St. Paul's Anglican Church - Calgary, AB
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 50° 55.303 W 114° 04.265
11U E 705848 N 5645205
Quick Description: Once well out in the country in the Fish Creek area, surrounded by nothing but grass, prairie dogs and the odd tree, St. Paul's Anglican is now completely engulfed by the City of Calgary.
Location: Alberta, Canada
Date Posted: 8/7/2018 5:21:57 PM
Waymark Code: WMYXR3
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member GeoKs
Views: 3

Long Description:
Built in 1885 at a cost of $800, St. Paul's Anglican is actually older than the city of Calgary. Fort Calgary was established by the North West Mounted Police detachment in September 1875, while the Town of Calgary was established on November 7, 1884 and the City of Calgary was established on January 1, 1894. St. Paul’s Anglican was designed by John Charles Malcolm Keith after the plan of the original Cathedral Church of the Redeemer, built just east of its current site at the corner of 7th Avenue and 1st Street SE in downtown Calgary. From 1887 until 1891 St. Paul's also served as an early school. In 1976 the Church was declared an historic site by the Province of Alberta.

Historically significant to Alberta, St. Paul's is the oldest (along with the Anglican Church in Fort Chipewyan) Anglican Church in Alberta and one of the oldest structures standing in the province. The small bell in the belfry is 200 years older than is St. Paul's, having hung for 200 years in the belfry of St. Andrew the Apostle church in Thelveton, England prior to its coming to Canada. The belfry in which the bell hangs is quite small, perfectly in scale with the building itself, which was built to serve the congregation of a (then) very small community of southern Alberta settlers. Topped by a tall(ish) spire, the square bell tower has low arched openings on all four sides, now covered with heavy screen. The barely visible bell hangs high in the belfry. High atop the spire is a very interesting weather vane, the design of which is unknown to us. We have never before encountered a similar one and find it difficult to describe.

All wood in construction, the Carpenter Gothic styled church has a steeply pitched roof and is clad in shiplap siding. On the front, (west side) is a small narthex while at the rear are a pair of (also small) transepts. Down each side of the sanctuary are three Gothic arched windows. Matching windows are to be found on each side of the narthex, in each transept and centred in the rear wall. The building rests on a fieldstone foundation.

An interesting event in the church's history occurred in 1896, when St. Paul's was nearly stolen by members of another nearby Parish.

St. Paul's Church was constructed in 1885 on land donated by John Glenn, an early settler of Midnapore. It is similar in style, on a smaller scale, to the first Anglican church in the Diocese of Calgary, which has long since disappeared. This church does not possess a unique architectural style, however, some features distinguish it from churches typical of its time - particularly the steep, full-pitched roof and cruciform-shaped plan. The belfry contains a bell that was housed in St. Andrew, the Apostle church in Thelveton, England, for 200 years prior to being placed in St. Paul's.
From the Alberta Heritage Register

Amazingly, the church continues to hold services, the sign at the front indicating that services are held weekly at 11 AM each Sunday.

St' Paul's Cemetery was doubtless established concurrently with the church as there is at least one headstone in the cemetery dating from 1886. It, too, remains in use, Billion Graves listing 144 headstones here to date.


Description of Historic Place
St. Paul's Anglican Church is a one-storey building situated on roughly 0.4 hectares of land in Calgary's historic Midnapore district. Erected in 1885, the church embodies the Carpenter Gothic architectural style in its wood construction, steeply pitched roof, pointed arch windows, separate entry porch and attached sanctuary.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of St. Paul's Anglican Church lies in its association with the early establishment of educational and religious institutions in southern Alberta and in its early representation of Carpenter Gothic architecture.

The arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway at Fort Calgary in 1883 established the fledgling community as a hub for settlement and development in southern Alberta. The trail south from Calgary to Fort Macleod became a significant transportation route and several stopping houses and small communities emerged along the path, including Fish Creek. In 1885, John Glenn, one of the pioneer farmers in the area, donated one acre of land for the construction of St. Paul's Anglican Church. The church was one of several constructed in the mid-1880s by the Anglicans to serve both Native and white populations in southern Alberta. Reverend E. Paske Smith, the Calgary's first resident Anglican clergyman, presided at the inaugural service in the church, held in September 1885. In addition to hosting religious services, St. Paul's Anglican Church also served as an early school. Mrs. Helen Millar (Shaw) taught community children in the church building from 1887 until 1891. St. Paul's Anglican Church is one of the first Anglican churches and one of the earliest school buildings still extant in Alberta.

Like many early churches in Alberta, St. Paul's was constructed in the Carpenter Gothic style. This form of frontier architecture rendered the traditional forms of stone and brick Gothic Revival architecture in wood. It was a popular style in early western Canada because of its use of readily available materials and its relative simplicity. This style is manifest in the building's wood construction, pointed arch windows, separate entry porch and attached sanctuary. Though generally representative of Carpenter Gothic architecture, the church's cruciform plan and steeply pitched roof distinguish it from most other provincial examples of this style. Several unique elements of the church enrich the building's heritage value. The church bell was donated to the parish by the congregation of the Church of St. Andrew the Apostle in Thelveton, Norfolk, England. The bell is believed to have been cast roughly two centuries before its removal to St. Paul's, making it one of the oldest church bells in the province. The interior of the church is graced by an elegant oak communion table, reredos, and lectern. These fine pieces were created by students at St. Dunstan's Indian Industrial School and exhibit a high degree of craftsmanship. Situated close to the historic St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church and Lacombe Home, a facility constructed to serve orphans, the aged, and the poor, St. Paul's Anglican Church is an integral part of a complex of early religious buildings that speak powerfully of the place of faith in the development of the area.
From the Alberta Heritage Register

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Type of Marker: Cultural

Sign Age: Historic Site or Building Marker

Parking: Park beside the chain link fence south of the church

Placement agency: Province of Alberta

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