What is a CHoW?

For two decades, I’ve been seeking, visiting, and photographing one category of man-made structure found in all the original English colonies (and some of their most immediate offshoots): colonial-era houses of worship. The main reason I find CHoWs so suitable for evoking the atmosphere of the colonial era is that most of the remaining CHoWs have settings which enhance the connection to the earlier era. Many of these CHoWs are still active, with congregations, parishes or meetings which have sufficient membership that they have been able to maintain their now-aged buildings for upward of 230 years. Most are 18th century; less than ten percent date to the 17th century. Of the CHoWs which no longer have active religious affiliations, most have historic preservation societies taking care of them. A few (fewer than 10) are now private homes, and not open to the public, but most may be seen from public roads.


1 / 5
Old Christ Church; Laurel, DE; Church of England; 1771; Wood
2 / 5
Bruton Parish; Williamsburg, VA; Church of England; 1711; Brick
3 / 5
Pompion Hill Chapel; Huger, SC; Church of England; 1763; Brick
4 / 5
Alna Meeting House; Alna, ME; Congregational; 1789; Wood
5 / 5
Stony Brook FMH; Princeton, NJ; Society of Friends; 1726; Stone

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