On the backroads of West Virginia, a sign points to Our Lady of the Pines. Established in 1968 near Thomas, WV, this church claims to be the smallest church in 48 states. Blessings from your visit will bring peace of mind as you travel on down the mountain highway.
The community received its name from Silver Lake, a small man-made lake built in 1928 at the headwaters of the Youghiogheny River. Previously this town was known as Breedlove, the southern terminal at that time of the Preston Railroad.
This tiny memorial Roman Catholic church was constructed in 1958 by Mr. and Mrs. P.L. Milkint in honor of their parents. This small piece of beauty was built completely out of love. The delightful stone church contains stained glass windows and an historic bell in the tower.
Topped by a cross on its steeple, a second cross appears in the cement work of the sidewalk just outside the front door. On their well kept lawn, beautiful flowers surround a memorial statue in front of the church.
Mission priests come from time to time and hold mass in this little gem in the mountains. Many young couples have been married here as well. Often on a Sunday five to six hundred visitors leave here with a peaceful feeling.
Inside six pews can seat 12 worshippers. Outside measurements are 24′ X 12′, while inside measurements are 16′ X 11′. Even though the church claims to be the smallest church in the states, there are many other smallest churches listed around the country. If you know of a smaller church, please let me know.
The beautiful altar area, cross above the altar, candleholders, and old rugged cross at the foot of the altar were all handmade with love. The infant of Prague with its red velvet garment was donated by a dear friend of the family. Their Lithuanian grandmother actually wove the altar cloth over ninety years ago in her home country.
The church’s next door neighbor is the smallest mailing office – a post office serving the small rural community of Silver Lake, West Virginia 26716. A sign inside tells that there is outgoing mail daily, but window service is only available on Friday 13th. Parcel post service is available on Feb 29th. It’s always a pleasure to see the Stars and Stripes flying, surrounded by more beautiful flowers. It seems they have planted flowers that bloom from spring through fall.
Here in the pines, take time for reflection and relaxation as you visit the smallest church in the forty-eight states. The wind in the pines whispers blessings of peace and goodwill to those who stop by for a visit
This tiny church can be found just south of Deep Creek, MD along route 219 at Silver Lake, West Virginia on County Road 24/8. Enjoy the beautiful mountain roads along the way.