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Page Index of A History of Portage la Praire
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I t was not long before the settlers felt the need of a place of worship. Thus, they decided on building a church, each family promising to give a certain number of logs. These were cut and hauled to the spot that was picked as the most central location, some being rafted down the river, others being drawn by ox and cart.
When all materials were ready the settlers gathered together and built a log building which they latticed with willows from the bush. The lime used in the plaster was limestone picked up on the prairie and burned on a lime kiln, especially made for the purpose. The lumber used for the ceiling, floor and outer siding, was all "whip sawn" and piled in piles in such a manner that fires were built under them to dry the lumber. Even the shingles were sawn by these settlers. In addition, each family supplied material to build their own pew.
The chancel was carved by knife by one of the settlers. Around the top of the chancel this man carved approximately two hundred crosses. These clearly show that they are hand worked, but we must remember they were carved in oak.
A baptismal font was placed at the entrance. A large bell, which was donated by the Hudson's Bay Co., and brought from York Factory, was placed in the tower.
Our church was completed. It was consecrated by Bishop Anderson and given the name of St. Anne's.
This church was built under the supervision of Archdeacon Cochrane and is now the second oldest church west of the great lakes. So here it stands, a few hundred yards from the dusty, busy, bustling highway, a fitting monument to those who lie buried in its churchyard - the pioneers of our west".
CHURCH NEWS (1904)
The Free Press Evening News, June 11, 1904, had this to say about churches in Portage la Prairie: Quote -
"Churches are represented as follows: The Presbyterians, Metho dists, Baptists, Episcopalians, Disciples of Christ, Salvation Army and Roman Catholic. Within a very few years five of these denominations have erected beautiful structures of handsome architectural design.
The Presbyterian edifice, which was built at a cost of over $25,000.00 four years ago, is this year being enlarged and a costly new pipe organ has been ordered and will be placed in the church during the summer. Its pastor is Rev. G. Arnold, and the congre gation is one of the strongest and largest of that denomination in the West.