“Cornerstones” were articles that appeared in the Sunday edition of the Calgary Herald between 1997 and 2000. The following article appeared December 21, 1997.
Grace Presbyterian Church
• 1009 5th Avenue S.W.
• Built: 1912 -1913
• Architect: Smith and Gemmell of Toronto
• Original cost: $122,648 (including the site and furnishings)
• Construction materials: Sandstone
• Architectural style: Gothic. "Nearly square in plan, has equally gabled facades on all elevations."
• Lot purchased from Hudson's Bay Company for $12,000.
• New church replaced wooden structure (924 12th Avenue S.W.) originally built July 1905 for $2,000.
• Reverend Alex Esler and Thomas Humpheries, Clerk of the Session, travelled to major Canadian cities from Winnipeg to Montreal to investigate modern church building design. The plans submitted by Toronto architects Smith and Gemmell were selected.
• $60,000 of the funding for the 1,200 seat church was pledged while $75,000 was raised by mortgage.
• Cornerstone laid June 14th 1912 by the Right Reverend R.P. MacKay.
• The building was formally opened July 27th, 1913 and dedicated by the Reverend William Patterson. The church tower and basement were not completed at the time.
• 1923 - regular radio broadcasts of Sunday morning services began.
• The 1930s were difficult years financially and although membership held at 1050 the Sunday school enrolment declined from 548 in 1932 to 283 by 1939.
• In 1939 the tower was completed with funds donated by the Gunn family, and dedicated as Gunn Memorial Tower in memory of Dr. Gunn for his untiring work and financial contributions to the church.
• 1939 - the Knight Memorial Bell was installed in the tower by Mrs. Rebeccah Knight and dedicated in 1940 in memory of her husband and son.
• By 1948 the mortgage on the 1913 structure was fully paid, the church redecorated, the organ renovated and repaired.
• By 1951 Sunday school enrolment had risen to 600 children and extensive alterations were made to the church hall in order to accommodate the children's classes and provide additional meeting room space.
• 1954 the gymnasium was renovated. The annual congregational dinners have been held there over the years.
• In the 1950s renowned Alberta wood carver Niels Weismose, created and carved a new facing for the Chamber Organ. A portion of the carving included the two symbols of the Presbyterian faith, the Open Bible and the Burning Bush. During the 1984 restoration of the organ, these carvings were moved to the Sanctuary walls.
• Max Bell, John Snowden, Dr. Morley, Stuart Aitken were among many fine Calgarians who have been associated with Grace Presbyterian Church.
• In 1962 construction of the Memorial Chapel was completed and dedicated in November. Built entirely through donations and particularly the Francis F. Reeve Foundation. According to a pamphlet entitled An Outline of the 60 Year History of Grace
• Presbyterian Church, the Chapel had many unusaul features; "the chancel rail set with wood from churches across Canada and throughout the world, the stained glass window designed by Janet Middleton, the Baptismal font carved by Katie Ohe and the small tracker organ from Germany.
• In 1984 -1986 the chancel organ (originally built by the Canadian Pipe Organ Company of St. Hyacinthe, Quebec) and the sanctuary were completely restored.
• Exterior sandstone design has been retained over the years with few major alterations.
• 1993 -1994 the exterior was repaired and restored.