This past week I spent way too much time online trying to track down the tiniest church in the country. America has dozens that claim to be the smallest house of worship in the land.
Usually cities brag about the largest this or largest that. Now it's bragging rights for the smallest. Perhaps the hubbub over tiny houses has something to do with it.
My own curiosity was piqued when I went looking for the famous "corner in Winslow, Arizona" featured in the Eagles' anthem "Take It Easy."
I found it.
I also found Winslow's tiniest church within striking distance on Route 66. It's called the Church of the Mother Road.
The structure measures 7 by 4.5 feet and is a "two-seater." It also features a window from an early Mormon chapel. A sign declares it the tiniest church in the United States, but according to Roadside America, the little hut needs to get in line with a bunch of others.
In my internet wanderings, I learned that Roadside America has turned the search for tiny churches into a treasure hunt of sorts. In their playbook, to qualify as a tiny church the place must be currently in use, be able to hold worshipers and also be open to the public.
With summer vacations coming up, I don't know if running down mini-churches would make for a thrilling trip, but here in the West we do have a bunch of them.
So if you happen to be in the following towns, you might want to drop by and peek in a little window.
Here are four I hope to get to. Most of the info's from Roadside America's website at roadsideamerica.com.
This one's white, bright and looks like a New England church from the era of Emerson. One visitor calls it "a sweet little cupcake." A farmer built the church at the edge of his field to honor his wife. They say you can often see him working crops. The church measures 7 by 12 feet.
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church, Forestville, California
Go for the daily candle lightings at this one. Like so many others, it bills itself as the tiniest church in the country, claiming to be 35 square inches smaller than the former record holder. It's red with yellow trim.
The Little White Church, Elbe, Washington
"Ripley's Believe It or Not" has said this one is the nation's mini-winner, though at 18 by 24 feet other churches on this list could fit inside of it.
This church stands where a giant oak tree once grew. A woman's husband spent his days at the tree contemplating the world, so she had a little chapel built on the spot when he died. (The tree also died, which is rather poetic.) Over the years, a strip mall took root and turned the area into a parking lot, but the little church lives on.
Surfing the web will call up many more. There's a tiny church in a lake, another built out of stones and a third in a forest. Michigan lists five tiny churches. Texas has at least three. There's even one on the Big Island of Hawaii.