelchair access to all three buildings.
Cantelme furnished the rental home, which will be vacant and available for wedding parties and event participants, through watching for tasteful furniture on Craigslist and antique stores — except for the brand new mattresses, she said, adding that she’s had several old doors made into sturdy tables.
Landscaped and paved, the patio area can seat 80 people for receptions. It is shaded by 4:30 in the afternoon, and has room for small bands or music groups.
The third structure is a small “mother-in-law’s” building built in 1910 that stands between the chapel and home and will be used as a “catering center.”
The wrought iron fencing around the property took five months to restore by hand. “I want it to last another 150 years,” Cantelme said.
She is working with Sharlot Hall Museum archives to locate original photos of the property and delve into research on previous owners and uses for the building. This is her eighth renovation of property in Prescott downtown historic neighborhoods.
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