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Bethany United Church

Petites, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0M, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1994/06/04

Bethany United Church front and side elevations, Petites, NL; Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador 2005
Bethany United Church, Petites
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/02/10

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Bethany United Church is a vernacular, wooden, Gothic Revival church centrally located in Petites, Newfoundland. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Bethany United Church was designated a Registered Heritage Structure because it has historic, environmental and aesthetic values.

Bethany United Church has historic value because it is thought to be the oldest wooden church on Newfoundland island. According to church records plans were set into motion to begin construction in 1859. Records show details such as materials purchased, like lumber and nails, as early as August 1859. Materials were shipped to Petites where the local residents undertook the job of construction.

Bethany United Church has environmental value because it is located in the center of town on a barren, rocky site. It is easily seen from most positions in the town and stands out as the prominent view from the ocean as one enters the harbour. It is situated near two ponds and a small cemetery that holds the graves of original settlers.

Bethany United Church has aesthetic value because it is a good example of an early, wooden, Gothic Revival church. The simple lines and delicately arched windows attest to the spiritual nature of the building while the sturdy tower provides a focal point, from land and sea. Interior details like the balcony, classical columns and decorative diamond pattern moulding attest to the community’s efforts and craftsmanship. A unique ogee arched stained glass window features prominently high above the alter.

Source: HFNL unnumbered designation file: "Petites - Bethany United Church."

Character-Defining Elements

All those characteristics of representative of an outport Gothic Revival church, including:
-arched, label moulding above windows;
-single hung, multipaned windows;
-stained glass, ogee arched window;
-steeply pitched gable roof;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-tower with main entrance;
-cresting at top of tower; and,
-all original interior features such as the balcony, Classical columns and diamond patterned moulding.

All those elements that define the building as a landmark including:
-location in the center of town;
-visibility from the harbour; and,
-location in respect to gravesites of original settlers to the community.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute

Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, St. John's, NL

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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