Address: 5940 Regional Road 73 [Old Highway 16]
Carsonby United Church Location: Pt Lot 9, Con 2
Date and Fabric: 1884 frame church, white clapboard once brick veneered
Known Owners: Carsonby Methodist Church 1884 - 1925 Carsonby United Church 1925- .
This trim white church on the west side of old Highway 16 does not look its age. In fact, it celebrated 100 years of services in 1984.
For a number of years prior to 1884, church services were held in the Orange Hall at Carsonby, with the Methodist minister from North Gower presiding twice a month. Local lay preachers took turns filling in on alternate Sundays. When in about 1883 the community discussed constructing a church building, some wanted it built at Carsonby and some preferred Todd's Corners. Mr. James Craig resolved the matter by donating land midway between the two; as it happens, the site is beside Mud Creek.
Mr. Tom Wright, a local carpenter, was in charge of the original construction, assisted by volunteer labour. It is said that a passerby stopped to enquire of Mr Wright: "What kind of church is this to be?" Impatient to get on with his work, he replied brusquely: "Baptist. They're going to dip them in the crick!"
The datestone of the church reads: C. M. C., A. D. 1884. The C. M. C., of course, stands for Carsonby Methodist Church, but an irreverent local legend, repeated from one generation to the next, interprets it as "Craigs Moffatts and Carsons, All Devils".
The outside of the building was brick veneer, but within a few years the bricks began falling off and had to be replaced with the present white wooden clapboards. The brick was used to line the walls of Todd's Corners School at 1811 Century Road, q.v. Inside the church, there were pews at the side of the pulpit where the present choir loft is located. The inside was plastered and there was a long vestibule with swinging doors.
This arrangement was modified around 1906 when the doors were removed and an archway opened into the sanctuary. The plaster was removed from the walls as well and replaced with v-joint boards. The front was raised to accommodate the choir, organ and pulpit, and the addition of a communion rail and velvet curtain added a sense of beauty and dignity to the interior.
During the 1920's and 1930's, few alterations were made in the overall appearance of the building. Sheds for horses and rigs were built at the time of construction, but with no additional land around it, beautifying the surroundings was impossible. However, in the mid-1940's, the Reverend A.Y. Robertson who was serving in the Pastoral Charge at the time, foresaw the need for additional land. Through the generosity of Dr. H.B. Moffatt, he was able to secure an additional half acre on the north-westerly side.
Mr. Robertson was instrumental also in initiating a desire among members to install memorial windows, which in subsequent years have added much to the beauty of the sanctuary. A porch was built about this time as well, which helped to keep the building more comfortable in winter. Landscaping work followed as trees, shrubs and flowers were planted.
Discussions concerning the enlargement of facilities had frequently been heard, but it was not until 1964 that a definite decision was made. Action was sparked by the knowledge that the widening of Highway 16 would require the moving of the church, since most of the frontal area was on highway property. The relocation was made without incident, much to the relief of many who questioned the strength of the underlying supports. With the church safely moved, a decision was taken to build an adjoining hall and Sunday School room. Mr Percy Sadler was hired to do the work and when completed, the new addition became a source of pride and satisfaction to all concerned. 57
57 after Carsonby: A Community History, op. cit. and Cedric McEwen: Carsonby United Church 1664 - 1984 One Hundred Years in Retrospect, published by the Centennial Committee of Carsonby United Church, which contains a great deal more information about the history of the church