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Trail Blazers: A cherished landmark 103 years later

Trail Blazers is a weekly feature in partnership with the Trail Museum and Archives
Construction on what is now the Trail United Church began in July 1920. Photo: Trail Historical Society

by Sarah Benson-Lord

Trail Museum and Archives

Although not pristine quality, this image captures one of only two in the collection showing the construction of the beautiful Trail United Church on Pine Avenue.

We head back to April 1921 for Trail Blazers this week.

The United Church of Canada was actually formed in 1925, which saw the “union” of the Congregationalist, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches.

In Trail, the Presbyterians and Methodists were well-represented, each denomination with its own bricks and mortar structure in which to worship.

Both churches were situated along Pine Avenue at that time and were built in the late 1890s.

With the rapid growth of the city, the Presbyterian congregation began construction of the new church at Pine Avenue and Eldorado Street.

Construction of the church featuring a 50-foot tower began that fall.

Street architectural design is attributed to Trail architect Norman Emms Read, who invited construction tenders province-wide in July 1920.

It was officially dedicated in December 1921 at a cost of $32,000.

With talks between the three denominations occurring at a national level, it was on June 10, 1925 that all three amalgamated as one.

The Knox Presbyterian Church thus became the Knox United Church, and eventually the Trail United Church in the 1980s.

The congregation was a generous one, with early capital projects including a two-manual electric pneumatic Woodstock pipe organ costing $6,000, the additional tubular chimes, and of course, the beautiful memorial windows celebrating Hope, Victory, Peace, and Devotion.

The manse was added in 1936, then replaced in 1960 by the adjoining and busy facility we see today.

The church remains very active, supporting community outreach, a food bank, a warming/cooling centre, fundraising concerts, Kootenay Festival of the Arts performances, and of course, church services, nearly 103 years later.

One of Trail’s most unique and cherished buildings, this heritage structure is most definitely a Trail landmark.

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Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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