In 1844, Richard and Mallie Lloyd-Jones and their seven children left rural Wales seeking religious freedom and opportunity in America. Unitarians by belief, farmers by occupation, their hardships were the hardships of many immigrants. One child died on the rigorous route to Wisconsin. Four more children, American-born, joined the clan. In the mid-1860's the Lloyd-Joneses settled in rural Wyoming Valley, Wisconsin, to work, worship, and struggle towards the American dream.
Two decades later, a subscription was taken to build this small family chapel next to "the Grove", the shaded area where they had celebrated services and gatherings since settling the Valley.
Completed in 1886, Unity Chapel combined the talents of famed Chicago architect, Joseph Lyman Silsbee, and a "young boy architect of the family (who) looked after its interior." That "boy architect" was Frank Lloyd Wright.
The chapel became a worship center, community meeting house, sometimes-school, and magnet for family, neighbors and friends. Around it stretches the family graveyard.
Many of the sons and daughters of Richard and Mallie became farmers in the surrounding valley. Others became known more broadly. "Uncle Jenk" became the Reverend Jenkin Lloyd-Jones of All Souls Church, Chicago. He founded the nearby Tower Hill summer retreat, and brought to this remote rural chapel many preachers, rabbis, and monks of diverse faiths to share their beliefs and inspirations.
In 1887 sisters Jane and Ellen Lloyd-Jones created Hillside Home School on the original homestead site of Richard and Mallie. They called upon their "boy architect" nephew to build its Home Building, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's first commissions. A decade later he built the "Romeo and Juliet" windmill, and, in 1902-03, his stone schoolhouse, which still retains the "Hillside" name and is central to many current Frank Lloyd Wright activities. Of the many structures on that early Hillside Home School campus, only the stone school house and Romeo and Juliet windmill remain.
Unity Chapel, meanwhile, carries on--with weddings, family gatherings, funerals, musical programs, community gatherings and summer services.
You are welcome to enjoy the quiet...wander the graves...reflect.