Description of Historic Place
Kaposvar Historic Site is a Municipal Heritage Property located within the Rural Municipality of Fertile Belt No. 183, approximately five kilometres south of the Town of Esterhazy on Grid Road 637. The property features a large fieldstone church completed in 1907, a two-storey fieldstone rectory constructed in 1901, a fieldstone shrine and a cemetery, all on landscaped grounds surrounded by a hedge.
The heritage value of the Kaposvar Historic Site lies in the property’s association the immigration and settlement of Hungarians in the province. In 1885, Count Esterhazy, an ex-patriot Hungarian who claimed to be of noble birth, organized groups of Hungarians in the United States to establish homesteads in Canada. In 1886, he settled a group of families in the Qu’Appelle Valley near the town that later bore his name, Esterhazy. Soon afterward, Catholic missionaries arrived and ministered to the community in various personal homes until 1892, when the first permanent church was constructed on the site. A cemetery was established on the large grounds and it became the resting place for many of the original Hungarian pioneers. Due to the growth of the congregation, the original church was replaced by the present building in 1907. In 1936, on the 50th anniversary of the community, a stone cairn was constructed on the site to honour the contribution of the original pioneers. This marker was joined in 1942 by a stone shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes. The congregation merged with an adjoining district in 1961 and the church was closed, later to be converted into a local museum to tell the story of the Hungarian immigrants to Esterhazy.
The heritage value of the property also lies in the design and historical integrity of the rectory. In 1901, the rectory was constructed by Father Woodcutter. Built of local fieldstone, this rectory was larger than most of the period and provided living quarters for the parish priest, the house keeper and hired man, as well as an office for the immigration agent. The original spatial arrangement and wood trim elements help to tell the story of the mutliple roles this building played in the development of the community.
The heritage value of the property also lies in the church’s Gothic Revival architecture. The style, popular for churches of the period, can be observed in its fieldstone construction, use of exterior buttresses and pointed-arch windows. The most prominent manifestation of the style are the two asymmetrical towers, a design feature common to older Gothic churches in the pioneer’s native Hungary. The large square tower on the east side of the building houses the bells of the church and features several sets of pointed-arch windows and louvered openings. This larger tower is juxtaposed with the smaller, cylindrical tower on the west side of the building which features a spiraling window pattern which once followed a spiral stair case built in the tower.
The heritage value of the property also lies in the Church’s religious ornamentation. The focal point of the interior is the large sanctuary, which prominently features a large altar with intricately-carved woodwork and several inset paintings and sculptures of various religious figures. It is flanked on both sides by smaller altars designed in a similar fashion. The sanctuary also boasts two original stained glass windows, the only windows that survived a series of hail storms in the 1950s. Statues adorn the walls between the windows along the east and west sides of the sanctuary. The exterior of the property features several religious elements, including crosses on the towers of the church and a statue of Mary inset above the front doors of the church.
Rural Municipality of Fertile Belt No. 183 Bylaw 153-99.
The heritage value of the Kaposvar Historic Site resides in the following character-defining elements:
-those elements that reflect the property’s association with Hungarian settlement, including the location of the church on its original site, the cemetery tombstones and their arrangement in rows, the 1936 stone monument to the pioneers, the fieldstone construction of the Lady of Lourdes Shrine with inset statue, and the landscaped grounds bordered by a hedge row and large open lawns;
-those elements that reflect the design and historical integrity of the rectory, including its rectangular form and regular massing, fieldstone exterior, hip roof; dormers and wood-frame windows, interior spatial arrangment, the wood panelling on the main level, wood staircase and ornate banister and wood doors and window frames;
-those elements that reflect the church’s Gothic Revival architecture, including the west bell tower with louvered windows in belfry, the east tower with its circular construction, and spiral windows, the pointed-arch windows, stone buttresses and the use of fieldstone as the main construction material of the exterior;
-those element of the property that reflect the religious-inspired church decoration, including the altar and side-altar of carved wood, the religious statues along the side walls and sanctuary of the church, the stained glass in the sanctuary, the religious motifs painted on the altars and towers, and the statue of Mary insert above the front entrance.