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Served by the Salvatorians
Visitation's Church

The church is in the Romanesque Revival style, designed by an unidentified architect, and was built of native limestone cut and hauled from nearby Monte Sano mountain by mule cart and wagon. (See our early history for more about the construction.) To see how these architectural terms apply to our church, click here.


The structure is characterized by the steep gabled roof and two hexagonal stone towers. The towers originally were topped by tall, slender wooden spires which were replaced early in this century by the short, stubby ones still in place. The base of the north tower is about six feet higher than the south tower to house the bell.

The main entrance originally featured three sets of tall double doors and narrow entry steps. The present doors and wide cement steps were put into place in the 1960s. Pilasters that extend above the roof about five feet with a low, sloped, gabled-topped wall between the pilasters flank the entry.

All windows are round-arched in the Romanesque style with side-by-side windows paired within a larger stone arch. Arches are set out from the wall with imposts, and keystones set out still more. A projecting stone beltcourse occurs about midway up the front wall. Simple cornices top the walls, except for the apse.


The interior of the church is noted for the barrel vault over the center aisle of the three-aisle nave and the unusual capitals of the columns. An apse, or half dome over a half cylinder, frames the altar, and is separated from the nave by an arch and flanking pilasters.

The richly carved altar is of white Italian marble and was installed in 1892. The original unit was reconfigured in 1972 when the altar proper was separated from the reredos (at the back of the sanctuary) and brought forward to enable the priest to face the congregation as proscribed by Vatican II.  During the renovations in 2000, the sanctuary carpeting was replaced with hardwood flooring.

A marble ambo (lectern) on the left and the presider's chair and baptismal font on the right were added to complement the marble reredos and altar.

Flanking the altar on the right is a statue of the Virgin Mary, our patron saint. On the left is a statue of St. Joseph and the child Jesus.

Over the entrance, in the choir loft, is the pipe organ. The manual organ has 17 ranks and more than 900 pipes made of various alloy of tin and lead, with the largest pipes of mahogany. The three-ton instrument, installed in 1987, was designed in Ireland.

Along the walls between the stained glass windows are 14 large statues that represent the Way of the Cross.

      St. Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church - Huntsville, Alabama