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“The smallest Catholic church in 49 States” is in West Virginia

smallest church

NatalieMaynor | CC BY 2.0

V. M. Traverso - published on 05/25/20

Built in 1928, it is composed of a single altar with 12 one-seat pews, 

West Virginia is known by many for its stunning scenery immortalized in John Denver’s song “Country Roads.” But perhaps not many Catholics know that the southern state is home to what is considered “the smallest Catholic church of the 49 states.” 

Measuring 12×24 feet, the Lady of The Pines Catholic Church is found in Silver Lake, an unincorporated community in Preston County, West Virginia. During the end of the 1930s, Silver Lake began to attract vacationers looking to rent out cabins on the nearby man-made lake. A park and a campground were built in 1930, hosting activities like boating, swimming and picnicking. That’s when “the smallest church of America,” which at the time included 49 states, was born. Built as a family church, it hosts one tiny altar and 12 rows of one-seat pews. 

Today, the church has become a cultural landmark, featured on road signs and appearing on local postcards that can be sent through the Silver Lake mail office, appropriately considered “the smallest post office in the world.” 

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