Clyde Avenue Baptist Church

Title

Clyde Avenue Baptist Church

Church Name

Clyde Avenue Baptist Church

Church Association

Cape Breton Association

Province

Nova Scotia

County

Cape Breton County

Address

30 Clyde Ave, Sydney Mines, NS

Status

Active

Date

Built 1903

Historical Information

The Clyde Avenue Baptist Church, Sydney Mines was formed after the meeting of eight individuals, in the studio of Samuel Stubbert, around 1895. At this meeting was Murdock Ross, who was a member of Calvary Baptist Church, North Sydney, but gave his counsel and time in the advancement of the cause.

In the beginning, meetings of the congregation were held in the Temperance Lodge, but as the attendance grew it was decided that the informal congregation should officially form and construct a facility dedicated to them. A building was constructed at the cost of $2000, which would be around $48,000 in 2021. The church was officially organized at the same time the building was dedicated and opened on December 20, 1903.

The first pastor to serve at the church was Rev. A. H. Whitman, who remained there for five years. Soon after congregation moved into their church, they petitioned the town to have the sidewalk extended from Main Street to the church, which the town later did. Originally the church did not have electricity, and it was not until 1906 that electric lights were installed, with monetary donations from parishioners. This same year a 32” bell was installed in the steeple which is still (2021) situated in the same spot.

This building appears to be Gothic Revival in style, apparent from the architectural embellishments on the exterior, such as the curved Gothic windows, and medallion window set up high in the middle of the front façade, on the gable end. The asymmetrical design, with the steeple situated on the right side of the building, rather than a symmetrical design with the steeple centrally placed on the gable end, is very common amongst churches built in this era. This stylistic choice was a common trend amongst Baptist churches in Atlantic Canada during the turn, and early part, of the twentieth century. Many churches built in this era, however, are built in the classical design, but this church has architectural details resembling those of earlier constructed churches, perhaps demonstrating the favoured style of the architect or resembling other community facilities in the region. A few features that stand out about this structure are the gothic windows on the left side of the structure, and the unbalanced nature of the windows on the front façade, demonstrated through the uneven spacing between the two gothic windows in relationship to the upper medallion window . This medallion window and its graphic design are unique to this building, and not seen anywhere else. Along with this, the bell-cast roof the steeple with more classical, rectangular windows, demonstrates the merge between the older, Gothic/Greek Revival style churches of a more symmetrical design and that of the Classical style in an asymmetrical design that was gaining popularity during this time.

Added to the structure later, in 1921, was the reception hall, located on the right side of the steeple. It is apparent that it was added later due to the plain rectangular vinyl windows, that stand out when compared to the Gothic windows on the main body of the church. It was not until 1927 that this hall was joined to the main church structure; prior to this the hall was located elsewhere on the property.

In 1964, extensive renovations were madeto the interior front façade, where the pulpit is, baptistry, and front entrance, totalling $6000, which would be around $52,500 in 2021, more than what it cost to complete the church!

The original church was a dark color, perhaps a red, or brown, with white trim, all of which were wooden clad boards, or cedar shakes. After renovations in the 1980’s the church was covered in a white vinyl siding, with aluminum storm windows covering the original wooden framed ones.

When the church was first constructed it has a large, pointed cap, which was later removed, most likely during renovations in the late twentieth century. This steeple, with its original cap, used to form both an impressive physical and picturesque community and streetscape presence.

Information provided by the Calvary Baptist Church, and History of Clyde Avenue United Baptist Church, Clyde Avenue, Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, 1903-1990 by Edwin T. Bruce.

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Citation

“Clyde Avenue Baptist Church,” Atlantic Baptist Built Heritage Project , accessed February 2, 2023, https://atlanticbaptistheritage.omeka.net/items/show/314.

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