Apr 6, 2012

St. John's Presbyterian Church

I must have passed by this little church in downtown Medicine Hat countless times in my life without ever giving it a second glance.  What I hadn't realized was that St. John's was actually one of the first churches in Southern Alberta, when the Hat was nothing more than a tent town.  In 1883 the church was merely a tent itself, and in 1884 a wooden structure was built that also served as the town's school.  It was in 1902 that St. John's was rebuilt out of brick, with sandstone blocks around its foundation.

Walking around the church it becomes clear how long St. John's Presbyterian has actually been here.  It's not because it's in bad shape, but because of the decades old graffiti left on those sandstone blocks.  I captured a few noticeable carvings, one dated from 1923, the other from 1941. It was fascinating to discover that human element attached to the building, even if it was technically from vandals.

St. John's underwent an expansion in the early 1950s, and again in the 1960s, which changed the appearance of the building with a new entrance and hall.  The building now features turn of the century classic architecture mixed with post-war modernism.  As the oldest church in Medicine Hat, St. John's is so much more than just another building, it's really a history lesson in the growth of the city and the evolution of downtown. 

St. John's Presbyterian Church ca. 1910

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