'It was pretty rickety': Angus United Church manse demolished

·2 min read

The manse may be gone but the house of God remains on Jonas Street.

The old minister’s house that sat derelict, behind the Angus United Church on Jonas Street, was demolished on Jan. 27. Although another Angus church has 1,000 signatures on a petition to save it from the same fate, only memories were lost when the United old homestead was destroyed.

“It was pretty rickety,” said Jim Richardson, Angus United treasurer, after the claw of the bulldozer tore through bedroom walls as if they were made of paper.

Richardson said the small house beside the church had been rented out for decades. Nobody in the congregation could remember exactly when it went from being a house for the minister’s family to a rental property.

“In fact, we have trouble trying to find out when it was built. It was before World War Two,” he said.

The congregation is comprised of seniors who haven’t been gathering since COVID-19 shuttered most places of worship last spring, he said.

On a Facebook page dedicated to saving the Zion Presbyterian Church on Margaret Street, John Cook Jr. reminisced about living in the United minister’s house when he was about four years old.

“I’m not sad to see it torn down,” said Cook Jr. “I’m sure the house has seen better days. But it was always a constant reminder of a good time in my life whenever I got the chance to drive by it.”

Around the corner on King Street, the Zion Presbyterian Church has a stronger connection to the community. Although shuttered in 2018, Utopia resdient Jessie Milan has filled pages with signatures asking Essa Township to deny Winstar Development’s plans to build a 26-unit town home subdivision in its place.

In December, Milan told Simcoe.com many of the local white pine trees used in the church were similar to those sent to the United Kingdom to build ships for the Royal Navy.

After returning to Angus after a decade, Lindsay Lou Reid said she’s disappointed Angus seems to be turning into another bedroom community for Toronto.

“It would have been nice if they turned it into a daycare or some kind of community centre – something to actually do in this town,” she said of possible Zion church demolition.

Winstar Development has submitted an application to rezone Zion’s church lands from institutional to low-density residential.

Comments from the public must be received by the township by Jan. 29 at 4:30 p.m.

- With files from Brad Pritchard Alliston Herald

Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance