The Prince Albert Historical Society wants to reconstruct the Nisbet Church and the Blockhouse along the riverbank west of the Historical Museum. These buildings are some of the oldest in Saskatchewan and the oldest in Prince Albert. Built of local dove-tailed, hewn square logs, the buildings are simple and practical and reflect the look of Prince Albert in its earliest days.
The Church was built by Rev. James Nisbet who, after consulting with the local Indigenous people, chose this area for his Presbyterian Mission in 1866. Nisbet was accompanied by Métis missionaries, George Flett and John McKay and their wives and families. Nisbet was also a carpenter and erected the log structure as a combined school and church in 1872. His mission focused on providing education and agriculture as well as religious instruction.
The Blockhouse was originally constructed as a stable for William Maclise, Prince Albert’s first lawyer, who arrived here in 1881. During the 1885 conflict with the Métis that took place in the Batoche area this building became a blockhouse, a place of defense which could also house military equipment. Gun slits were cut into the walls and the building formed part of the fortifications around the Presbyterian Church and manse surrounded by walls of piled cordwood.
To accomplish the task of reconstructing these buildings on the river bank the Historical Society needs to raise $200,000. This will pay for concrete flooring, new roofs, and some new logs to replace those rotten from age. The Historical Society will operate the two buildings in the summer season with programming and displays that reflect their separate functions. The church will be available for small wedding ceremonies as well.
We have received a bequest of just over $25,000 from the estate of Phil West, longtime historical society board member, city councillor and lawyer in Prince Albert. This will start our fundraising efforts. We appreciate your contributions both big and small. Thank you to all.
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