Neo-Romanesque Architecture — Holy Rosary Church, Woodland

The Holy Rosary Church in downtown Woodland is an excellent example of neo-Romanesque church architecture. The prefix “neo” simply means “new” and is appended to the word “Romanesque” to indicate an architectural style employed to replicate designs from the Romanesque period which was most prevalent in church buildings in the 11th and 12th centuries.

The Romanesque style is characterized by rounded (Roman) arches, heavy walls with minimal openings, large apses (part of a church shaped like half a circle, usually located at the end with the main altar beneath) and large towers. One can see nearly all of the characteristic Romanesque features from the exterior. The western façade has a nearly 50-foot rounded arch portal on heavy stone facing. A look around the corner reveals the thin rounded arch window openings for the stained-glass windows. Overhead is the 108-foot bell tower.

Inside, one will see much repetition of the rounded-arch motif in the side aisles and the window openings which allow minimal (but beautiful) light through the stained-glass designs. The sanctuary includes a 25-foot ciborium with a half-dome top similar to an apse – all within the 40-foot-high ceiling enclosing the sanctuary.

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