Description of Historic Place
The Lamont United Church, constructed from fieldstone in 1936, is a solid rectangular one-storey, gable-roofed masonry structure, which faces east on four urban lots located on a residential corner in the Town of Lamont, Alberta.
The historical significance of the Lamont United Church lies in its association with the early Protestant congregations established by settlers from Ontario and Great Britain. In a move that foreshadowed the formation of the United Church of Canada in 1925, they built a church in 1906 that served both Methodist and Presbyterian congregations. When it burned in 1936 it was replaced by the present Lamont United Church. The Lamont United Church is also significant for its historical association with the establishment in 1912 of the Lamont Public Hospital, spearheaded by Dr. A.E. Archer (1878-1949), a leader in the organization of the church in 1906 and chair of a local board that cooperated with the Home Mission Board of the Methodist Church to build a church hospital. This connection, cemented by the involvement of nurses in the church choir and Young Peoples Society, is embodied in a stained glass window created to honour the memory of Dr. Archer and his wife, Jessie Valens Archer. The association continues in the present as the current Lamont Health Centre operates under the auspices of the United Church.
The Lamont United Church is of architectural significance for its design and building materials that give it the scale and feel of a nineteenth-century parish church in Great Britain. This character is expressed through its exterior form, featuring angled buttresses and a stepped belfry with Gothic arched openings, and its interior configuration, complete with such elements as scissor trusses and stained glass commemorative windows. Constructed out of fieldstone - a testament to local resourcefulness - it was built according to plans drawn up by Charles Gordon, who owned a lumberyard in Vegreville. The Lamont United Church showcases the superior master mason skills of Frank Rupchak, who built the walls from piles of fieldstones hauled to the site by local people. It is also significant for the displays of local artistic talent. Harold Taylor crafted the hymn number holder and the delicate fretwork composing the Lord's Prayer, well-known Alberta sculptor Major Frank Norbury (1870-1914) made the communion table, altar and organ screen, and master carpenter Philip Pawluk (1879-1965), whose work is found throughout the region, carved the inscription over the main doorway.
Source: Lamont County (Research file: Lamont United Church)
Character-defining elements of the Lamont United Church include such features such as:
- the form, massing and rectangular plan, including fieldstone walls with supporting angled buttresses at each corner and along the east and west facades, the wood-shingled gable roof with swept eaves and exposed rafters, the gable-roofed vestibule on the southeast corner complete with stepped access flanked by fieldstone walls, the stepped fieldstone belfry with gable roof complete with a Gothic-arched opening that houses the bell, the gable roofed entrances on the northeast and northwest corners, and the stuccoed gable ends;
- the tall, original fieldstone chimney offset on the southwest corner of the roof;
- the pattern and form of structural openings and all fenestration including the extant three entrances, the decorative segmental arched windows with voussoirs, comprising five vertical lights each with a trefoil and an additional square light at the side of the two outside lights, the fixed pane basement windows, and the single-hung, one-over-one windows on the side of the vestibule and northeast entrance.
- the spatial configuration of enclosed vestibule and open nave with sanctuary choir flanked by enclosed rooms on either side, the recessed interior double doors each with a Gothic-arched, diamond-paned window that open into the nave from the vestibule, the exposed stained scissor trusses, and the beams and rafters in the roof over the nave;
- interior finishes, including the painted "Donaconda" board with scored block and voussoir patterns, the original tongue-and-groove panelled doors, all wooden door and window trim, and wooden baseboards;
- interior furnishings, including the carved altar and communion table, the choir stalls, the carved organ screen, pulpit, the pulpit chairs and pews, the original lantern style wall light fixtures, and the coat hooks on the south wall;
- original liturgical items, including the hymnal holder;
- decorative scheme, including the Lord's Prayer fretwork piece, the carved inscription over the entrance doorway;
- the ongoing program of stained glass windows including the south window commemorating Dr. A.E. Archer and his wife, Jessie Valens Archer, the two east windows, one west window and the front window on the north side.
- hedge and bush plantings.