V-5-121 Exterior of Kentville church

Although this photograph was taken 40 or 50 years after the dedication, not much would have changed about the exterior of the church since 1915

A Congregational church building was erected at Chipman’s Corner in Cornwallis in 1762 and served to 1874.  Toward the end of the 18th century, the church at Chipman’s Corner was used more by Presbyterians in the area.  With the passing years, the Presbyterian congregations of Canard, Kentville and Lakeville developed from the Chipman’s Corner Presbyterian Congregation.  The church at Chipman’s Corner was torn down in 1874.

The Presbyterian Congregation at Chipman’s Corner experienced a division in 1859 so a new Presbyterian Church was erected in Kentville.  St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church was dedicated on May 22, 1859.  In 1911, this Presbyterian Church and lot were sold to the Royal Bank.  Arrangements were made for the Presbyterians to worship in the Methodist Church until they had a new church building.  The Presbyterians worshipped in St. Stephen Methodist Church from 1912-1915.

The cornerstone of the new Presbyterian Church was laid on July 8, 1914. The Presbyterian Witness reports the following: “On Wednesday morning, the cornerstone of St. Paul’s Church, Kentville, was laid by the Moderator, under the most auspicious circumstances. Eloquent and interesting addresses were given by Dr. Falconer, Dr. Pollack, and Prof. Kent; and afterwards the members of the Presbytery were splendidly entertained at the manse by the congregation of Kentville” (The Presbyterian Witness, July 11, 1914, Vol. LXVII, No. 28). Later that same day, the cornerstone for the Presbyterian church in Wolfville was also laid. The writer of the newspaper article reporting on the dedications could not contain his excitement and closed the article with this optimistic outlook: “Thus was closed a series of meetings of unusual interest and importance, which will unquestionably greatly promote the prosperity of our cause in the beautiful Cornwallis Valley.”

The new St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church was opened January 17, 1915. Once again, the Presbyterian Witness reported on the occasion:

“Last Sabbath was a great day in the history of the Presbyterian congregation of Kentville, N.S., when their beautiful new church was dedicated for public worship. The special preacher of the occasion was Professor Kent of Pine Hill College. At the morning service, the pastor, Rev. R.B. Layton pronounced the words of dedication, the congregation responding. Rev. Mr. Sinclair of St. Stephen’s Methodist Church read the Scripture lesson, and Professor Kent preached a thoughtful and impressive sermon. In the afternoon Rev. J.A. Bell, Canard, Rev. T.C. Mellor, St. James Church, Rev. J.D. Spidell, Baptist, took part of the service.

In the evening Rev. W.H. Spencer, of Waterville, read the lesson and Professor Kent preached. Special music, fitting the occasion was provided by the choir, assisted by friends. A deep impression was made at all the services, culminating at the evening service. The church is situated on Main Street, near the Post Office, and presents a unique appearance. It is built of unhewn red quartzite, mingled with white quartz, obtained nearby, with grey free stone trimmings. The roofing is of asbestos material. The style is early English, with a massive tower on the east side. Beautiful gothic windows and doorway face the street. The wainscoting and ceiling are of white hemlock, the rafters are Douglas fir and are stained and polished. The window and door casing is of oak, the floor is hardwood. The lighting is simple and chaste, consisting of two rows of four lights suspended from the rafters by chains. The lamps are three hundred candle power, and are enclosing in large white Parian ware globes. All the colours harmonize to produce a light brown effect. In the rear is ample accommodation for school and social purposes” (The Presbyterian Witness, Vol. LXVIII, No. 1, January 28, 1915).

The Methodists and Presbyterians of Kentville united in 1923 and continued to use the Presbyterian Church building after the formation of The United Church of Canada in 1925.