St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, Walnut Grove, CA – Architecture & Grounds

The red brick neo-Romanesque church stands on a large parcel of the land within an idyllic residential portion of the town of Walnut Grove. The building designed by prominent Sacramento architect Harry J. Devine was constructed in 1931. The church has rounded arches and a fortress-like design, along with a highly-decorative multi-layered tympanum over the double doors on the east-facing entrance to the church reflecting classical Romanesque architecture.

The tympanum is graced with a flowing four-armed Cross with interspersed fleurs-de-lis within a circle-frame. The design is laced with symbolic meaning including the surrounding circle representative of the endlessness of eternity; the fleurs-de-lis illustrating the purity of the lily flower and the Trinity; and the four arms themselves representing the universality of God with power over the four cardinal points (north, south, east, west) and the four elements of nature (fire, earth, air, water). Atop the carved cross are concentric arches adorned with the greeting of a rat meeting a lizard – symbolic of the protection from destruction and evil (rat) provided by God’s Word / the Bible (lizard).

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