The Blasted Church - Okanagan Falls, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 49° 10.464 W 119° 35.958
11U E 310554 N 5450096
Quick Description: Built some 120 years ago in a rough and tumble mining town, the "Blasted Church", now in a different town, serves the United Church congregation of Okanagan Falls.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 10/2/2016 12:13:47 PM
Waymark Code: WMT67W
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member MountainWoods
Views: 1

Long Description:
The church was built as a Presbyterian Church sometime prior to the turn of the twentieth century in the gold mining town of Fairview. Gold was discovered at Fairview in the 1880s, with the staking of the first claim in 1887. By the turn of the century Fairview was one BC's largest towns. The gold ran out soon enough and the town slowly died, with the post office finally closing in 1926. One of the few remaining buildings from the town, the Fairview Jail, has been moved to the Oliver museum site. All that remains to indicate the location of Fairview are some historical markers.

In 1929 the congregation of the United Church in Okanagan Falls, less that 20 kilometres northeast of Fairview, was in need of a new building and the old Presbyterian Church in Fairview came to mind. A not uncommon practice at the time had been to seal a building and ignite the appropriate amount of dynamite within to loosen the nails holding the exterior boards prior to dismantling. This is what was done with this church, hence the name Blasted Church. The materials were then hauled to Okanagan Falls and reassembled. Rededication of the church took place on January 19, 1930.

Coordinates given are for the church's original location at Fairview, the site shown below. The church is now located at:
N 49° 20.567 W 119° 34.409

On a cool spring morning in 1929, a small crew from Okanagan Falls set off to a deserted mining camp some 16 miles away from home. Their mission: to dismantle an old wooden church and bring it back to Okanagan Falls.

The plan called for a controlled blast of four dynamite sticks inside the church in order to "loosen the nails". Odd as it may seem, the explosion spared the wood from damage during dismantling.

Save for losing the steeple, the plan succeeded. Now, the 120 year old wooden church stands proudly in its second home of Okanagan Falls.
From Blasted Church Vineyards

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Our History (The Blasted Church)

The Okanagan Falls United Church began its life as a Presbyterian Church in the mining community of Fairview. When the town’s fortunes declined, the church was not being used. The Okanagan Falls congregation and their minister decided in 1929 to dismantle the church and bring it to their community. It is the “dismantling” part of the church lore that is shared as a great story, and that named a winery.

The practice in those days was to board over the windows and seal the doors of a building in which a stick of dynamite was suspended. The resulting force loosened all the nails so that removal of the boards was accomplished more easily and with less damage to the wood. The material was then brought to Okanagan Falls, reassembled, and the church was reopened with a dedication service on January 19, 1930, with Reverend Feir officiating.

It was an interdenominational church for several years. Many of the furnishings and stained glass windows are dedicated from and to the pioneers of the area. The pews (see picture) were originally made circa 1902 for use in Elliott’s Hall in Fairview, and were in place for the visit of the poet Pauline Johnson. They were sawed by hand, the bench from one solid piece of lumber, and the backs of two pieces. When Elliott’s Hall closed, the pews were given to the church in Fairview, and subsequently came to Okanagan Falls. They are still in use.

This lovely old country church at the corner of Willow Street and 11th Avenue has served its communities well in the past, and continues to do so today. Please come and participate with the congregation in the continuing adventure and evolution of the “blasted church.”
From OK Falls United

Church Name: The Blasted Church

Church In Use (even only just occassionally): yes

Date Church Built: circa 1898

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