1880 ANGLICAN CHURCH OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE AND THE 1874 DAY SCHOOL
St. Paul's Church Hall
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Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The 1880 Anglican Church of St. Paul the Apostle and the 1874 Day School comprises a one-and-a-half storey church and a one-and-a-half storey school building situated on a single lot in a residential area of Fort Chipewyan. Both buildings feature hand-hewn logs assembled in a post and groove construction with white horizontal dropsiding. The church features Carpenter Gothic styling, including a high-pitched roof, inset spire with bell, and pointed arch stained glass windows. The school is a simple square building with a pyramidal roof and a regular fenestration pattern. There is a cemetery situated between the two buildings.
The heritage value of the 1880 Anglican Church of St. Paul the Apostle and the 1874 Day School lies in their association with the early development of ecclesiastical institutions in Alberta and in their fine example of French-Canadian construction methods. The church also possesses heritage value for its embodiment of the Carpenter Gothic architectural style.
Founded as a fur trade post in the late eighteenth century, Fort Chipewyan was the first Euro-Canadian settlement in Alberta. The site seemed ideal for Anglican missionary efforts: situated at the confluence of river trade routes and integral to the fur trade and exploration in the North-West Territories, Fort Chipewyan was also located in the midst of several Native communities. Permanent occupancy at the mission began in 1874, when a day school was erected. Six years later, construction on the Church of St. Paul the Apostle was completed; it was consecrated on Easter Sunday, 1880 by Bishop William Carpenter Bompas. It was the first church in the Anglican Diocese of Athabasca. The fortunes of Fort Chipewyan ebbed in the late nineteenth century, as the expansion of railway lines diminished the significance of river trade routes and Edmonton established itself as the new entrepot to the north. By the turn of the twentieth century, the settlement had lost much of its significance and became one of several northern posts facing the grim prospects of diminishing fur trade returns. Nonetheless, the church served as a Procathedral (Episcopal seat) of the Anglican Diocese of Mackenzie (separated from the larger Diocese of Athabasca in 1884) from 1912 until 1926. The Anglican Church of St. Paul the Apostle is the longest serving Anglican Church in Alberta.
The late nineteenth-century church and school still extant at Fort Chipewyan are the only fur trade period structures that remain in the community. In addition to establishing the historical continuity of Fort Chipewyan with the fur economy in Alberta and early Anglican missionary efforts, the buildings are also remarkable embodiments of the construction techniques and architectural sensibilities present in this late nineteenth-century fur trade community. The 1874 Day School is a simple structure, modelled on the Hudson's Bay Company utility buildings. The school was constructed using post and groove construction, a common French-Canadian construction technique favoured by fur traders and also known as the Hudson's Bay style or the Red River Frame style. The church also manifests the post and groove method of construction, though the design is more ornate and expresses the influence of both French-Canadian ecclesiastical architecture and the forms and details of the Carpenter Gothic style. The French-Canadian influence is particularly evident in the round oeil-de-boeuf window and classically-inspired eave returns, while Gothic inspiration can be perceived in the church's pointed arch stained glass windows, high-pitched roof, interior vaulted ceiling, and dark stained wainscoting and trims. The church thus represents the union of the construction techniques of French-Canadian fur traders with some of the aesthetic and architectural sensibilities of Anglican missionaries. In the early 1920s, additions and renovations were made to both buildings. At this time, several features were added to the church, including the carved reredos, stained glass windows, and new furnishings. The Anglican Church of St. Paul the Apostle is one of the oldest Carpenter Gothic buildings still standing in the province.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1276)
The character-defining elements of the 1880 Anglican Church of St. Paul the Apostle and the 1874 Day School include such features as:
- spatial relationship and sight lines between two buildings and the cemetery.
- mass, form, scale, and style;
- high-pitched roof covered in cedar shingles;
- inset spire with bell;
- post and groove construction covered in white dropsiding;
- fenestration pattern and style, including pointed arch stained glass windows;
- interior vaulted ceiling;
- dark stained interior wainscoting;
- trim with a dark stain varnish;
- carved reredos;
- furnishings, including original pews and stove.
- mass, form, scale, and style;
- pyramidal roof ;
- squared log post and groove construction covered in white dropsiding;
- regular fenestration pattern;
- offset staircase.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Facility or Place of Worship
- Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club
- One-Room School
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1276)
Cross-Reference to Collection