Gary Smith, like many of us, was a little bored during the early months of the 2020 global COVID pandemic, so he found the perfect thing to do during a lockdown: he built a curbside attraction. road.
On his property at incense farm A wedding and entertainment venue in Semmes, Smith and his construction team built a chapel so small it can be called “the smallest church in the world”.
The small building, named Chapel of the Fields, measures 14.44 square feet and accommodates two people standing.
“She’s small,” Smith says of the church.
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Smith contacted Guinness World Records to certify the place of the chapel in the history of the route, but he has not yet received an answer. Getting certified would tick off an item on the to-do list he’s had since he was a kid.
“When I was six, my parents wanted me to shut up so they gave me a Guinness Book of World Records,” Smith said. “I decided that one day I would be there.”
Smith checked to see who claimed to have the smallest church in the world and found one on Cross Island in New York that measures 59 inches by 81 inches. This chapel, however, is too small for people to stand in.
Smith said his chapel, which measures 40 inches by 52 inches, was designed as an old-fashioned Southern church would be. The wooden chapel is surmounted by a wooden bell tower in the shape of a cross.
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The sign near the Field Chapel states that it was “built with love and hope for the future”. The builders listed are Dulari Smith, Gary Smith, Jeff Caldwell, Brooke Caldwell and Alex Caldwell.
No one has been married inside the chapel yet, although many before and after wedding photos are taken there, Smith said. Loblolly Farm offers a variety of outdoor venues for wedding ceremonies. Click here for more details.
Smith said that since the church was built, visitors have come from all over the country to see the church.
” We saw [car] beacons from Nevada, Texas, North Carolina… People keep stopping,” he said. “They’re weird, like us.”
He said Loblolly Farm opened just before the pandemic shutdowns, but he and his teams continued to work on projects while waiting to reopen. “In my boredom, I started building other stuff,” he said.
Smith, who works as a research historian, said he “invented” other art forms on the farm, including a giant heart on a hill made from grass fertilized with his special mixture. The heart is 180 feet long. The site also includes a piano in the middle of the field which has been gutted and filled with succulents and an old bed frame which is now used as a ‘flower bed’.
Smith plans to continue reaching out to Guinness and is sure the company will agree with him that his church is the smallest.
“If someone was building something smaller, they would just put a steeple on top of a phone booth,” Smith said.
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