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One of the first tasks undertaken by the Archdeacon and his flock was the building of a church. While it was under construction, services were held in Jack Anderson's home which stood on the north bank of Crescent Lake at the foot of present 4th St. S.E. It was a 20 ft. square log building with planks laid on blocks for seats. A table at the front served as pulpit, desk and altar.
When the church was finally completed it was a structure 70 ft. long by 30 ft. wide and 14 ft. high. Rev. A. C. Garrioch describes it in his book, "First Furrows". Quote: "At the north end was a ten foot square tower sixty feet high with a spire surmoun ted by a cross. The walls of the church were of oak logs hewn on two sides. The church and tower were clapboarded and whitewashed and the roof of the church covered with unpainted oak shingles. Inside, the walls were plastered with clay and a mixture of finely chopped hay, and whitewashed. There was no chancel, a feature of all churches built in Archdeacon Cochrane's time, but about 10 ft. of the south end was railed off for this purpose. Two pulpits, 8 ft. high, stood in each corner of this enclosure. A communion table stood in the centre. The pews were made entirely by the people themselves. Each pew had two heavy oak ends with curved tops, and book rests and kneeling boards were attached".
The site of this church was described as being "close by the river and east, south of where the City of Portage la Prairie now stands."
Archdeacon Cochrane wrote a letter to the Church Missionary Society in 1854 which is historically enlightening: Quote - "In the spring of 1850 you authorized me, by the sanction of the Commit tee, to commence a station towards the west, to the south of Fairford. In the month of March I sent tobacco to the principal Indians who wandered over that quarter, to meet me at certain places in the month of May. At the beginning of this month I set out, with a certain party who were well acquainted with all the rivers and creeks which run into the Assiniboia. (Assiniboine) We travelled as far west as Beaver Creek, and found no suitable location beyond Portage la Prairie, about 75 miles west of the Red River Settlement. To this place we turned our attention, and determined here to plant a settle ment.
I went in June 1851, and fixed on a location, and contracted for a schoolroom. The timber was then cut and hauled to the place, but owing to heavy rains and sickness, with the want of provisions, the original schoolroom was not built, but a smaller one, sufficient to accommodate 40 children. In the winter of 1851-52, the Bishop kindly came forward and assisted to keep the school together.