Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Clarence United Baptist Church

In yesterday's post I was writing about my admiration for some of the more humble architecture which can be found in Annapolis County. Today I have decided to go in a different direction. Over the past few weeks I have been spending some time in Clarence, Nova Scotia working on a new collection which has been donated to the O'Dell House Museum. I will have much more on this collection in future posts. When we were wrapping up our work this afternoon I decided to make a short side trip to get a handful of pictures of the Clarence United Baptist Church. This is a building I have known about for some time but I had never taken the opportunity to get any pictures until today. I am happy that I did stop because I was quickly reminded that this is one of the most attractive churches in Nova Scotia.

Years ago I remember chatting with the gentleman who played the role of the Lutheran pastor when I worked at Upper Canada Village. Like many of the people who work in living history sites, Pat was an interesting person. Living history interpreters tend to be an eccentric lot. While in character, he thought it a great joke to sit in the parlour of his house and muse that he wished that the Anglicans next door would tear down their church and build "something tasteful in the Gothic Style". Well, this particular church would have met his requirements.

The church in Clarence was built in 1853 to replace a smaller structure built in 1810. In an early example of adaptive reuse, the 1810 church was turned into a carpenter's shop for the builder of the later church, Charles B. Clark. The building itself is a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture. While the windows in this church are not ornate stained glass, they are wonderful examples of the Gothic arch. It is these windows which give this church so much of its charm. Another distinctive element of the church is the open tower with an exposed bell. In a nod of the head to the Classical Style, this tower features simple Doric columns on all four sides. This feature greatly lightens the appearance of the building. The lot where the church sits features mature maple trees on each side. From the front of the church you have a sweeping view across the floor of the Annapolis Valley to the South Mountain.

If you happen to be travelling through the Annapolis Valley, I would recommend taking a trip through Clarence. Not only does it have one of the most attractive churches in Nova Scotia but, it may be one of the loveliest farming communities in the province.

All for now,

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