Hill Field Chapel and Memorial Park
Published May 15, 2007
Overlooking the northwest entrance to Hill Air Force Base, the original base chapel building is the centerpiece of Hill Aerospace Museum's Memorial Park. This beautiful Chapel and surrounding park are dedicated to the memory of the men and women of the United States military who served our country in war and in peacetime, at Hill Air Force Base and elsewhere around the world.
The Chapel was originally built in late 1942, renovated in 1945 following a major fire, and again remodeled in 1948. It was replaced by a new base Chapel in 1964, but continued to serve as an education building and additional office space until it was declared excess and scheduled for demolition in 1984.
Rather than see the old Chapel destroyed, the museum's supporting organization, the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah agreed to fund the relocation of the Chapel to the museum grounds and restore the structure back to its World War II configuration and appearance. When the renovated Chapel was rededicated in 1989 it became a permanent part of the museum's Memorial Park.
Today the Chapel houses the 384th Bomb Group Memorial Stained Glass Window, an exact duplicate of a memorial stained glass window donated by the 384th Bomb Group to the Parish Church of St. James the Apostle in the village of Grafton Underwood, near Kettering, England. (Hill Field was the parent base of Wendover Army Air Field in western Utah, where the 384th trained in 1943 in Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses for action in Europe in World War II. Grafton Underwood was near USAAF Station 106, home base of the 384th in the European theater of operations during the war.)
The Chapel belfry contains an inscribed bronze bell, an exact duplicate of which hangs in the Parish Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Kettering, England. Both bells were donated to their respective sanctuaries by the 384th Bomb Group, Inc. The Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah also maintains commemorative plaques in the Chapel as permanent memorials to individuals, groups, or organizations. Please contact the Foundation for more information on their plaque project.
The museum's Memorial Park surrounds the Chapel, covering several acres. It contains monuments placed by various organizations, such as the 5th Air Force, the 8th Air Force, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart. The placement of these memorials is also coordinated by the Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah.
Today the original Hill Field Chapel stands majestically on the museum grounds, retired from "active duty" as a religious facility, but still serving proudly. It is open for viewing every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11:00 AM until 3:00 PM. The museum's Plane Talk lectures are sometimes presented in the Chapel and certain museum functions are periodically held there. Private individuals and organizations sometimes rent the Chapel for weddings or memorial services.