I found this gem (that colour!) while on the way to Lloydminster, AB last week. It is located SE of Mannville on a quiet road. It's a tiny site, the church and a couple dozen graves surrounded by trees, blink and you might miss it.
When the railroad came through the area in 1904, group settlement was encouraged, this particular area attracted a lot of English settlers. The area, named Stellaville, quickly established a store, post office and school. As nearby Mannville was along the rail line, it became the larger centre. Stellaville remained a tiny hamlet with a distinct English character, as can be seen in the design of St. Helen's Anglican church. The church was built in the summer of 1912, with the first service being a Thanksgiving service held in October of 1912. One wealthy member of the church, commissioned a stained glass window all the way from Italy. It was said to be the most beautiful stained glass window in the whole Edmonton Diocese. I couldn't find any sign of anything else that was part of the Stellaville community.
The last burial was in 1969 and the last services were held at St. Helen's in the Summer of 1976. The original stained glass window was moved St. Saviours Anglican Church in Vermilion in 1980. I'd like to stop by there to see it in person next time I am up that way.
I don't ever expect to find unlocked doors but the church was open and a guest book was inside, maybe because it is a Historic Site? In any case, I love being able to see inside these places. According to the guest book, it has regular visitors. Before us, the last visitor wrote a note praying for a good harvest.
The church is kept up and looked after thanks to the Stellaville Historical Society. Thanks Stellaville Historical Society!
|A registered Alberta Historic Site in 2000.|
|I would love to have seen the original stained glass window.|
References: HeRMIS; Handwritten history inside the church and on the plaque