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First Cornwallis Baptist Church, Upper Canard, NS

January 19, 2015

nova scotia

First Cornwallis Baptist at Upper Canard, Nova Scotia is among a handful of A-A examples in the Maritimes. It’s not that they exist in fewer numbers, proportionally, but that they may not have appeared in postcard format. So google searching has been my good fortune. The website detailing the history of this church includes this information:

In April of 1909 as the men of the church were burning dead leaves and grass, the fire spread to the church building and completely destroyed it. The only items rescued were the pulpit, platform chairs and a small organ.

It is said the heat of the fire began to ring the bell and it continued to do so until it collapsed into the fire and was smashed to pieces. When the congregation gathered around the smoldering ashes the next morning for Sunday worship the pastor preached from 2 Corinthians 5: “for we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

Construction on the present structure began in October of 1909 and was completed in time to be dedicated on June 12th, 1910. The new building is dramatically different in style from the previous Gothic structure and is based on a modified “Akron Plan,” so named because it was first used in Akron, Ohio in 1867. This design abandoned the traditional long, straight and narrow sanctuary with a central aisle in favor of a shallower and wider sanctuary with a sloping floor and pews which sweep in a half-circle and broken into three sections. The purpose of these features was to enable everyone to see and hear clearly in a time when sound and projection systems were none existent. Also typical of the Akron style are sliding walls which allow the gallery to be closed off when not needed, and doors on the Sunday School rooms which completely open the front wall of the classroom. In a true Akron style Sunday School, the classes would open these doors completely so that the Superintendent would be in full view to address the whole Sunday School. The doors were then closed for the class time.

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