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Finding the World’s Smallest Church in Festina, Iowa

World's Smallest Church in Festina, Iowa

It’s no secret that I love visiting giant Iowa attractions. But I also can’t resist an adorably tiny stop either. If you’re roadtripping through northeast Iowa, you’ll want to plan for a detour to visit the St. Anthony of Padua Chapel. This tiny chapel claims to be the world’s smallest church.

Constructed in 1849 as the first Catholic mission north of Dubuque, the chapel was built by the mother of Johann Gaertner who vowed to build a chapel on the site if her son returned safely from the war. The tiny building seats eight people with four rows of pews on each side of the chapel.

Fun Fact: There’s a to-scale replica clock of the tiny church at the Bily Clock Museum just north in Spillville, Iowa.

While it’s no longer in service, the small church is a cute place to stretch your legs or enjoy a picnic if you’re passing through. While other churches may actually be smaller — Oneida, New York boasts a cute chapel that seats two — this Iowa attraction is a sweet stop regardless of official record status.

Signage at the St. Anthony of Padua Chapel in Festina, Iowa
Book cover of Secret Iowa: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful & Obscure

Find More Secret Iowa Places

Want to explore even more offbeat places around Iowa? Even at some of the state’s most well-known places, you’ll discover hidden histories and unique stories that are not often shared. Order your copy of the book, Secret Iowa: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure today!

Plan Your Visit to the World’s Smallest Church

If you’re exploring northeast Iowa, the St. Anthony of Padua Church is a quick stop on your way toward Decorah.

Navigation Tip: If you’re using Google Maps, enter St. Anthony of Padua Church to easily find this attraction.

St. Anthony of Padua Chapel, Little Church Road, north of 258th Avenue in Fort Atkinson, Iowa

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Want even more offbeat adventures, roadside attractions and world's largest things? Follow Olio in Iowa on your favorite social media platforms, and tag #OlioOnTheRoad when you have quirky adventures of your own.

Share Your Thoughts

I would love to hear from you! Did you know about the World’s Smallest Church in Festina, Iowa?

While it may not be the actual smallest church, the World's Smallest Church near Festina, Iowa should be a stop on your next road trip. #Iowa #WorldsSmallestChurch #RoadTrip

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