Blog » Mystery Monday (12/19)

Welcome back to another Mystery Monday challenge! This week, we have two photographs of the same location! Since these appear to be challenging pictures, we’ll provide hints towards the end of the week if no one is having any luck finding the location.

Also, this will be the last Mystery Monday contest until January 10th. We’ll keep you updated on Facebook and Twitter for other blog posts between the holidays.

If you’ve been playing for a while, then you know how this works. If not, be sure to read the guidelines below.

Here are the guidelines:

  • If you can correctly identify the photo with a link to Google Maps showing where it is, or should be, you win! Leave a comment here on the blog or on our Facebook Page.
  • Whoever identifies the photograph and posts a link to its correct location first wins!
  • This week’s winner will receive a $50 coupon for any framed print, or simple bragging rights! Whichever you prefer!
  • In order to win, the photo must be revealed by this Friday at 5:30PM EST.

If you know of anyone else who would enjoy this blog (or perhaps someone who would be a great competitor,) please send them here!

Let the games begin!

Visitor Comments


Really not much to go off of here. The age of the church makes me think east of the Mississippi. The steeple & cupola might be distinctive to something like southern baptist churches. It seems like we get a lot of these. Tony do you know of any "steeple by denomination / location" guides online? Trees are deciduous and quite old.

In the bottom picture there might be a pile of firewood behind the house. The crops growing might be tobacco to go with the tobacco drying barn behind the church. I will guess that this is Piedmont Virginia or North Carolina. Other that that we have NO clues as to street names or towns.

Tony Colley

The church steeple/cupola is different than any I've cataloged so far (237 churches as of today). I've not come across any that have this distinctive bell-shaped top. There doesn't appear to be any parking area for the church. I don't know of any guides to steeple architecture (and haven't found any in a quick Google search). Most Southern Baptist churches I know have tall slender steeples.

The car (behind the left-most farm house in the bottom image) and pickup truck (by the barn at the left of the top image) remind me of 70s or possibly 80s.

That square house with the cupola is quite distinctive. Looks like it's in the midst of being re-shingled.

The climate appears to be fairly moist, so we can probably rule out the Plains and especially the High Plains area. Both residential buildings have two chimneys, so they probably have a chilly winter here.


These photos were taken in New York in the early 1980s. I hope this helps!

Tony Colley

I knew I was on the right track when I saw the windsurfer!

This is in the little community of Sterling Valley in Cayuga County NY. I believe it is now Sterling Valley Community Church, though I cannot find any definitive confirmation online. This was originally a United Presbyterian Church, but I've not found a name for it (just a mention in a History of Sterling Valley).

Google maps:

This serendipitous find makes up for last week! This was the first county I searched in New York, because it was the first one (alphabetically) to have scanned rolls in 1981 (the earliest 1980s year with any scanned rolls in the state). These photos were on the fourth roll I skimmed through! Fortunately, this roll has the flight path shown, so it was fairly easy to find these buildings in Google Earth by looking along the flight path.

Individual pages for these frames... top:

John B

I've seen buildings like this in Wyoming and Cattaraugus Counties, but I expect they're all over rural New York. I would guess this might have been built as a Congregational Church, but who knows what denomination it is now. The main crop growing looks like corn, so this is July or August. The road sign in the lower picture is maybe a tiny clue. The road name is at the top and there's another bar near the ground that might point to the next town, if it's official and not personally attached for a yard sale. This makes me think one of the poor counties along the Pennsylvania border that economizes on signs.

My wife thinks there is parking on the near side of the church; it's just not paved.

I'm guessing the Google van has never been here, so this is going to be very hard.

Tony Colley

Hopefully, Lance will get my post from Friday on here soon. At any rate, the Google van did not go down either of these roads, but there is a nearby highway that it did, and you can see glimpses of this church from there.


John, thanks for leaving your astute comments! I hope to see your comments in future Mystery Monday blogs!

Tony, good work as always! January 9th's photo is going to be extremely challenging, so beware! :)

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