St. Paul's United Church
The Rocks Presbyterian Church
Links and documents
1884/01/01 to 1885/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Built in 1884-1885, St. Paul’s United Church sits on a high bluff beside the Stonehurst Road in Blue Rocks, NS. It features a Gothic Revival inspired open cage belfry topped with a steeple, which makes the church visible from the distant water. The Municipal Heritage Designation applies to the building and the building footprint.
St. Paul's United Church is valued for its age, Gothic and Greek Revival architecture, and historical use as a navigational aid by fisherman.
Built in 1884-1885 as the Rocks Presbyterian Church, St. Paul’s United Church was the first religious edifice to be constructed in the community of Blue Rocks. Although the name of the church was changed to St. Paul's United Church in 1925, the only major alteration to the church was the addition of a small extension on the rear elevation.
This addition was completed so as to not interfere with the Gothic and Greek Revival architecture of the building. The church’s arch windows, including an equilateral arch window over the main doors, open cage belfry and double hung panel doors demonstrate a flair of Gothic Revival design.
This building is made unique by its equally well pronounced Greek Revival features including the presence of an extension on the front gabled end consisting of a smaller gable, which has the tower located centrally over the main doors. This forward gable is decorated with short return eaves and a wide baseboard connecting the two eaves giving the building the appearance of a pediment common to the Temple-style plan found on other Greek Revival churches in the municipality. Such well balanced combinations of the two styles of architecture are unusual in the municipality, and make St. Paul's United Church's architecture unique.
St. Paul's United Church is also valued for its role as a navigational aid for fisherman in the small community. Although it is located some distance from the water, its location on a high bluff and its open cage belfry topped by a steeple make it an easily distinguishable landmark from the water, assisting fisherman in navigating the coastline and acting as a reference point when setting nets and traps.
Source: Municipality of the District of Lunenburg Heritage Property Book 3 Site 13.
Character-defining elements of St. Paul's United Church that relate to its Gothic Revival architecture include:
- 3 bay façade of lancet arch windows on the elevations;
- equilateral window with simple tracery over the main entrance;
- tower with adapted open cage belfry topped with steeple;
- finial cross at peak of steeple;
- double hung panel doors.
Character-defining elements of St. Paul's United Church that relate to its Greek Revival architecture include:
- extended gable front with tower centered over main entrance in Temple-style design;
- symmetrical floor plan with belfry tower located in centre of gabled end over main entrance;
- return eaves connected by a wide baseboard giving the appearance of a pediment;
- corner boards designed like pilasters with the return eaves doubling as simple capitals;
- pilasters flanking the main entrance, which include fluting and a simple decorative capital.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Municipal Heritage Properties Book 3 Site 13, Planning Library, Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, 210 Aberdeen Rd, Bridgewater NS, B4V 4G8.
Cross-Reference to Collection