Description of Historic Place
Dundurn United Church is a Municipal Heritage Property occupying 1½ civic lots near the centre of the Town of Dundurn, at 300-2nd Street. The property features an L-shaped, white, wood-frame church, constructed in 1910, with a steeply pitched roof, a tall steeple, and wide front steps.
The heritage value of Dundurn United Church resides in its use as a centre for worship, religious instruction, and social gatherings for people in the Town of Dundurn and surrounding area, a role it has filled continuously since 1910. Pooling resources to construct a church that could be shared by different denominations, many of the area's earliest settlers, such as Emil Julius Meilicke and John Schwager, bought shares to fund what is believed to have been the first joint-stock company church in Canada. With the main impetus for construction coming from the Moravian community, it was originally named Dundurn Moravian Church. In 1922, under a new union church board with Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Moravian members, it became the United Church of Dundurn, joining the United Church of Canada in 1941. Dundurn United Church today remains a focal point of religious and social life and a symbol of cooperative spirit for many people in the area. Church choirs, Ladies Aid groups, and Sunday School classes have been active since the early years, while wedding receptions and church lunches became important features after the basement was expanded and renovated in the late 1940s.
Heritage value resides also in the church's architecture, which displays a strong Gothic Revival influence, with a steeply-pitched roof, an eight-sided, pointed spire, large pointed-arch windows, and a foundation of fieldstones set in mortar. The L-shaped plan of the church is distinctive, as is the position of its steeple, placed at the bend in the L, atop wide, welcoming front steps. The exterior of white clapboard siding is offset by the dark-coloured roof and spire. The square-shaped steeple tower features two large rose windows above Gothic-arched door frames. The tower is topped by an open-sided belfry that still houses the original church bell and is ornamented with decorative woodwork, arches, and pinnacles, while the tip of the spire bears an arrow-shaped weathervane. The church's bright but dignified interior features a broad, sweeping archway framing the sanctuary area, with stepped-up floor, wooden rail, and wooden wainscotting of original vintage. Delicately detailed, brightly coloured stained-glass window segments added throughout the church since the early 1990s are important features of religious significance. Situated at the corner of two of Dundurn's main streets, the church’s bold, striking appearance continues to make it an important landmark in the community.
Town of Dundurn Bylaw No. 3-90.
The heritage value of Dundurn United Church resides in the following character-defining elements:
-those elements that reflect the religious nature of the building, including the sanctuary, or chancel, area with its stepped-up floor, wooden rail and wainscotting, and framing archway;
-those elements characteristic of Gothic Revival architecture, including the tall steeple with its pointed spire and weathervane, the tower pinnacles, steeply pitched roof, and the pointed-arch windows with their stained-glass segments;
-those elements which contribute to the building's commanding appearance, including the wide front steps, large round tower windows and Gothic-arched door frames, and the overall massing of the L-shaped structure;
-the belfry with its original church bell and ornamental woodwork;
-the church's prominent location at the corner of two main streets near the centre of the town.