St. George’s Memorial Church
In 1843, an old general store was converted into St. George’s Memorial Church, located at the northeast corner of King Street and Park Road. By 1852, the congregation had outgrown the small building and they moved to the northeast corner of Centre and John Streets. The new St. George’s Church was bigger and much more elaborate than the first, even though it used many of the materials from the old church. The second St. George’s Church had a tower, a spire, a cornice and other exterior features which gave it a very graceful appearance.
By 1880, the congregation felt the need to establish a permanent Parish Hall and Sunday school. At the same time, the need also arose for the structural frame of the church to be repaired and enlarged. John and William Cowan offered to finance the renovations to the building on the condition that the rest of the congregation would raise funds to build the Sunday school and Parish Hall. After successfully raising the funds, the congregation contracted George Edwards to build the Parish Hall and the school. On June 20, 1880 the Parish Hall was complete and could seat 300 hundred people. It was erected north of the parsonage grounds facing Centre Street. The Sunday school was then opened October 10, 1880. The Cowan Brothers extended the chancel approximately eighteen feet to the east and included a nicely designed gallery across the back of the church. New pews and furniture were installed and the steeple was also reconstructed. The end result was a well repaired church that lasted another forty years.
In 1912, plans to raise funds to build a new church began, and twelve years later the rewards for their pains were realized. The last service in the second St. George’s Church was held on May 9, 1924 and the new church opened for Divine Service on Sunday, May 11, 1924. The new church was fashioned after old English Gothic architecture. Unfortunately, the acoustics in the new church were very poor, and a sounding board was installed over the pulpit. It was not until the public address system was installed that a satisfactory solution was found.
On April 23, 1939, St. George’s Day, the congregation held a service outside in order to dedicate a memorial cairn to the former church that at one time stood in Memorial Park. The memorial was placed where the alter had stood. It reads,
“This stone marks the location of the chancel of St. George’s Church 1852 – 1924 Created by members of the old church April 23, 1939 Rectors Rev J. Pentland 1852 Canon J. R. Worrell 1862 Canon W. Belt 1868 Rev H. B. Owen 1875 Rev I. Middleton 1880 Rev J. M. Talbot 1892 Canon C. R. dePencier 1910.”
Many donations were made by people whose family had been founding members of the church. For example, Fred Cowan donated a stained glass window in memory of his parents and uncles who were members of the church for more than half a century, and St. George’s bells were donated by the Carswell family in Connecticut, in memory of the late Edward Carswell.
St. George’s new Parish Hall was constructed in 1952 and opened September 20 of that year with the laying of the corner stone which reads, “To the Glory and Service of God – 1952.” This new Parish seats approximately 275 people.