Description of Historic Place
The Church of Christ is a well preserved Italianate style brick and stone church located prominently on Main Street in Montague. Its features include pairs of tall slender round arch windows and buttresses on the exterior walls. It sits back from the street on treed and manicured grounds.
The Church of Christ is valued for its well preserved Italianate architectural style; for its association with the history of the Christian church in the area; and for its contribution to the Town of Montague as a landmark structure on the Main Street streetscape.
The origin of the church begins in 1811 with the arrival of Alexander Crawford from Edinburgh, Scotland. Crawford had attended the Edinburgh school established by Robert and James Haldane (1768-1851), two brothers who established independent congregations influenced by Baptist theology.
Crawford preached in many areas of the Island including East Point, Bedeque, Tryon, Belfast, and Three Rivers. Despite his sudden passing in 1828, his new congregations continued to flourish. At Three Rivers, in 1840, the group established a meeting house on the Brudenell Road. When a fire destroyed this structure in 1845, they erected another near the Montague Road in 1846.
Thirty years later, with an increasing congregation, they decided to build the current building just north of the growing village of Montague. The land was purchased in 1874 from John Annear and the bricks for the church were hand made by Robert Stewart at his property just north of Montague at the Burnt Bridge. The cost of construction was $6,000. The Island architect, John McLellan, who had designed Vernon River's brick St. Joachim's Roman Catholic church may have had a hand in this design as well. The carved date stone in the tower indicates that work began in 1876. It was completed in 1879.
One of the first preachers to offer ministry at the new church was Islander, Rufus W. Stevenson, a graduate of Bethany College in West Virginia. He would later also serve in Minnesota, New York state, Saint John, NB, and at Central Christian Church in Charlottetown.
In 1921, a new bell was added to the tower. A sympathetic addition was added to the north side of the original church in 1988.
The Italianate style of the building is striking with its many tall paired narrow round arch windows, as well as the round arch entrance door in the tower. The main body of the church features buttresses, a gable roof with eave returns, and the dominant square tower topped by a unique spiked roof. The main construction material was brick with stone accents such as sills and keystones.
The Church of Christ remains a landmark in the Town of Montague and contributes greatly to the landscape when entering Main Street from the north.
See Churches of Christ by John T. Brown (Louisville: John P. Morton and Company, 1904) for further reading.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/M8
The Italianate style of the church is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- The original stone foundation
- The wood frame overlayed with brick and stone
- The square entrance tower
- The paired tall narrow round arch windows
- The gable roof with eave returns
- The brick hood moulding over the door and windows with stone keystone and sill
- The brick and stone accented buttresses
- The corbelled brick on the body and eave of the tower
- The carved 1876 date stone
- The location of the church set back from Main Street on the northern approach to the Town of Montague