Description of Historic Place
The Bedford United Church, formerly called the Sandwich United Church, is located at 3340 Sandwich Street, south of Brock Street, in the core of the historic former Town of Sandwich, now part of the City of Windsor. It is a well-preserved red brick Gothic Revival style church with a Romanesque style tower, built in 1906.
It is recognized for its heritage value by the City of Windsor By-law 11-2007.
The Bedford United Church is tied to the early Methodist Church ministry in Sandwich. The first Sandwich Methodist Church was built on Mill Street in 1838, with the first regular services being conducted in early 1839. By 1874 the Methodist Church in Windsor was serving the needs of the parishioners and in April 1879 the church building on Mill Street was sold to the Town of Sandwich for a council chamber and other purposes. By 1904 Methodist services were being held in Sandwich once again in private homes, commercial buildings, schools, and ironically, the Town Hall, formerly the Methodist Church. A new Methodist Church was built in 1906 at a cost of $6,500 and was dedicated on May 12, 1907. The Thompson Bros., of Windsor, were the contractors of the stone and brickwork, and Frank B. Tofflemire, of Walkerville, was hired for the woodwork.
One minister, Rev. J. O. L. Spracklin (1918-1921) gained notoriety when he shot and killed Mr. Beverly “Babe” Trumble, the owner of the Chappell House (now demolished) in 1920. In addition to being the Methodist minister and leading area prohibitionist, Spracklin was also a provincial liquor inspector. He was acting in that capacity when he had the encounter at the Chappell House. He was later acquitted of manslaughter, as evidence showed that he had shot Trumble in self-defence.
In 1992 the congregation of Calvary United joined the Sandwich United congregation and they became the Bedford United Church – a name that commemorates the original name of Sandwich Street.
The original (1906) section of Bedford United Church is architecturally significant as a well-preserved example of a Gothic Revival style church with a Romanesque-style tower. This combination of styles can be seen in other Methodist churches of its era.
Located in the historic core of the former Town of Sandwich, the church is a landmark along Sandwich Street. Sandwich Street is a major arterial roadway, serving Sandwich. It is located just south of the intersection of Brock and Sandwich Streets, which is also the institutional core of the former Town of Sandwich. Properties adjacent to this intersection had been set aside for governmental, religious, and educational purposes when surveyor Abraham Iredell laid out the town in 1797. The active congregation of Sandwich United Church celebrated 100 years of witness and service to the Sandwich community in 2006-07.
Source: Designation Report, June 1, 2006.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Bedford United Church include its:
- association with the early Methodist ministry in Sandwich
- continuous use and Methodist-United Church presence in the Sandwich community since 1906-07
- overall style of the original (1906) red brick building – embodying the Gothic style in the main structure and the Romanesque style in the tower
- foundation of rusticated masonry, four courses high and topped by a stone sill
- two-storey tower with a bell cast roof and C-shaped wooden brackets under the eaves
- original lancet, non-figurative stained glass windows on the north, east and south facades, all with brick voussoirs and tracery
- glass which features rich colours in geometric forms in the central panels, and head and foot panels with floral designs
- centrally located blind Roman-arch window on the main front gable end
- original rough-sawn board double door with wrought iron strap-hinges, topped by a Gothic arch with brick voussoir and a leaded glass window with the words Sandwich Bedford United Church
- five square stones that were set in the brickwork to commemorate the liberal donations towards the construction of the church of the following: The Building Committee, The Ladies' Aid, Hon. R. F. Sutherland, M.P., A.H. Clarke, M.P., J. E. Stone, County Warden in 1906
- cruciform shape with a baptistery offset at an angle on the west side
- vaulted ceilings faced with unadorned plaster
- front doors of dark leather
- original curved wooden pews
- central location within the historic core of the former Town of Sandwich
- location facing Sandwich Street, the main arterial roadway in Sandwich, contributing to the church's landmark status
- proximity to other designated and listed heritage properties