Monday, October 01, 2007

The smallest church in 48 states

Along Route 219, in Silver Lake, WV, southeast of Kingwood (pop. 2,944), you’ll find "Our Lady of The Pines," promoted on old postcards and signs as the "Smallest Church in 48 States." It boasts seating for 12, with six pews. The church is always open. You may have to buy your postcards on the honor system, since it’s not always staffed. The yellow-stone sanctuary, 24 ft. x 12 ft. (16 x 11 on the inside), was built by Lithuanian immigrant Peter Milkint in 1958. (Both Hawaii and Alaska became states in 1959).

Our Lady of the Pines, smallest church in 48 statesJust beside the little church is the smallest post office - 26716. A sign inside the post office reads: "The mail is picked up daily. Window service every Friday the 13th. Parcel post February 29th."

And down in Crestview Hills, KY there's a tiny chapel called Monte Casino at Thomas More College. The chapel measures 6 ft. x 9 ft. -- the ceiling inside is eight feet high. It was built in 1878 at a nearby monastery by a couple of Benedictine monks, and named in 1922 by Ripley's Believe It or Not as "Smallest Church in the World." The monks subsequently left the area, the chapel was abandoned and vandalized, then rescued and moved in 1965 to the college campus. After a restoration, the Monte Casino Chapel was dedicated in 1971.

When all is said and done, however, both these churches fall short of their claims to smallness: both tower over the truly tiny 3.5-by-6-foot Cross Island Chapel in Oneida, NY. It holds three and seats two.


Originally blogged at Appalachian History

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