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Glen Leslie Church

Bezanson, Near

Other Names:
Glen Leslie Cemetery and Church

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Glen Leslie Church is a small rectangular building approximately six by nine metres (20’ x 30’) in size. It is constructed of squared logs and has a gable roof clad in wood shingles. A brick chimney projects from the roof towards the rear of the building. The front (south) elevation features a five-panel door flanked by windows, and the east and west elevations feature three evenly spaced windows. The church and its associated cemetery are located in a rural area of the County of Grande Prairie on Secondary Highway 670. The church site is situated approximately six kilometres southwest of the Hamlet of Bezanson and 20 kilometres east of the City of Grand Prairie.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Glen Leslie Church lies in its architectural significance as a rare example of a log church with exposed exterior walls. This type of construction was once common for churches and other buildings in Alberta, but extant examples of this construction technique are now rare.

Typically, one of the first institutions or buildings that settlers in new areas desire is a church or a place in which to hold worship services and to come together as a community. For the settlers in the Glen Leslie area east of Grand Prairie, worship services were initially held in the home of the region’s leading resident, Thomas Leslie, and presided over by Presbyterian minister Reverend Alexander Forbes. As the area’s population grew, a dedicated church building was deemed necessary. Rev. Forbes led initiatives to build churches at a number of locations in the area, notably at Grande Prairie (1911), Bezanson (1914) and Spring Creek (1914). All of the churches were gable-roofed, log structures. In the winter of 1913, Leslie and Forbes jointly acquired ten acres of land upon which to build a church. Construction on the simple rectangular-shaped, gable-roofed building began the following spring and was carried out by volunteers from the community. Construction on the church was completed in October 1915. Although the Glen Leslie Church was ostensibly a Presbyterian church, the congregation included adherents of various Protestant denominations and it eventually became a United Church. While purpose-built for use as a church, the building was also used as a school from 1918 to 1928. The Glen Leslie Church offered regular worship services until 1964. Since that time, it has been used occasionally for worship services and more regularly as a community centre.

Although the Glen Leslie area had been opened for settlement in 1910, transportation around and access to the region remained difficult. Consequently, the Glen Leslie Church, like many of the area’s early buildings, was constructed of readily available materials. The church was built of locally harvested logs, which were stripped of their bark, partially squared, and laid horizontally. The logs were joined at the corners by hand-cut, dove-tailed notches. The church was weatherproofed with chinking between the logs. Wood shingles, originally pine, covered the roof and the gable ends. Entry to the church is gained through the south elevation via a five-panel door, which is flanked by double-hung windows. A row of three, evenly spaced, double-hung windows run along both the east and west elevations. The window and doorway openings are accentuated with trim intended to resemble segmental arches. Although many early churches in rural Alberta were constructed of logs, these buildings were often demolished, sold, or upgraded as finances and available building technology and materials improved. With its exposed-log exterior walls the Glen Leslie Church is an excellent and rare example of this early and once common building technique.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2170)


Character-Defining Elements
Key elements that define the heritage value of the Glen Leslie Church include such elements as its:

- construction method of stripped, partially squared and horizontally-laid and chinked logs joined at the corners by dove-tailed notches;
- exposed log exterior walls;
- rectangular plan and six metre by nine metre (20’x30’) dimensions;
- north-south orientation;
- wood shingles on the roof and gable ends;
- five-panel entry door flanked by two double-hung windows located on the south elevation;
- rows of three evenly-spaced, double-hung windows on the east and west elevations;
- trim work resembling segmental arches added to the top of each doorway and window opening;
- brick chimney projecting from the ridge-line towards the rear of the building;
- location on a minimally landscaped lot and its association with surrounding trees and other vegetation;
- spatial relationship with the associated cemetery located to the north and driveways running across the property.

Interior
- handcrafted pews;
- blackboards flanking the altar;
- wood plank floor.


Location



Street Address:
Community: Bezanson, Near
Boundaries: SW 6-72-3-W6
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
6
3
72
6
04

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

Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
55.200356 -118.460519 Secondary source NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2011/10/06

Historical Information

Built:
Significant Date(s)
Theme(s) Building Social and Community Life : Religious Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s):
Current Function(s):
Architect:
Builder:
Context:

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-1363
Designation File: DES 2170
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 75208
Website Link:
Data Source:
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