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Southminster United Church

Lethbridge

Other Names:

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
This large church has a flat roof with a high central gable, brick cladding, sandstone window surrounds and sills, a sandstone plinth, stringcourse and cornice, and a front entrance featuring four two-storey sandstone columns and three double-door entrances. It is located on a corner lot of a civic and commercial avenue on the edge of the downtown of Lethbridge.

Heritage Value
Southminster United Church is significant for its association with the institution of the United Church of Canada, and for its association with the theme of boom-period religious development in Lethbridge.

Southminster United Church is significant for its association with the institution of the United Church of Canada. The first Methodist services were held in Lethbridge in 1885, in the billiard room of the Lethbridge Hotel. Later, the Methodist, Congregationalist, and Presbyterian Churches joined to form the United Church of Canada in 1925. As a result the Wesley Methodist Church and Knox Presbyterian Church in Lethbridge became part of the United Church of Canada, although their congregations remained separate until 1935, when they joined to form Southminster United Church. The first joint services were held June 23, 1935. Since that time, Southminster United Church has played an active role in the city through regular community events and helping those in need.

Southminster United Church is also significant for its association with the theme of boom-period religious development in Lethbridge. This building, originally known as the third Wesley Methodist Church, was erected between 1913 and 1914 in order to house the growing Methodist population in Lethbridge. It was 120 feet long by 80 feet wide and Wesley Hall, adjoining the west side, measured 95 feet by 43 feet. As the congregation grew, several additions were made to the original building, including Wesley Hall to the west circa 1914, Southminster Hall to the north in 1950, and Buchanan Chapel in 1961 to the west in front of Wesley Hall. The church is clad in red tapestry brick with trimmings, architraves, cornices, and plinth columns of local sandstone.


Character-Defining Elements
The character defining elements as expressed in the form, massing, and materials of the 1913-1914-1950-1961 two and one-half storey church include:

Main Building (1913):
-high central gable roof over the nave;
-flat roof surrounding the nave;
-running bond brick cladding;
-four Colossal engaged columns of Tuscan Order;
-large sandstone entablature;
-three double-front entrances with sandstone surrounds (architraves), frieze, cornice and decorative supports (ancons);
-three pairs of square sandstone window surrounds, one pair above each of the three front entrances;
-three sandstone tablets, one above each of the three front entrances and below the paired sandstone window surrounds;
-brick pilasters;
-sandstone cornice;
-random ashlar sandstone block plinth with water table;
-brick chimney;
-large sandstone window surrounds with sandstone keystones and springers;
-alternating brick and sandstone voussoirs with sandstone keystones on some windows;
-sandstone sills on some windows;
-large, semi-elliptical window wiht sandstone surround in the high gable end above the nave; and
-pattern, style and constructions of all original window configurations.

Wesley Hall (c.1914):
-flat roof;
-running bond brick cladding;
-random ashlar sandstone block plinth with water table;
-sandstone sills on all windows;
-flat arch lintels (jack arches) with sandstone skewbacks and keystones on some windows;
-rounded arch lintels with sandstone skewbacks and keystones on some windows;
-semi-circular brick voussoirs with blind transoms on some windows;
-flat arch lintel with sandstone springers and a keystone on the secondary entrance;
-molded sandstone stringcourse above the second-storey windows (this is currently not visible as a metal cover has been placed over it.);
-molded sandstone cornice below the roofline;
-central sandstone frieze and parapet at the roofline of the front façade;
-sandstone surround on the central window of the front façade;
-brick pilasters below stringcourse on the front façade; and
-pattern, style and construction of all original windows.

Southminster Hall Addition (1950):
-flat roof with a stepped parapet on the side façades;
-running bond tapestry brick cladding on the main façade;
- common six bond red brick cladding on the secondary facades;
-cast stone cap on the flat parapet on the northeast corner;
-brick pilasters with cast stone caps and bases;
-cornice supported by the brick pilasters;
-brick sills;
- relieving arches with brick voussoirs with cast stone keystones;
-arches of brick voussoirs with cast stone springers and keystones;
-arched entrance with cast stone springers and a keystone;
- brick sills and lintels on the glass block windows of the side façade;
-concrete foundation with cast stone watertable; and
-pattern, style and construction of all original window configurations.

Buchanan Chapel (1961):
-scalloped roof created by several low barrel vaults;
-running bond brick cladding;
-narrow, evenly-spaced, vertical cast stone pilasters;
-randomly-placed small windows with colored glass; and
-large stained glass window in the west façade.

Interior Elements:
- wing balcony and chapel choir including balcony floor;
-narthex including wood casings and trim;
-stairs to balcony on each side of the narthex, including the small window openings;
-interior doors between the narthex and the sanctuary;
-sanctuary, excluding pews, raked floor, and chancel; and
-Buchanan Chapel interior including vaulted ceiling


Location



Street Address: 1011 - 4 Avenue South
Community: Lethbridge
Boundaries: Lots 17 to 23, Block 37, Plan 4353S
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
4353S
37
17-23


Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
49.694993 -112.831001 Digital Maps NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2016/04/18

Historical Information

Built: 1913 to 1961
Significant Date(s) 1913 to 1961
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):
Architect:
Builder:
Context:

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0427
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 9960
Website Link: https://southminsterunited.org/
Data Source: City of Lethbridge City Hall, 910 - 4th Avenue South, Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 0P6
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