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Visiting the former Methodist - now United - Church, Locust Hill, Markham, Ontario: 19th century Gothic solidity

Updated on February 23, 2016
Provincial map of Ontario
Provincial map of Ontario | Source
Locust Hill United Church - Markham, Ontario, Canada.
Locust Hill United Church - Markham, Ontario, Canada. | Source
Rose window, Langres Cathedral
Rose window, Langres Cathedral | Source

With a striking rose window

This solid, building, executed in Gothic style, dates from approximately 1890. Thus, as one might expect with this style, which underwent somewhat a revival in the 19th century, we see pointed arches in profusion at windows, and flying buttresses. Overall, even at this small building, there is a strong sense of solidity.

Interestingly, the main entrance doorway departs from the pointed Gothic arch pattern of the rest of the building by being rounded in shape instead.

A particularly striking feature at this building is a rose window, which in architectural terms draws ultimately from Medieval Gothic influence. (I have supplied, right, a diagram of a rose window, taken from a 19th century architectural manual.)

Over Highway 7 opposite Locust Hill United Church is a cemetery which predates the building. this cemetery was already in use in about 1843. Included among prominent family names of people buried in the United Church cemetery here are members of the Reesor family, for whom a local road is also named, who were of Bernese Swiss extraction (1).

A local member of the Reesor family is said to have possessed a number of locust trees on the property, and this is how the name of the hamlet materialized.

Prior to the organization of the United Church in the 1920s, this church building belonged to Wesleyan Methodists (2).

Locust Hill United Church, and the hamlet of Locust Hill for which it is named, is located in the south-eastern corner of Markham, in Ontario's York Region, at 7668 Highway 7 East, Locust Hill, Markham.

The settlement of Locust Hill came into existence in about 1799. Prior to the suppression of a railroad stop in Locust Hill, the hamlet was relatively thriving as a community. With the huge expansion of Markham in recent years, I wonder whether the eventual destiny of Locust Hill is to become an urban suburb of Markham?

February 23, 2016

Notes

(1) See also: http://reesorfamily.on.ca/ Many of Ontario's European pioneer residents first came to North America via the United States / the 13 Colonies, prior to American Independence.

(2) See also: http://geneofun.on.ca/cems/ON/ONYOR14799

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Map of York Region, Ontario
Map of York Region, Ontario | Source

Also worth seeing

In Locust Hill itself, a few hundred metres to the west of Locust Hill United Church, is a pioneer memorial cairn in honour of the Reesor (originally Rieser) family from Switzerland, of Mennonite persuasion, who in the 18th century sought freedom of conscience in North America.

Also in Markham, i Markham Museum (distance: 6.9 kilometres) incorporates an Historic Village; its archives have strengths in local history.

...

How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. (Distance from Toronto Pearson Airport to 7668 Highway 7 East, Locust Hill, Markham: 46.9 kilometres). Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada

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