Visiting the Church of St Paul, Philipsburg, Quebec: Gothic Revival structure dating from 1897
A 19th century story of strong winds and demolition
This building in Gothic Revival style and executed mainly in red brick, dates from 1897. Features include the familiar Gothic-style pointed windows, recurring buttresses, a slate roof, and a wooden bell-tower.
However, both in terms of the building and the congregation for which it was built, it draws from an earlier, 19th century Anglican presence in Philipsburg, which forms part of St. Amand West / Saint-Amand-Ouest, Quebec / Québec. This municipality is located in the Brome-Missisquoi region / Région Brome-Missisquoi.
A bilingual, historical panel near the church building gives various details, though not the name of the architect. However, many names are indeed given of Anglican clergymen, apparently formerly prominent, who were involved in various activities relating to the building such as its sponsoring, stone laying, and consecration. One of these 19th century gentlemen is somewhat quaintly described as The Right Reverend George Jehosaphat Mountain, who is recorded as having performed the consecration of a previous building in 1846, materials from which were incorporated into the 1897 structure.
The history of earlier buildings used by the Anglican congregation at Philipsburg is rather interesting. (In fact, it might even be described as somewhat exciting.)
A wooden structure, with a tower, dating from c. 1811, blew down in 1843.
Its replacement building — the one inaugurated in 1846 by the quaintly named ecclesiastical gentleman, described above — was a very large building. One assumes that this edifice was expected to last the congregation for much longer than the earlier, wooden structure, which met its end through the adversity of the weather.
Alas, it was not to be, because this was to reckon without the determination of The Reverend Frank Allen, who insisted it was too big, and ordered its demolition in 1895.
The new building, erected in 1897, thus accorded with The Reverend Frank Allen's more modest vision. The smaller, Gothic Revival structure, visible today, was built partly by cannibalizing the materials used in the previous building (although whether the concept of 'cannibalizing' would strictly have been part of a 19th century Anglican clergyman's expected vocabulary may remain in some doubt).
June 8, 2012
Also worth seeing
Chambly (distance: 61.8 kilometres); here the Fort Chambly National Historic Site / Lieu Historique National du Fort-Chambly, is located.
Fairfield , Vermont, USA (distance: 42.1 kilometres); the President Chester Arthur State Historic Site is located here.
How to get there: Air Canada flies to Montreal (Aéroport international Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau de Montréal ) from Toronto-Pearson, and from New York-Newark and New York-La Guardia, with wide connections. Car rental is available at Montréal-Trudeau airport. VIA Rail maintains regular services with Toronto and Windsor. Road access to Philipsburg is via the A-10 and Route 133; distance between Montreal / Montréal and Philipsburg : 83.1 kilometres. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please consult with appropriate consular sources regarding border-crossing arrangements for travellers of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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