Historic Places of Worship

Stories of 51 Extraordinary American Religious Sites Since 1300


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About the Book

In St. Augustine, Florida, stands the replicated Mission Nombre de Dios, with a 208-foot stainless steel cross marking the site of the first known Catholic mass celebrated in Florida in 1620. In Montgomery, Alabama, the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church is known to many as the birthplace of the civil rights movement. Newport, Rhode Island’s Touro Synagogue, dedicated in 1763, urged new leaders Washington and Jefferson to form a government “which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” From the Anasazi kivas of Colorado built in the 1300s to the Peace Chapel constructed in 1970 on the Canadian border, this work examines the roots of 51 sites throughout the United States. Each entry provides background on the place of worship and its founders along with its location and religious affiliation. Sites include those devoted to Indian or Native American, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Baha’i, and other beliefs.

About the Author(s)

Paul D. Buchanan is a social worker, a counselor, an historian, and a freelance writer. He has contributed to a weekly local history column for the The Daily Journal in San Mateo, California.

Bibliographic Details

Paul D. Buchanan

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: 51 photos, references, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [1999]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7378-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Introduction      1

The Anasazi Kivas FOUR CORNERS, SOUTHWEST      5
Pu‘uhonua o Ho -naunau HAWAII      7
Mission Nombre de Dios FLORIDA      10
Center Church (Hartford Meeting House) CONNECTICUT      15
Paha Sapa SOUTH DAKOTA      18
Holy Trinity (“Old Swedes Church”) DELAWARE      22
St. Anne’s Shrine VERMONT      26
Tumacacori Mission and Tubac Presidio ARIZONA      30
Friends’ Great Meeting House RHODE ISLAND      36
First Meeting House RHODE ISLAND      40
Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo) TEXAS      44
Christ Church (The Old North Church) MASSACHUSETTS      48
St. Louis Cathedral LOUISIANA      52
First Parish Church MAINE      58
St. John’s Church VIRGINIA      62
Prince William’s Parish Church and Sheldon Church SOUTH CAROLINA       66
Touro Synagogue RHODE ISLAND      70
Niskayuna NEW YORK      74
Cane Ridge Meeting House KENTUCKY      77
Mother Bethel Church PENNSYLVANIA      81
Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad CALIFORNIA      86
Mother Seton House MARYLAND      90
Society of Christian Unitarians PENNSYLVANIA      95
Harmonie Village INDIANA      98
St. John’s at Lafayette Square (“Church of the Presidents”) DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA      103
El Santuario de Chimayo NEW MEXICO      115
St. Michael’s Cathedral ALASKA      118
Dwight Mission ARKANSAS      123
Oakland Chapel MISSISSIPPI      126
Kirtland Temple OHIO      130
Whitman Mission WASHINGTON      135
The Great Stone Church of Kawaiahao HAWAII      140
Wesleyan Chapel NEW YORK      145
Joss House Temple CALIFORNIA      149
Old Mission of the Sacred Heart IDAHO      153
Mission St. Ignatius MONTANA      157
Wabaunsee First Church of Christ (“Beecher Bible and Rifle Church”) KANSAS      162
St. Mary’s in the Mountains NEVADA      166
Bradford Congregational Church (“The Little BrownChurch in the Vale”) IOWA      170
St. Mark’s Church WYOMING      174
St. Philomena’s Church HAWAII      177
Zion Church NEBRASKA      181
St. Fidelis Church KANSAS      183
Andrews Church (The International Mother’s Day Shrine) WEST VIRGINIA      187
Alexanderwohl Mennonite Church KANSAS      190
Dexter Avenue Church ALABAMA      194
Bukkyo Seinen Kai CALIFORNIA      198
Temple of Islam, MICHIGAN      203
Baha’i House of Worship ILLINOIS      206
Annunciation Church WISCONSIN      209
Chapel of Peace, International Peace Garden NORTH DAKOTA–MANITOBA      214
Index      221

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Unique”—Library Journal
  • “Important…a useful resource”—Public Library Quarterly
  • “Look[s] at 51 places of worship that have influenced society and culture far beyond their immediate location. Individual entries tell the story of each place of worship, giving its background and significance in essays of 2,000 to 4,000 words”—ARBA
  • “Lively style of writing…extensive index…. This volume is unique for reference collections, because no other reference volume published within the past thirty years examines the buildings of America’s religions. It will be important to libraries with collections of religion, architecture, history, and art”—Reference & User Services Quarterly
  • “Provides a photograph, a historical essay, and a description of each church”—Theology Digest.