In its almost 50 years of existence, the chapel at Apacheland Movie Ranch has survived two fires and an explosion during a film shoot that blew off its steeple. Now, groups in Gold Canyon and Apache Junction want to make sure the Elvis Presley Memorial Chapel survives to remind future generations of Apacheland’s place in movie history.
The chapel from the famous Western film set has been donated to the Superstition Mountain Lost Dutchman Museum. It will be moved from the ranch, at 4369 S. Kings Ranch Road in Gold Canyon, and reconstructed on the museum grounds, said George Johnston, president of the Superstition Mountains Historical Society.
The chapel survived a fire earlier this year that destroyed most of the buildings at Apacheland. It also escaped one in 1969 that destroyed the movie studios at the ranch.
They were rebuilt by the community in 10 weeks. “We think Elvis has been watching out for it,” Johnston said. Johnston said it was during filming for Presley’s 1969 movie “Charro!” that the chapel’s steeple was blown off in an explosion. It was later repaired, he said.
Owner Sue Birmingham decided not to rebuild the ranch after the latest fire in February, and the property is being sold to a housing developer, she said. Estimates put the cost of moving and restoring the chapel and barn at about $35,000, Birmingham said.
On Sunday, the Philanthropic Ladies of Gold Canyon Red Hat Society is having cocktails, dinner and dancing at the ranch, with proceeds going to the chapel’s moving fund. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the Superstition Mountains Lost Dutchman Museum, the Gecko Express in Bashas’ Gold Canyon Center and Thunder Mountain Mercantile in Apache Junction and Gold Canyon.
Source: Google / Updated: Nov 8, 2004