The steeple of the church at the Blumenfeld & District Heritage Site recently had some much needed and extensive work done. Deterioration of the steeple has been a concern of the committee for several years. The project got the go-ahead after couple contacted them stating they will match donations up to $25,000.
The church was built in 1915 and renovations have been ongoing. All the windows have been replaced, 12 in 2007 costing $20,000 and 17 in 2019 costing just under $49,000. Kendra Volk, secretary of the Blumenfeld & District Heritage Site Committee, said, “We tinned the roof a while back on the steeple. It’s ongoing. The only thing is, we only get volunteer donations, we aren’t supported by the government.”
The steeple still had old cedar shingles on it, which had to be stripped off. The beams inside all needed to be reinforced as everything had shrunk with age.
“There was very little support left up there. They had to refurbish the whole thing,” said Volk. “The posts and beams. The bell is still intact, and we still use it whenever we go there. We ring the bell and that can be heard for miles around, it’s pretty cool.”
Blumenfeld was a community built by the first settlers. The church itself was built out east and shipped to Saskatchewan in pieces and then put together. Volk’s parents were two of the individuals who started the committee after the site was closed in the early 1960s. The original committee was made up of those who have ancestors buried there, and their work eventually paid off when it was made a Heritage Site in 1984.
The church is still used for weddings and funerals. Volk’s daughter was married there, as were children of other committee members and some who have passed on are now buried there.
During the summer, there are tours with the last one this coming Sunday from 2-4 p.m. The Heritage Site is listed in the South Saskatchewan tourist magazine and many stop during the week for a self-tour. An important day for everyone on the committee is the second Sunday in June of each year where people come from far and wide to take part in a pilgrimage to Blumenfeld.
Fundraising is ongoing as the committee is still trying to raise money to pay for the steeple. Next up is work on the chimney. For more information, go to the Blumenfeld & District Heritage Site Facebook page, or they can be contacted via mail at Box 104 Leader, Sask, S0N 1H0.
SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News