Description of Historic Place
Built in 1897, Simpsons Corner Union Church is a small Greek Revival building located in Simpsons Corner, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia. The Municipal Heritage Designation applies to the building and building footprint.
Simpsons Corner Union Church is valued for its unique Greek Revival architecture, method of construction and social history within the community.
Built with a Temple-style layout, with a central bell tower and symmetrical design, the building includes a number of features common to the Greek Revival such as cornerboards designed as Greek pilasters. Notably the church does not have Gothic Revival elements such as arch windows common in other Greek Revival churches in the county, making it unique.
The history of the construction of the church also adds to its value. Rather than hiring local builders, as had become more common near the turn of the century, the church was built in a more traditional way; by members of the community under the direction of two appointed chief carpenters; Esli Woodworth and James Hyson. The church has changed little since its construction. Historical elements such as the original stove pipe supports and visible tool marks on many parts of the building, including the window sills which were shaped and formed using a broadaxe, reveal the history of the building’s use and construction.
The building is also valued for its role in the history of the community of Simpsons Corner. It was used by several local congregations including Lutheran, Baptist, Anglican, Methodist and Congregationalist (the later two forming a United congregation after 1925) throughout its period of active service. While the church itself is no longer use for regular services, special services are occasionally conducted in the building.
The church also contains a unique, second storey. A community hall was built over the chapel in a loft with a separate entrance on the side of the building. The hall served the community as a general gathering place for social events hosted by the Community Club, which later constructed a larger building across from the church. The church’s original organ remains on the hall stage.
Source: Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, Heritage Property Book 2 Site 8.
The character-defining elements of Simpsons Corner Union Church relate to its Greek Revival architecture and include:
- Temple-style construction with the main entrance being on the gabled end;
- cornerboards designed as Greek pilasters boasting a simple decorative capital;
- symmetrical floor plan with the belfry tower located in the centre of the gabled end over the main entrance;
- double hung paneled door which maintains the building's symmetry;
- simplified mouldings.
Additional exterior character-defining elements of Simpsons Corner Union Church include:
- independent access to the community hall over the chapel;
- three bay façade;
- vertical sliding sash windows with a simple decorative cap;
- upper windows located just below eave;
- medium roof pitch;
- wooden shingles;
- granite foundation.
Interior character-defining elements of Simpsons Corner Union Church relate to historical and original elements and include:
- tongue and groove construction of ceilings and walls in the community hall;
- simple ornamentation on the pulpit;
- chimney base located at the second story supported by the frame not the foundation;
- stove pipe hangers once used to carry stove pipe the length of the church before joining the chimney on the second story.