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KNOX (PRESBYTERIAN) CHURCH

Edmonton

Other Names:
Belgravia Evangelical Free Church
Evangelical Free Church (Knox)
First Presbyterian Church
Knox (Evangelical Free) Church
Knox Church
Knox Evangelical Free Church
Knox Presbyterian Church

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place


Heritage Value


Character-Defining Elements


Location



Street Address: 8403 - 104 Street
Community: Edmonton
Boundaries: Plan 3022 HW, Block 86, Lot 3
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
4
24
52
29
9 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
3022 HW
86
3


Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
53.520307 -113.496986 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Registered Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1976/07/14

Historical Information

Built: 1906 To 1906
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Building Social and Community Life : Religious Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
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: Magoon, Hopkins, and James
Builder: Thomas Richards
Context: HISTORICAL CONTEXT

When the Calgary & Edmonton (C & E) Railway arrived at the south bank of the North Saskatchewan River in 1891, the C & E immediately subdivided a townsite which it named South Edmonton. Being at the end of steel, the community steadily grew throughout the decade until, in 1899, it was incorporated as the Town of Strathcona with a population exceeding 1,000. As with Edmonton to the north, Strathcona grew rapidly in the wake of the Klondike gold rush, and, in 1907, it was incorporated as a city with an estimated population of 3,500.

Many of the residents in South Edmonton/Strathcona were of Scottish in ancestry and Presbyterian in their religious faith. A Presbyterian congregation was therefore established as early as 1891 by Reverent D.G. McQueen of Edmonton. Services began to be conducted in private residences as well as the Strathcona Hotel. In 1892, a small wood frame church was built with volunteer labour at a cost of $300. As the population (and Presbyterian congregation) was growing so fast, a newer and larger church was built in 1894, which served Methodists as well as Presbyterians. By the early twentieth century, however, this too was inadequate, and, so, it was decided that a large new structure was warranted, one that would suit the congregation of an entire city. An incentive was provided by Lord Strathcona, who, apparently, agreed to personally match the funds raised by local subscription towards such a project. By 1907, sufficient resources were in place for the building to begin. The architectural firm of Magoon, Hopkins & James were therefore contracted to design, and the construction firm of Thomas Richards was contracted to build, the largest church in the new City of Strathcona at 8403 - 104th Street, between the bustle of the commercial artery of Whyte Avenue and the growing affluent suburb towards the North Saskatchewan River.

Work on the structure began in the spring of 1907, with the cornerstone laid in April. By the end of the year, the red brick gothic revival structure was completed, with a capacity for 600 people. The Church was dedicated on 15 December. One of the speakers was Premier Alexander C. Rutherford, who would attend services regularly in the years to come. In 1911, a large pipe organ was installed, which added an inspired audio dimension to the services.

With continuing growth of Strathcona, church attendance was initially very high. This continued throughout the years, and, in 1925, with Congregationalists, Methodists, and Presbyterians uniting to form the United Church of Canada, the Church became known as the Knox United Church. In 1949, a red brick hall was added to the back of the building, and, the following year, a new pipe organ was installed. A new set of stained glass windows was added in 1957. By this time, however, Knox was getting competition from other United Churches in Edmonton, in particular the Metropolitan United Church on 109th Street. Attendance began to drop off, and before long, the congregation began to experience difficulty in maintaining the structure. A decision was made to abandon the building in favour of the Metropolitan Church. By this time, however, there was a growing Evangelical movement in Edmonton, and, in 1972, the structure was purchased by the Belgravia Evangelical Free Church. It is today known as the Knox Evangelical Free Church, and was designated a Registered Historic Resource in 1976.


HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE

The historical significance of the Knox Presbyterian Church lies in its representation of the tremendous growth of the Town of Strathcona after the turn of the twentieth century. It is also representative of the large number of Presbyterians who chose to make Strathcona their home. It is also a significant representation of the Presbyterian movement in the Edmonton/Strathcona district, and, indeed all of Alberta.

(D. Leonard, November 2005)

*****************************************************************

HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE

Knox Church is the first brick Presbyterian Church built in South Edmonton and is similar to Edmonton's First Presbyterian Church in exterior style. It was used as a Church from 1907 to the present day. Well-maintained example of turn of the century Presbyterian architectural Church style. The interior reflects some unusual and impressive design features. The Church is a well-known landmarks in Strathcona and is the oldest Presbyterian Church now in Edmonton.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0680
Designation File: Des. 457
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 22471
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 457)
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