There are several ways people choose to pay their respects to the dead, including funerals, holidays, and even monuments. While the latter is reserved for people of great power or wealth, sometimes ordinary people do monumental things as well for humble reasons such as love.
Iglesia Cristiana Avivamiento La Piedra, commonly known as Iglesia de Piedra (Stone Church), was built in 1912 in the town of Camuy, Puerto Rico. The request came from the Kiplinger family, who wanted to honor their deceased son Ernesto.
The Kiplingers settled in Puerto Rico after the Spanish-American War. They, along with a group of missionaries, intended to erect Evangelical churches around the island. At the time, the Kiplingers were saving money to ensure a good education for their son. Unfortunately, fate wasn’t kind to Ernesto, who died at a young age.
After Ernesto died, the Kiplingers donated their savings to build a stone church in his memory. American architect Albert Munson lead the structure’s construction. The people of Camuy carried limestones over shoulders to the site, erecting the church in 1912 on donated land. It is for this reason that the sign over the entrance says “Ernesto Memorial 1912.”
Today, the church still stands, serving as a tourist attraction and meeting place for the Methodist Church. Despite lacking columns or support beams, the church has withstood the wrath of hurricanes and earthquakes through the decades.