Description of Historic Place
The Amherst Point Baptist Church, built in 1853, is a modest, wooden, one-storey country church built in the form of the traditional Meeting House. The church sits amid mature trees on the western outskirts of Amherst, Nova Scotia, on its original site with its ungabled side facing the road. It is near the dykelands of the Tantramar Marshes, and is backed by a Provincial Bird Sanctuary. The building and property are included in the municipal designation.
The value of the Amherst Point Baptist Church is found in its association with prominent Cumberland County individuals, and in its being an excellent example of a country Baptist Church built in the Meeting House tradition, with Classical Revival and Gothic Revival elements.
The Reverend Dr. David Allan Steele and the Reverend Charles Tupper were two of the serving pastors in the Amherst Point Baptist Church. Steele was well-known for his strong oratory style, and was highly respected in Cumberland County as a community leader of great intelligence and tolerance who inspired others to follow his example. Tupper was a highly-regarded minister, writer, and advocate of temperance and education who helped establish Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Tupper was also the father of Sir Charles Tupper, a local doctor and politician who was a Father of Confederation and a Prime Minister of Canada.
The Amherst Point Baptist Church is representative of many rural, Protestant churches built in Cumberland County in the mid to late nineteenth century. It is a wooden, symmetrical, Meeting House style building with a medium-pitched roof, pedimented gables, and simple ornamentation. The characteristic symmetry is evident in the church’s two-bay façade and the three large, rectangular windows that line each side of the boxy church. Its Classical Revival temple-like architecture is adorned with a wide frieze, and heavy, prominent pilasters framing the two entries and acting as corner boards. Also of note are prominent labels crowning each side window, and triangular openings in the gables, the front one being a window decorated with diamond-shaped tracery. The Gothic Revival triangular shape of these gable openings is echoed in the pointed arch above the two entries, and the upper edges of these triangles are accentuated with scalloped bargeboard.
Source: “Heritage Properties County, Amherst Point Baptist Church” File, Cumberland County Museum
Character-defining elements of the Amherst Point Baptist Church include:
- original site, form and massing;
- wood construction;
- original clapboard siding;
- two wide-set entries in gable end;
- traditional Meeting House elements such as simple, symmetric form and little ornamentation.
Character-defining Classical Revival elements of the Amherst Point Baptist Church include:
- medium-pitch roof with pedimented gables;
- prominent pilasters framing entries and acting as corner boards;
- wide frieze.
Character-defining Gothic Revival elements of the Amherst Point Baptist Church include:
- triangle-shaped openings in the pedimented gables;
- bargeboard decorating the upper edges of the triangle openings and the door frames;
- labels decorating side windows.