European churches are typically huge and magnificent. Many of them are well known and have been on the tourist and pilgrim scene for decades. In the Western Hemisphere, things are much newer. Except for Native cultures, most of the cities and towns in the New World are less than 400 years old.
Churches here tend to be somewhat smaller and less elaborate (although there are certainly exceptions). However, there are churches here that are deserving of the tourist’s time. Here are some examples of New World churches that Lee and I have been inspired and impressed with.
In New England, with its Puritan history, the churches tend to be simple. The First Baptist Church in Providence is a prime example.
The Trinity Church in Newport is very similar.
These two are wooden, perhaps the most popular building material, but there are others churches in New England that are made of stone. Look for instance at the First Parish Church in Portland, Maine
and Trinity Church in Boston
In the Southwest USA, the churches are typically made of adobe and have an obvious Spanish flavor.
The use of adobe is extremely common in the churches of the Southwest. Check out San Geronimo Church of the Taos Pueblo
and the San Miguel Mission, in Santa Fe.
The missions of California also have a distinct style, with a Spanish influence. For example, look at the Santa Barbara Mission
and Mission San Juan Capistrano, famous for its swallows,
and the Carmel Mission.
Another Spanish-style church was later the scene of a pivotal battle in the fight for Texas independence. Yes, the Alamo was built as a chapel.
In Mexico, itself, there are many, many churches (Mexico is one of the most Catholic countries in the world). They were also Spanish-inspired. Of note are Our Lady of Guadelupe Church in Puerto Vallarta, with its distinctive crown atop its steeple.
The Cathedral in Guadalajara is reminiscent of European churches.
The headquarters of the Mormon Church are in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Temple Square.
St Louis Cathedral, in New Orleans, is also on a famous square.
In St Augustine, Florida, the Flagler Memorial Church recalls the railroad baron who put the city on the tourist map.
New York’s St Patrick Cathedral is a Gothic Cathedral in the tradition of the great European churches.
Island churches tend to be small and rather distinctive. St Peter’s Church, in Bermuda, is a good example.
and the cathedral of Philipsburg, Martinique.
In Canada, Montreal’s Christ Church Cathedral is dramatically juxtaposed against a skyscraper.
The interior of the city’s Notre Dame Basilica is absolutely glorious.
St Anne-du-Beaupre Church, in Quebec City, has become a significant pilgrimage location.
St John’s Church, in Lunenburg, is adorable.
On the other hand, Vancouver’s Christ Church Cathedral is rather nondescript..