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Discover the Oldest Church in Arizona



Arizona has a rich and varied heritage, and its ancient churches provide us with glimpses into the past. These hallowed edifices, some of which are from the Spanish colonial period, represent the state’s many religious and cultural backgrounds. Let’s explore the history, architecture, and significance of Arizona’s oldest church in this blog post.

Determining the Oldest Church

It can be difficult to determine which Arizona church is the oldest because the standards differ. It could entail taking into account enduring architectural features, shared traditions, or both. Possible candidates consist of:

  1. Mission San Jos de Tumac cori: Established in 1691, it stands as one of Arizona s oldest surviving missions, now part of the Tumac cori National Monument.
  2. Mission San Xavier del Bac: Known as the White Dove of the Desert, this mission, founded in 1692, boasts remarkable beauty. Constructed tours are available, showcasing its captivating interior and exterior.
  3. St. Paul s Episcopal Church: Dating back to 1882, it holds the distinction of being the oldest Protestant church in Arizona, offering a glimpse into the state s more recent history.

Focus on St. Paul s Episcopal Church

We will highlight St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in this blog article, highlighting its unique position as the oldest church in Arizona that is currently fulfilling its founding mission.

Location of St. Paul s Episcopal Church

The church is located at the intersection of Third and Safford streets in the historic town of Tombstone, Arizona, which gained notoriety for the O.K. Corral shooting. Visitors can tour the building’s history and take part in Sunday services at 10 a.m., which are led by revolving clergy from many denominations. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Founding by Endicott Peabody

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was built in 1882 as a result of the vision of Endicott Peabody, a dedicated Boston priest. Sent to Tombstone by the Episcopal Church, Peabody aimed to instill morals and decency in the violent and corrupt frontier town.

Peabody raised money from locals, miners, and even more unusual sources like Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, and the Clanton gang. Consecrated on March 11, 1883, the church bears witness to Peabody’s vision and the community’s support, having been completed in less than a year.

Architecture and Design

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is a modest building that was constructed using wood and adobe bricks. Its architecture is based on the 19th-century Gothic Revival style. Its pointed arches, vaulted ceilings, and Belgian stained glass windows are reminiscent of medieval Gothic architecture.

Significance and Legacy

One historical site that symbolizes the mix of cultures and religions in Arizona is St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Serving generations and encouraging a sense of community among worshippers, the church has withstood events such as the O.K. Corral gunfight, the decline of the mining industry, and Arizona’s statehood.

The church’s influence may be seen outside its gates as Endicott Peabody left a lasting impression on Tombstone, Arizona. Peabody was a visionary and pioneer who opposed injustice and violence by founding a school, hospital, and library in addition to the church.


Explore the history of Arizona with a visit to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Tombstone. As a beacon of bravery and vision, this church is the oldest in Arizona. Come explore its Gothic Revival architecture, discover its fascinating history, and recognize its lasting significance in the state’s cultural fabric.

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