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New Starring Role Seen for Tybee Island Movie Chapel

By Ted Carter
SBJ Staff


Feb 8, 2010 - Tybee businesswoman Stacye C. Jarrell is planning an encore role for the circa 1908 chapel that figures prominently in the upcoming Miley Cyrus movie, “The Last Song.”

She became the owner of the movie set chapel after the city of Tybee and the Tybee Historical Society turned down Disney’s offer to donate it. Jarrell sees the building, a replica of an early 20th century Baptist church, as just the place for weddings and community functions. She’s willing to spend more than $750,000 to make it happen.

“We should be ready to have a wedding in August,” Jarrell said a day after the Jan. 14 Tybee Council approval of her site plans for the project.

Jarrell has plenty of work ahead before  the first chord of “Here Comes the Bride” is heard inside the chapel.
Task one is to remove the roof which Disney did not build to code since the moviemaker did not intend the building to be permanent. That work must be followed by the moving of the 1,800-square-foot wooden structure from its current site at the corner of 6th Avenue and 13th Street to 1112 & 1114  U.S. Highway 80.

At its new home, the building will be elevated eight feet above ground. A parking area is to be build below it, Jarrell said.

Workers will put the roof’s original boards and beams back into place and be reinforced to meet building codes, Jarrell said. “It’s got enormous beams. Disney had them custom built” for the 20-foot high interior of the building, she added.
A front porch of about 1,000 square feet will be built. Leading to it will be a pair of tree-lined circular Victorian stairways, according to Jarrell.

“It will be beautiful” with the tree pattern matching the semi-circle of the stairs, she said.

The porch itself will have a live oak come up through it. The idea was to preserve the tree, she said. “Something had to give and it turned out to be the porch.”

The building will be furthered expanded with the addition of a rear kitchen, bathrooms, a bride’s changing room and a groom’s room.

The chapel won’t be limited to life as a weddings venue. It will also serve as a place for social gatherings, meetings, art exhibits, bingo games and other events, said Jarrell, who as owner of Oceanfront Cottage Rentals manages 88 properties on Tybee.

But weddings and vow renewals will be its main function.

In the Miley Cyrus movie scheduled to open in April, a funeral takes place in the church. Further, the church is where the Cyrus character’s piano virtuoso father learned to play the piano as a child.

“The star of the movie is the church,” Jarrell said.

“Just think how many young girls are going to want to get married in the Miley Cyrus church.”

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