San Miguel Mission, also known as San Miguel Chapel, is a Spanish colonial mission church built between 1610 and 1626. It holds the title of the oldest known church in the continental United States. It is believed that the original church, the "Hermita de San Miguel" was built by Tlaxcalan Indians, who came from old Mexico in 1598 with Don Juan Onate. The church was damaged during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and was rebuilt in 1710 after the Spanish reconquest. The rebuilt church served temporarily as a chapel for Spanish soldiers. Since then, it has been repaired and rebuilt numerous times. However, the original adobe walls are still largely intact even though they were hidden by later additions.
The Chapel was purchased in 1859 by Jean Baptiste Lamy for the De LaSalle Christian Brothers, who built a school on the adjacent site. Unfortunately, in 1872 a bad storm brought down the bell tower and the San Jose Bell, which is now on display inside the Chapel. It was almost demolished in 1887 when the Christian brothers realized they didn't have the funds for the repairs it needed. However, the local community came to the rescue, and repairs were made including a smaller bell tower.
The chapel is known locally as "the Oldest Church".
Cover image "San Miguel Mission, Oldest Church In The United States" by Richie Diesterheft is licensed under CC BY 2.0.