Why Save the Irondale Church?
The Irondale Historical Society obtained the Preservation Works! Report from Catherine Nasmith, Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. This report indicates the reasons that the Irondale Church should be preserved with a heritage designation.
The Irondale Historical Society's tenacity persuaded the Minden Hills Council to pass a by-law in April 2011, giving the Irondale Church a heritage designation.
The History of the Irondale Church property
Charles Jonathon Pusey laid out the village of Irondale. Charles had it registered in March 1887. View the registered plan here. The church property fronts Elm Street and backs onto Railway Street. On the plan and legally this property is known as Village Lots numbers Three, Four, Five & Six in Block H on the east side of Elm Street and Village Lots Three, Four, Five & Six in block H on the west side of Railway Street.
Charles' wife Ruth, felt the community needed a church - a place for spiritual guidance as well as a place for the community to gather and celebrate. The Irondale Church was built entirely of Pusey money. It is rather unusual to have a church built for a community using one person's money. Mrs. Ruth Pusey's obituary (as published in the Peterborough Examiner 1892) states "She was a member of the English Church, and showed her fidelity by procuring through her own effects and largely by her own means, the erection of a new church at Irondale, now nearly completed."
At the present time (Nov 2013) the facts concerning this property are blurry from 1887 to 1901. The facts we do know are:
- In 1901 the property was owned by the Township of Snowdon. Quit Claim Deed 1241, dated 28 Nov 1901, shows the Township of Snowdon selling the property to the Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Toronto for $50. The legal property description in the sale is as follows - 'those certain parcels or tracts of land and premises situate, lying and being in the Township of Snowdon in the Provisional County of Haliburton and Province of Ontario aforesaid being composed of Village Lot Numbers Three, Four, Five and Six in Block H together with Elm Street on the west side of said Village Lot Numbers Three, Four, Five and Six in Block H aforesaid, and East of Lot Numbers Three, Four, Five, Six and Seven in Block G, from the southern boundary thereof to the line intersecting Lot Numbers Two and Three aforesaid in said Blocks H & G, together with a right of way in, to and over the balance of Elm Street aforesaid from the said point between Lots Two and Three aforesaid to the southern boundary of Main Avenue; as shown in the Plan of Irondale, surveyed and made by Thomas A. Hewson Esquire, Provisional and Dominion Land Surveyor for one Charles J. Pusey, and filed in the Registry office for the said Provisional County of Haliburton at Minden on the Ninth day of March A.D. 1887 at 10:30 am and being part of Lot Number Thirty in the Fifth Concession of the Township of Snowdon aforesaid said premises hereby conveyed containing three thousand two hundred and thirty four square yards, being one acre and a fraction of an acre.'
- In 1979, the church community wishes to build an adjoining hall on the church. However, their is insufficient property available. Mr. Hancock donates a piece of property to the Township of Snowdon to enable the addition to be built.
- In February 1980, the Township of Snowdon sells the donated property - namely 'all that part of Lot 30, Concession V, in the Township of Snowdon, in the Provisional County of Haliburton, designated as part 1 on a Plan of Survey deposited in the Registry Office for the Registry Division of Haliburton as Plan 19R-2029' - to the Incorporated Synod of the Diocese of Toronto for the princely sum of $1.00.
- The community rallies together and has the hall built, complete with an indoor washroom, light kitchen facilities, tables and chairs.
- August 2010, the Anglican Diocese decides the Irondale Church is not viable anymore and closes the doors.
- Initial talks between a community group and the Diocese indicates a willingness to work together, allowing the community group to purchase the property.
- The Irondale Historical Society initiates the heritage designation discussion with the Township of Minden Hills.
- Talks break down between the community group and the Diocese. The property is listed with a real estate broker.
- An individual files an injunction against the Diocese - postponing a pending sale, in August 2011. The injunction is filed on behalf of the Bark Lake Aboriginal Tribe.
- August 2012, the court case is closed, the Bark Lake Aboriginal Tribe purchases the property known as the Irondale Church.
- A not for profit organization - Bark Lake Cultural Developments - is formed to oversee the Irondale Church property.
- The organization known as Bark Lake Cultural Developments receives charitable status in October 2013.