Sunday, September 1, 2013

Little Sands United Church

     I was up to eastern Prince Edward Island on Friday morning.  I stopped at this church on Route 18 in Little Sands to take a bunch of photos.  It's closed now and its' future is uncertain.    
     I was here once before about 10 years ago when a local group hosted an art show here.

Historical information cf.


This whimsical building is a rare example of a local church style in PEI, combining elements of the Neoclassical and Carpenter Gothic. The Little Sands United Church is valued for its unique architectural style and for its contribution to the local community. Built in 1898 under the guidance of D.J. MacLean, the congregation was originally Presbyterian. Before its construction, the Scottish settlers of the area worshipped with those of nearby Wood Islands in a crude 24' by 30' building at Wood Islands. Beginning in 1843, clergy from the Free Church of Scotland led the worship services. After the union of various branches of the Presbyterian Church in Canada in 1875, a new church was built at Little Sands. This was eventually replaced by the current structure in 1898. At the opening service, preachers from various denominations took part and sermons were rendered in both English and Gaelic. In 1925, the church became affiliated with the United Church of Canada.
The architectural style of the building is unique in PEI. The main body of the building exhibits Carpenter Gothic elements such as pointed arch windows, a gable roof with eave returns, and a circular window on the front elevation representing a "double Trinity". The side tower with its square windows and pedimented gables as well as the columns and pedestals under the tri-gabled verandah are Neoclassical. Other interesting features include the contrasting vertical and horizontal cladding which is wooden clapboard.
The building is well preserved and original except for the additions of a metal roof and a metal cone over the side tower. With its long history and pastoral location, the church contributes to Little Sands as a landmark in the community.
Source: PEI Heritage Advisory Committee Files
Front/south view.
Below: wonderful detailing of board 'n batten.

I took photos of the interior by putting my camera square against the glass windows.
Below: window sash, note the wood peg.
Below: east side of the church.
Note the house across the road.
Island Sandstone downspout splash pads.
     Like most Island churches - this church was built bascially on the ground with no basements.  First they laid the perimeter stones, as you can see here, then the floor was framed with a narrow crawl space.
Below: West side of church.
     The following information comes from H.M. Scott Smith's  book,  The Historic Churches of Prince Edward Island. 1986.  Page 100.  
     Little Sands United Church (former Presbyterian) is a peculiar little church on the south shore of Kings's County.  Its angular front elevations is an indigenous style, being an interpretation by local builders of other concurrent trends in religious architecture, the neo-Classic and Carpenter-Gothic styles.  The multi-gabled front verandah, alternating vertical and horizontal clapboard siding and small rectangular windows give the front facade a texture, warmth and re-stained humor that is not often found in other Island churches.  The symbolism of the circular window high in the front of the nave remains somewhat uncertain, although a local authority claims that the twin triangles represent the Double Trinity.
     The residents of  Little Sands and Wood Islands initially formed one congregation of the Church of Scotland, and the church building they shared was a small (24'x30'), half-finished hall in Wood Island.  From 1843, Little Sands and Wood Islands were supplied with ministers and probationers of the Free Church of Scotland.  During the term of pastor Donald MacNeill (1857-1872), a new church was buitl at Little Sands and a manse and church were constructed at Wood Island.  In 1892 the Presbytery of Prince Edward Island placed Little Sands with Murray Harbour and Murray River to form a new pastoral charge.  In 1898 the present church at Little Sands was built under the direction of D.J. MacLean.  Although the interior has been modernized, the old box pews remain.  When Church Union came in to effect, in 1925, Little Sands became part of the United Church of Canada.
     Little Sands United Church is located on Route 4, overlooking Northumberland Strait.

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