Funds needed to paint, repair Ruff Chapel

Closing in on 150 years since its construction, Ridgeway residents look to restore The Ruff Chapel. | Barbara Ball

RIDGEWAY – Entering the Town of Ridgeway from Blythewood on Highway 21, one of the first buildings motorists see, on the left, is the Ruff Chapel, a one-room wooden structure with a bell tower built sometime in 1872 on land purchased by an ancestral uncle of Ridgeway brothers John and Dan Ruff.

In September of 1873, the land and building were presented to the Southern Methodist Conference. In 1986, the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, successor to the M.E.C. South, deeded title of the property to The Ruff Chapel Methodist Church Cemetery Association of Ridgeway.

Today the chapel is a landmark and a town treasure. To that end, a group of local citizens saw the need to provide for the renovation and restoration of the building. They also saw the need for ongoing repairs to keep the building usable for religious non-profit events within the town. The Association acquired a certificate of incorporation by the S.C. Secretary of State and, for the past 26 years, Ruff Chapel has been maintained through the generosity of residents, friends and visitors. Both John and Dan Ruff have held their weddings in the chapel and it has been used to raise funds for the library and other town organizations.

But the building has been in need of painting and some repair, especially on the bell tower for several years. More than $5,000 has been raised for painting the building but several thousand more dollars are needed to repair and paint the bell tower.

Anyone who would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the painting/repair of the chapel can send contributions to The Ruff Chapel Methodist church Cemetery Association, P. O. Box 187, Ridgeway, SC 29130. For more information, call John Ruff at 803-337-2000 or Dan Ruff at 803-338-8433