Description of Historic Place
Augustine United Church, built in 1903-04 as Augustine Presbyterian, is a large stone structure with a tall slender spire and attached two-storey hall (1909) that faces a main thoroughfare in the Fort Rouge district of south Winnipeg. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the complex on its footprint and listed exterior and interior elements.
Augustine United Church, a centenarian limestone building of monumental scale and elegant design, is one of a small group of early Winnipeg churches of exemplary aesthetic and material qualities and also a pioneer landmark in its neighbourhood. The stately structure, planned by J.H.G. Russell, architect of many fine Presbyterian churches throughout Manitoba, combines the beauty and craftsmanship of the Gothic Revival style with the early use of an auditorium plan of inclusive rounded seating for closer congregation-clergy interaction. It is the second church built on its site for one of the first Protestant congregations established in Fort Rouge and its development set high standards for the Anglican, Methodist, Baptist and Christian Scientist facilities that soon followed in the neighbourhood in 1904-15. As the area has evolved from its suburban residential roots into a place of dynamic, dense and mixed inner-city uses, Augustine's spire has been a steadfast beacon of faith, rising high above nearby buildings, symbolizing the congregation's commitment to remain an integral part of the community.
Source: City of Winnipeg Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development Minutes, October 2, 2008
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Augustine United Church site within the Osborne Village neighbourhood of Fort Rouge include:
- the prominent corner location at southwest River Avenue and Pulford Street, and surrounded by an assortment of residential and commercial buildings
- the north-facing placement of the church-hall complex within a small grassed yard, flanked by large trees, public sidewalks (north and east sides) and a lane (west), and with a compact, ornate war memorial on the front lawn
- the skyline visibility of the 55-metre (175-foot) bell-tower-spire
Key exterior elements that define the complex's expressive Gothic Revival style and material qualities include:
- the substantial, elongated massing, extended by differentiated northeast and northwest corner towers, shallow south transepts and the south Guild Hall addition, also rectangular in plan and two storeys high
- the solid masonry construction, including stone foundations, walls and buttresses of rusticated limestone, smooth- and rough-cut stone accents, etc.
- the pronounced verticality of the square, multi-stage northeast bell tower, including its slender metal-clad polygonal broach spire with lucarnes, stepped angle buttresses, tall, narrow and louvred belfry openings, rectilinear mid-stage window sets, etc.
- additional elements that contribute to the steep, complex roofline, including the roof's gable, cross-gable and flat sections, the sharply defined front (north), transept and Guild Hall gable ends, the modest-height angular northwest tower with a polygonal roof and adjacent small round turret with a conical roof, the Guild Hall lantern, metal pinnacles atop the buttresses of the east transept, four stone chimneys, etc.
- the pointed Gothic openings, including the large front and transept windows with delicate wooden panel tracery, the elevated double doorways with carved stone surrounds and high transoms containing bar tracery, the two-storey bays of squared and arched windows in the Guild Hall's east wall, the lancets, the trios of blind recesses in the upper front and transept gable ends, etc.
- the square-headed fenestration, including numerous Guild Hall windows, etc.
- the measured application of Gothic Revival
Key elements that define the complex's well-appointed interior character include:
- the church's spacious layout, including the nave's formal auditorium plan incorporating a raised sanctuary, gently sloping main wood floor, curved pews in radiating rows, a U-shaped gallery carried on slender cast-iron columns, also with sloped flooring, a high vaulted ceiling with ribbed plaster, decorative medallion screens, coved transepts, etc.
- the gallery staircases, open, elegantly curved, with sinuous wooden balustrades and carved newel posts
- fine features and materials, including stained- and leaded-glass windows, dark-stained woodwork throughout, ornate pendant light fixtures, etc.
- the large Guild Hall with three levels of usable space, including a basement social room; details such as dark-stained woodwork, vestibule staircase elements and doors with transoms, etc.