Description of Historic Place
Lyon's Creek Church is a one-storey red brick structure located on Schisler Road in the former Township of Crowland, now Niagara Falls. Built in a vernacular Italianate style with a balanced façade, this church has played a significant role in the development of the Methodist circuit.
Located at 7906 Schisler Road, the building has been recognized for its heritage value by the City of Niagara Falls By-law 86241.
Lyon's Creek Church is associated with some of the earliest settlers of Niagara Falls. Located in the former Township of Crowland, within an area formerly known as “White Pigeon”, it was built in 1861, replacing the original 1806 church, which was also called a meeting house. The original church was part of the local Methodist circuit, founded by missionary George Neal in 1796. Some of George Neal's first religious meetings were held at Lyon's Creek, thus establishing the nucleus of a religious community. The Lyon's Creek Church in 1882 was linked with Port Robinson and Stevensville, and by 1900 the Crowland Circuit had become the “Port Robinson Circuit”, which connected Dell's, Lyon's Creek, Crowland and Port Robinson. Many of the members of Lyon's Creek Church have deep roots in Crowland Township, and some have located in this area as a result of the strong community connection that was offered by the historic Methodist circuit.
During the War of 1812, this site was used as a barracks at various times, and also played a small role in the Battle of Cook's Mills in October, 1814. Like most other Methodist churches in Canada at the time, Lyon's Creek became part of the new United Church of Canada in 1925. In the adjoining cemetery, many of that area's earliest settlers lie buried, including Henry and Joanna Buchner, Crowland's first white settlers, with Joanna's being the earliest burial dating to 1820. The huge oak in the churchyard seems to symbolize this history, as it is over 250 years old.
Lyon's Creek Church was built in the vernacular, while borrowing from the Italianate style. The classic red brick church has a balanced façade and segmental arches over its masonry openings. Carpentry in the church was done by Alex Hurst and the brickwork by John Sennet. Iron reinforcement bars have been installed on the upper walls at the level of the window arches.
Sources: Lyon's Creek Church, By-law 86241, Planning and Development, City of Niagara Falls, 1986; “Tree at Lyon's Creek United Church”, Planning and Development, City of Niagara Falls; “Lyon's Creek United an historical congregation”, Sherman Zavitz, The Review, July 24, 1999; “British major formed historic church”, Francis Petrie, The Review, 1975.
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of Lyon's Creek Church include its:
- location on the same site as the original church or meeting house
- siting on land that was part of some of the earliest settlement plots in the Township of Crowland
- continued use as a place of worship: early connections to a larger circuit of Methodist churches followed by part of the new United Church of Canada in 1925
- use of local vernacular and Italianate style elements
- balanced façade
- segmented arches