South Canaan Free Baptist Church
South Canaan Primitive Baptist Church
Links and documents
1893/01/01 to 1894/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The South Canaan Free Baptist Church was built in 1893-1894 by its members and has had a varied denominational history. It is a simple wooden building constructed in the Greek Revival style and is located on the Wilson Road in the rural community of South Canaan, Yarmouth County, NS. The municipal heritage designation applies to the building and its small lot.
The heritage value of the South Canaan Free Baptist Church lies in it being one of only three Free Baptist churches remaining in Yarmouth County; in its varied denominational history; and in its intact original architectural elements.
This church was built by its members in 1893-1894 under the supervision of a Mr. Saunders, a carpenter from the nearby community of Carleton. At this time, approximately twenty-one Free Baptist meetinghouses existed in Yarmouth County, as the denomination was then the third largest in the county. In 1906 the majority of the Free Baptist churches joined the United Baptists, but this congregation and two others (one at Raynardton and one at East Kemptville), elected to retain their identity as Free Baptists.
At the time of construction, South Canaan was part of a larger community known as East River, which has since become two separate villages: Springhaven, in the Municipality of the District of Argyle, and South Canaan in the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth. Originally, this church was known as the East River Free Baptist Church. However, when the deed was conveyed to the first trustees, it was made out to the Free Baptist Conference of Nova Scotia. This was probably in error as the East River church was then part of the organization of Free Baptists of New Brunswick, Maine and Nova Scotia. Presumably the error was eventually noticed and in 1903 another deed was conveyed by the Free Baptist Conference of Nova Scotia to the trustees for this church. By this time there had been a shift in affiliation, so the deed was to the church and congregation known as the “Springhaven Primitive Baptist Church" became known as the "Primitive Baptist Church.” Until 1957 this continued to be known as a Primitive Baptist church; however in that year a joint meeting was held at South Canaan where the Primitive Baptist Church of East River united with the Free Baptist Church of Springhaven and representatives voted to take the name “Free Baptist Church of South Canaan,” which has been retained to the present time.
Other than minor modernizing changes, such as asphalt shingles and installation of electrical service, this simple Greek Revival style building has not undergone any alterations since it was built. The main entrance has retained its original wooden door with a single pane window, making the church unique in the area and province. All pews and other interior fixtures remain as they were at the time of construction. Presently, only the Free Baptist church at Raynardton is active; South Canaan has been used for services only once a year for the past several years.
Source: Registered Heritage Property files located at the Heritage Office, 400 Main Street, Yarmouth, NS, B5A 1G2
The character-defining elements of the South Canaan Free Baptist Church include:
- location on a gravel road adjacent to the Tusket River;
- proximity to community cemetery across road;
- small lot surrounded by trees;
- one-and-one-half storey, symmetrical wood frame construction;
- wood shingle cladding;
- corner boards, frieze boards and verge boards trim elements;
- centred front entrance in pedimented entry porch;
- medium pitched gable roof with return eaves;
- double hung wooden sash windows with two-over-two glazing and moulded crowns;
- wooden panelled door with window;
- stone foundation.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
1903/01/01 to 1903/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Philosophy and Spirituality
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Property files located at the Heritage Office, 400 Main Street, Yarmouth, NS. B0W 1G2
Cross-Reference to Collection