If you’re traveling through Nebraska, the Precious Moments chapel is certain to be a welcome distraction from interstate riding. The chapel is enchanting, the store is overwhelming with its choices of purchases, including the little angels on motorcycles. This year is the 35th anniversary. It all started with a man who had a vision to share love and life’s unforgettable moments with the world. Creator, Sam Butcher began drawing the endearing tear drop children as gifts for family and friends.
In the early 1970s, Sam and a friend, Bill Biel, started a small company to produce his Precious Moments art on a line of cards and posters, calling their company Jonathan & David. They took their goods to the annual Christian Booksellers Association Convention in Anaheim and their tiny booth was filled with enthusiastic retailers wanting to order the new line. The crowd became so large that neighboring vendors came over to help the two young men write orders.
Shortly thereafter, Sam was approached by Enesco Corporation to develop a three-dimensional figurine based on his artwork titled “Love One Another.” Sam was so overwhelmed when he saw the first porcelain sample that he fell to his knees and wept. It was the beginning of a phenomenon for both Sam and the gift industry.
By the end of 1978, the first twenty-one original Precious Moments figurines were introduced to the market. The response to the collection was incredible. People began to write to Sam, telling him about how the Precious Moments figurines had touched their lives in a moving and heartfelt way. In less than a year after their introduction, demand was overwhelming. The success of the Precious Moments figurines was amazing, yet Sam never lost touch with his original purpose to create art which combined his heartfelt emotions with his abiding faith.
The collection is now well over 1,500 pieces with new introductions offered each year. Members of collector’s clubs continue to be found throughout the world. Even more telling, since its opening in 1989, Precious Moments Park in Carthage, Missouri has welcomed approximately 400,000 visitors every year.
In 2005, a new chapter in the Precious Moments story began, as the collection “came home” to join the rest of the Precious Moments family at Precious Moments, Incorporated. No other collection has touched as many hearts as Precious Moments, and no other group of individuals has the same love and passion for this product line as the team at Precious Moments, Inc.
The Precious Moments Park and Chapel is located in Carthage, Missouri. That’s right in the middle of the U.S.A. in a part of the country known as The Ozarks. They welcome guests from all over the world to the property every day. We visited over the Christmas holidays and wondered, why we had passed up this opportunity many times before, since it is just a few miles off the interstate and easily accessible.
Precious Moments Park and Chapel
4321 S Chapel Road
Carthage, MO 64836