Our Lady in the Pines Catholic Church
Christened “Our Lady in the Pines” in 1958, this unique chapel was built by Mr & Mrs. P.L. Milkint (a childless couple) as a lasting memorial to their parents. Measuring 24’x12’ outside and 16’x11’ inside. Before Alaska and Hawaii were adopted into the United States, the church was promoted on old postcards and signs as the “Smallest Church in 48 States.” Guests can mail postcards to their loved ones from the smallest post office with it's own zip code located on the property as well.
Backstory and Context
Peter L. Milkint, a Lithuanian immigrant, and his wife created a summer oasis surrounding Our Lady in the Pines Catholic Church in Silver Lake. In it's heyday, the grounds housed a lake, rental cabins, the church, and the post office. Today the lake has overgrown with nature, but the church and the post office still get hundreds of visitors each day who are traveling along Rt. 219.
the church, visitors can marvel at the handmade alter crosses, tabernacle,
candle holders and 14 Stations of the Cross. The infant of Prague is draped in
a red velvet garment that was donated by a close family friend. The altar linen
cover was woven by the couple's Lithuania grandmother over a
century ago. There are six pews that can hold 12 worshipers, 24 if the
aisle is filled and standing room taken. The church is located near
unincorporated Horse Shoe Run and Eglon, West Virginia. Adjacent to the church
is "the world's smallest mailing office," a post office that is
smaller than the church.
The Milkint's created a non-profit organization to take care of the church prior to Peter's death in 1979. Today, the Milkint's neice and her husband open the church each day for visitors to experience the smallest church in 48 states. Traveling priests will sometimes hold mass in the tiny church, and there ten weddings a year on average.