CHAPEL OF ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA – Festina, Iowa
This chapel is known as the “world’s smallest church.” It was built in 1885 and measures fourteen feet by twenty feet. The belfry is forty feet high.
Constructed of stones quarried at Snake Hollow, Joseph Spielman donated $20 toward a bell and Johann Gaertner, then 92 years of age, donated $75 to pay for the wood used in building the chapel. Frank Joseph Huber and his wife, Mary Ann, paid the balance. The chapel dedication took place in 1886.
On June 27, 1887, Johann Gaertner died, and on Nov. 23, 1887, Frank Joseph Huber died. Mary Ann carried along the work of maintaining the chapel. In 1888 she had the vestibule added on the Chapel with a belfry 40 feet high. In 1903, stained glass windows were installed, donated by Mary Ann Huber.
The chapel proper is 14′ by 20′, the belfry is 40 feet high, and it seats 8 people. The F. J. Huber family maintained it until the summer of 1924, when St. Anthony’s Chapel Association, composed of 65 grandchildren of Marie Anna Huber, was formed for the purpose of maintaining it.
The church is currently a mission of " Our Lady of Seven Dolors" Church of Festina, Iowa, and is kept up by the living family members of Johann Gaertner and Frank Joseph Huber. Each year, on the Sunday closest to June 13, the feast of St. Anthony of Padua mass is offered on its miniature altar.
Admission – None
Directions – just off of State Highway 150
Hours – during daylight hours
Credit Cards – None
Phone – none