Monday, August 29, 2011

Abandonment Issues: Gelert Anglican Church

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The small town of Gelert, Ontario was settled in 1860, but boomed virtually overnight in 1878 with the arrival of the Victoria Railway. The town was once known as Little Ireland, Snowdonville, and Minden Station, before being renamed to Gelert in 1879. By the mid 1880's, Gelert's population was approximately 120 people, and the town was a shipping hub for cattle and lumber. Saw, shingle and carpet mills were operating in the area by this time.  The community continued to grow through the 1890's, with the addition of a hotel, a shoemaker, carpenter and wagonmaker, and a second general store. In 1895, the Anglican Church was built.

Farming was not sustainable in this area, and dozens of farms were abandoned in the first decade of the 1900's, for greener pastures in Western Canada. At the same time, the lumber industry was brought to a screeching halt when fire destroyed a majority of the surrounding woodlands. By 1910, Gelert was no longer the thriving bustling community it once was.

The town was never fully abandoned and a small group of residents still call Gelert home. Today, only a few of the old structures still remain. One of them is the Gelert Anglican Church, which is so overgrown that it is barely even visible from the road.

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A small portion of the roof has collapsed, giving Mother Nature a P.O.E. of her own. The floor, which has several holes in it, is leaning heavily to the centre of the tiny church. To my left, the stained glass window is glowing bright, even on this overcast day. The podium, or pulpit, or pedestal, or whatever its called, is just slightly askew, as is the choir leaders podium. There are no hymn books or bibles to be found. Spiderwebs cover almost everything. Raccoon droppings are prevelant inside, as are cigarette butts and beer bottles. God clearly hasn't been here in a while.

Enter at your own risk
enter at your own risk

Please have a seat, thy Lord shall be with thee soon
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The seventh day
The seventh day

In loving memory
In loving memory

It is well
It is well

The webs we weave
The webs we weave

The preacher's daughter
Flock off

Wood you believe
Wood you believe

Halos
Halos

Flocked off
Flocked off

Center stage
center stage

Preaching to the choir
Preaching to the choir

Walk into the light
Walk into the light

Heavenly gate
Heavenly gate

Preaching to the flock
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Branching out
Branching out

Amen.

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*** UPDATE ***
*** July, 2014 ***

Excitement was in the air as we parked opposite the overgrowth that hides the roadside Gelert Church in late June of 2014. That excitement was short lived and followed by a solemn sense of sadness and disappointment. The roof has finally collapsed under the constant barrage of time.

God doesn't live here any longer.

The Great Collapse of the Gelert Anglican Church

click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES

1 comment:

Donna Pugh said...

Fabulous photos of an almost-invisible place in Haliburton County.

The Minden Times printed an article about this church in October 2012 which intrigued me so much I researched the little girl whose name appears on the stained glass window. I'm currently preparing a post for my blog about the Hartles and Scotts and would like to link to your article. Please email me at wgb.familyresearch (at) gmail.com