Description of Historic Place
Built circa 1881, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church is a landmark in the community due to its high visibility at the top of a small knoll located at the intersection of Highway 3 and Old Trunk 3 (originally called the Commons Road) in Chester, Nova Scotia. The municipal heritage designation applies to the building and surrounding property.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church is valued for its age; historical associations; and Greek Revival architecture with Carpenter Gothic and Gothic Revival themes.
Built circa 1881 by Daniel Slauenwhite, the church has served its congregation for over one-hundred-and-twenty-five years. Former congregation member and clergyman Austin Zinck became a professor, and later president, of Waterloo College and Seminary in Waterloo, Ontario.
Since its construction, the church has been a community landmark. The large structure is located on a small knoll at the busy intersection of Highway 3 and Old Trunk 3. St. Peter’s Lutheran Church is valued architecturally for its exterior integrity. The church still features a unique blend of Greek Revival and Gothic Revival themes. This wooden shingle construction church was built with a Temple-style symmetrical layout with the belfry tower in the centre of the gabled end with the main entrance located at the base of the tower. In addition, the corner boards are styled like Greek Revival pilasters.
The church also features a number of Gothic Revival architectural elements, including simple spade-like designs instead of a Greek Revival capital, which demonstrates the inclusion of Carpenter Gothic design influence. These designs are also present on the four rectangular based spires that mark the corners of the belfry tower. The pinnacles of the spires are formed as simple square pyramids topped by a finial that is spade-like in design. In addition, the small ornate fretwork that forms a rail between the spires of the tower features this design and is more common of the Carpenter Gothic style. The windows in the church have the symmetrical lines common to the Greek Revival style in their lower rectangular forms; however, the vertical symmetry is disrupted by the addition of an upper pane that is triangular and topped by a triangular window hood, creating a modified lancet arch design common to the Gothic Revival style.
Source: Municipality of the District of Chester Heritage Property Files.
Character-defining elements of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church that relate to its Greek Revival architecture include:
- belfry tower positioned in centre of gabled end and partly recessed into gabled eave;
- Temple-style construction with main entrance on gabled end at base of belfry tower;
- corner boards designed as Greek pilasters;
- symmetrical floor plan with belfry tower located in centre of gabled end over main entrance;
- wooden plank exterior doors of main entrance maintaining building's symmetry;
- two-paned transom window over main entrance topped by a simple decorative cap.
Character-defining elements of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church that relate to its Carpenter Gothic and Gothic Revival themes include:
- spade-like designs at head of pilaster styled corner boards;
- spires located at corners of belfry tower with pinnacles formed by simple square pyramids topped by spade-like finial;
- small ornate fretwork forming a rail between spires with a spade-like design;
- modified rectangular windows with triangular upper sashes and triangular window hoods forming a modified lancet arch design.
Additional exterior character-defining elements of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church include:
- unique blend of Greek Revival and Gothic themes present in the form and massing;
- wooden shingle construction;
- steeply pitched roof;
- location on a small knoll at a well travelled intersection.