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, where he lives.

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.