ST. AIDAN AND ST. HILDA ANGLICAN CHURCH
Church of St. Aidan and St. Hilda
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
St. Aidan and St. Hilda Anglican Church is a small rural church north of Lake Wabamun in Parkland County. It is a log building, clad in wood siding and cedar shingles. A bell tower with a porch and pyramid-shaped roof is centrally located on the church's south (front) elevation. The church is situated on a well-landscaped plot of land within a grove. A small associated cemetery is also located at the site. In the 1990s, the exterior cross on the rear gable, the finial on the tower roof, the stairs and railings were replaced. The church is located just to the north of the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) at the Range Road 45 junction.
The heritage value of St. Aidan and St. Hilda Anglican Church lies in its architectural significance as an example of a simple log church that has received improvements and upgrades as the financial and technological means of its congregation increased.
The earliest churches built by pioneer communities were normally rudimentary structures that were constructed using local labour and available raw materials. As pioneer communities became more established and wealthier, these early structures were typically torn down and replaced with more substantial buildings. On occasion, these early buildings were gradually improved upon through the use of more modern and refined building materials, additional rooms, extra wings and more elaborate furnishings and decorative elements. St. Aidan and St. Hilda is an excellent example of the latter course.
Beginning in 1908, the area around Lake Wabamun was settled, largely by homesteaders of English descent who belonged to the Anglican Church. As in many early communities the establishment of a church was a priority for the community and a congregation was assembled and accepted into the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton in 1910. That same year, a church was constructed out of logs felled from area forests. While some financial support was received from England, the land and most of the financing required was provided by the local parishioners and the physical raising of the building was accomplished through the communal efforts of area settlers. The church was consecrated in 1911 by Bishop William Cyprian Pinkham of the Calgary Diocese and became a regular stop for itinerant Anglican priests on circuit through the area.
Originally the simple gable roofed, rectangular log structure with gothic arched windows had a belfry on the southern edge of the roof. In 1914, a vestry was added and the interior log walls were covered with horizontally-oriented, tongue-and-groove boards. Three years later, a tower with a covered porch and a belfry was added, replacing the original belfry, which was removed. Also at this time, the exterior log walls were covered with horizontal drop siding. As with the original construction, all of these improvements were made through local labour. Other locally-produced interior details were also added over the years, notably the lectern, kneeling desk, altar rail, pulpit, and pews. The bell, the second belfry and altar coverings were donated to the church. The altar coverings were made from material that had adorned Westminster Abbey during the coronation of King George VI. In late-2008, a pulpit desk cover from the same material was given to the church by St. Mark's Anglican Church in Kitsilano, British Columbia. While the present appearance of St. Aidan and St. Hilda Anglican Church belies its roots as a pioneer church, the presence of the original log walls under the wood siding still speak to its rustic beginnings. Also, the improvements made to the building during its early years and the considerable effort undertaken by its parishioners to improve the building, speak to its vital importance as a place of worship and a source of pride to its community.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 451)
Key elements that define the heritage value of St. Aidan and St. Hilda Anglican Church include elements such as its:
- form and small size of the church;
- presence of original log walls, as evidenced through a cut-away section, that are the building's major structural component;
- gothic-style fenestration pattern on the side elevations;
- centrally located, wood frame bell tower (constructed in 1917) with semi-closed porch, belfry, bell, gothic arched ventilation openings and cedar shingle-clad pyramidal-roof with exposed eaves;
- six-inch drop siding (added in 1917) covering the entire exterior, except for the gable ends;
- cedar shingle finishing on the front and rear gable ends;
- simple gingerbread details forming pointed arches around the porch;
- cedar shingle-clad gable roof;
- wood framed, gothic window openings with an inward-swinging pointed arch unit on top and one-over-one single hung units below.
- interior walls and ceiling clad in four inch, horizontal tongue-and-groove boards (added in 1914);
- floor supported by 2x8 joists;
- locally-produced, hand-crafted interior furnishings, such as the pews, lectern, pulpit, altar rail and kneeling desk;
- presence of altar cover made from the Westminster Abbey draperies of the coronation of George VI;
- original organ, produced by the Cable Co. of Chicago.
- spatial relationship between the church and associated cemetery, which is located directly to the north and west;
- landscaped area immediately surrounding the church and cemetery;
- relationship of the site with the surrounding natural grove of spruce and poplar trees, shrubbery and other vegetation;
- original altar, now used as an outside bench.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 451)
Cross-Reference to Collection