Alma Baptist Church

Title

Alma Baptist Church

Church Name

Alma Baptist Church

Church Association

Albert Association

Province

New Brunswick

County

Albert County

Address

4069 Scenic Drive

Status

Active

Date

Built 1899

Historical Information

While Alma Baptist Church congregation was established in 1859, this present structure (2022) wasn't built for another forty years in 1899.

While the church presents an asymmetrical profile from the street, it is actually symmetrical about the bell tower, an ell with the tower tucked into the inside of the ell. Eschewing Gothic for a more contemporary architectural style, the architect chose gabled windows for the church, each with a thin hood. At each gable peak, including those of the cross gabled belfry roof, is a sawn decorative panel with intricate scrollwork. The belfry itself has gabled vent openings all around, some now missing the same architectural detailings. On the peak of its roof stands a tall, thin, wood shingle clad spire with a ball finial, from which emanates the shaft of a weathervane.

The tower has four distinct sections: the bottom section ends at the sanctuary's eaves, with the sloping roof wrapping around it; the second section has gabled windows in two sides and ends at the belfry bottom with a wraparound eave; the third section is the belfry; while the fourth is the spire. In the sanctuary's gable peaks, behind the decorative panels, is a section of decorative diamond and truncated scalloped shingles atop a moulding with a gable shape or motif.

This church marks a transitional phase in Baptist church architecture around the turn of the twentieth century from a symmetrical design, usually in the Gothic Revival style, with a centrally placed steeple on the gable end, to an asymmetrical design with the steeple place usually on the side of the structure. Many of these churches, including Alma Baptist, with an asymmetrical design are also based on a modified “Akron Plan,” so named because it was first used in Akron, Ohio in 1867. This design abandoned the traditional long, straight, and narrow sanctuary with a central aisle in favor of a shallower and wider sanctuary with a sloping floor and pews which sweep in a half-circle and are broken into three sections. The purpose of these features was to enable everyone to see and hear clearly in a time when sound and projection systems were nonexistent.

This church has continued to maintain much of its original architectural embellishments and features that set this building apart from others in the region. Many character defining elements, such as the gingerbread detailing below the peak on the gable end and the detail on the steeple, are features found

on no other building in the region. The building still holds its stained-glass windows, and the use of gothic 90-degree points can be found throughout this building, including the pointed windows and architectural embellishments on the facades of the structure.

Information provided by the church and Waymarking.

Files

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Citation

“Alma Baptist Church,” Atlantic Baptist Built Heritage Project , accessed December 2, 2022, https://atlanticbaptistheritage.omeka.net/items/show/357.

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