eugenia united church
Built 1895-1897 by orangeville Presbytery,
on land donated by J. Robert Hogg
159 Canrobert Street
Eugenia (named for Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III) first reached prominence in the Gold Rush of 1853, short-lived because the shiny bits panned out of the river actually were iron pyrite (aka Fools Gold).The village was later settled by immigrants largely of Scottish descent – i.e. staunch Protestants, perhaps attracted by the fact that Artemesia Township was declared a Wesleyan Mission. After the Orange Hall was built in 1874, Methodists held services there, and later on so did Presbyterians – all of them friendly with each other and working together on events like Orange Day Celebrations aka the Glorious 12th ( of July). In 1882 Methodists built their own church. Presbyterians broke ground in 1895 and members of the congregation worked together to erect the building in the following two years. As a whimsical touch, large foundation blocks containing iron pyrite were donated by various residents who finally saw no further reason for hoarding this mistaken treasure. Brick was brought by horse-drawn wagon from the Bowler Brickworks near Markdale. Reverend Wells provided the red and blue colored glass still in place today. All interior wood work, pews and other fittings were also crafted by church members. When church union created the United Church of Canada (1925), the two already friendly congregations joined to become the Eugenia United Church, which remains an important historical landmark and cultural hub for the hamlet of Eugenia. (The former Methodist Church was dismantled around 1940 to accommodate widening of the road).
A simple rectangular structure in keeping with protestant tastes having a steep gable roof is largely clad in single-layer stretcher-bond red-brick, much enhanced by 6 rows of buff brick above the glittering foundation blocks and in a decorative band across the windows. The pointed Gothic arches are also skillfully delineated using carefully shaped contrasting brick. It is an unusual and imaginative feature that the double-hung windows with their interesting wood tracery will pull down from their pointed top. The red and blue glass while simple in concept greatly enhances the interior. Unfortunately, the decorative bell tower & gingerbread trims have not survived the snow and blow of Grey County winters.
That the building was constructed entirely by volunteer labor and largely with donated materials is a testimony to the pioneering spirit of early settlers, as is the ongoing cooperation of the two congregations who in 1896 hosted an Orange Day supper for 200 in the unfinished Presbyterian basement. Now having a modern kitchen, the church basement continues to turn out church suppers and the annual pancake breakfast for Gold Rush Days. The church along with the main floor meeting room (added 1987) provides space for meetings & concerts. Eugenia United & sister Parish St. Johns Flesherton also operate the local food bank.