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Gleichen St. Andrew's Anglican Church


Other Names:

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
St. Andrew’s Anglican Church is a wood-frame Church in a Carpenter Gothic architectural style. It is located in the heart of the Hamlet of Gleichen on Plan 249B, Block 3, Lots 18 to 20 within Wheatland County, adjacent to Siksika Nation. It consists of a Narthex (porch), Nave (body of church), Sanctuary (apse), and Sacristy (vestry). The structure is situated on an east-west axis and seats a capacity of 80.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church lies in its association with the early establishment of religious and education institutions in southern Alberta and in its early representation of Carpenter Gothic architecture.
St. Andrew’s Anglican Church is valued as the oldest church in Wheatland County and is the oldest functioning Anglican Church in its original form in southern Alberta. Constructed in 1885, it is one of very few Anglican Churches established by missionaries to the Blackfoot Nation still operating. The church was constructed cooperatively by members of the Blackfoot Nation and settlers. This partnership is visible in the original lecterns and baptismal font that were constructed locally. These have been attributed to St. Dunstan’s Indian Industrial School, near Midnapore, today located within the City of Calgary. The descendants of both communities still worship here together.
St. Andrew’s Anglican Church is valued for its use of the Carpenter Gothic style. The church was constructed with the assistance of local architect Edward McCoskie. This style rendered, in wood, the traditional forms Gothic revival architecture. It was a popular style in early western Canada because of its use of a readily available material and its relative simplicity of construction. Though generally representative of Carpenter Gothic architecture, the church’s floor plan with elevated hexagonal apse, oak pulpit, alter and prayer desk and steeply pitched roof distinguishes it from most other provincial examples of this style. Several other unique elements enrich the church’s heritage value, including a Church bell donated by the CPR to the parish and a carved oak pulpit and prayer desk. The apse includes three very unique stained glass windows which depict the elements of the Eucharist, Baptism and the Holy Spirit. Unlike typical Anglican windows of the period, these windows do not depict Christ or the Saints, but rather are symbolic representations of the two primary sacraments, the Holy Spirit and the Bible. They also include a verse of scripture. This is indicative of the Reverend Mr. Timms’s Low Church values. The windows are also notable for the extensive use of tertiary colour.
In addition to the Church’s religious use, St. Andrew’s also served, in the early days as a School for the community of Gleichen and surrounding area. St. Andrew’s Church is an integral part of a network of places of worship constructed and utilized in early times for educational purposes. This multi-use facility speaks powerfully of the place of faith in the development of southern Alberta.

Character-Defining Elements
The character of defining elements of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, which originally also served as a community school, includes such features as:
- Mass, form, scale and style;
- Wood construction;
- Steeply pitched, cedar-shingled roof with central engaged belfry and bell;
- Horizontal wood siding, fenestration pattern and style, including pointed arch windows;
- 1890’s rose window;
- Separate entry porch for school children to place their coats and boots;
- A hexagonal apse that was elevated for use by both the priest and school teacher
- Interior horizontal v-joint constructed walls
- Constructed as a multi-purpose one room building to facilitate religious and educational needs
- Oak pulpit, altar, prayer desk, lecterns and baptismal font;
- Original stained glass windows; and
- 1900 Canadian built pump organ still in use today.


Street Address: 219 - 4 Avenue
Community: Gleichen
Boundaries: Lots 18 to 20, Block 3, Plan 249B
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
50.86647 -113.05429 Secondary Source NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2009/09/15

Historical Information

Built: 1885 TO 1886
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Building Social and Community Life : Religious Institutions
Historic Function(s): Religion, Ritual and Funeral : Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Current Function(s): Religion, Ritual and Funeral : Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Architect: Edward McCoskie
Context: Between 1883 and 1885, the Rev. Mr. Timms, first Anglican missionary to the Blackfoot, and other Anglicans raised money for the construction of a Church. Its opening was attended by Edgar Dewdney, the Lieutenant Governor of the Northwest Territories and the list of original donors included General Strange, the Commander of the Alberta Field Force in 1885 (the second Riel resistance). The Gleichen Church was completed in 1886 and has been used continually since then.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0294
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File:
Website Link: www.wheatlandcounty.ca
Data Source: Wheatland County, Hwy. 1, R.R. 1 Strathmore, AB T1P 1J6 (Central Files Gleichen St. Andrews Anglican Church)
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