Smallest Church in America

Horseshoe Run

West Virginia

June 2011

There are quite a number of smallest churches in the United States of America.  One such mini-church, which bills itself as the “Smallest Church in the Lower 48,” is on route 219 in the unincorporated community of Horseshoe Run in West Virginia.  It’s on our way to the high point of Maryland.

You enter this little ecclesiastical building through the standard size doorway and sign the register as you cross the threshold.  Behold six two-seater pews, one kid-size cross hanging up front, the stations of the cross and three and a half religious-themed stained glass windows on each side of the building.

This little house o’ worship was built in 1958 by Elizabeth and Peter Milkint to honor their parents.  At the time, Elizabeth called it the “Smallest Church in 48 States.”  A memorial statue stands in front of the churchlet on the well-maintained grounds where flowers bloom in season.  There’s even a little bell in the little bell tower.

Behind this small church, named “Our Lady of the Pines,” is a building which is billed as the “Smallest Post Office in the Lower 48.”  It isn’t.  On the inside is a shuttered service window, several post office cubbyholes, a writing shelf and postcards you may buy on the honor system.  It is all quite dear.

Over there, on the side of the mowed lawn, is a little pond.  Coins are scattered on the bottom.  Small denominations.

Nearby on the grounds is a wishing well.  I wonder if people make a wish, toss their coin toward the well but miss, and then the coins end up in the pond.  If folks have such bad aim, do the wishes go to the wrong person?

In this place, you might get the urge to sing I Say a Little Prayer, a little ditty written for Dionne Warwick by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  Being raised in a deeply religious family, it is possible that Ms Warwick attended services in this little church.  Probably not.

However, since we are on a high-pointing trip, it is only fair to say that Dionne Warwick is five feet, seven inches tall.  At the top of her head is the high point of Dionne Warwick.

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