Greenstone Heritage Building Sold

Inside the historic Geraldton Church
Inside the historic Geraldton Church

Greenstone Historical Society Seeks Artifacts

GREENSTONE, Ontario –   The Municipality of Greenstone has accepted a bid to purchase its only designated heritage building, the Ukrainian  Church/Museum.  Located at 523 First Street East, Geraldton Ward, the building dates back to about 1950, and has not functioned as a Roman Catholic Church for decades.

In the early ’90s, the then Town of Geraldton replaced the deteriorating wooden foundations with a concrete basement.  The one-story structure is crammed with artifacts and some non-church-related antiques.

Greenstone Chandelier
Chandelier inside Church

The Municipality turned down the bid for the property by Greenstone Historical Society.  On Monday, August 12th, a delegation from the Society addressed the regular Council Meeting to request custody of the building’s contents.

Inside the historic Geraldton Church
Inside the historic Geraldton Church

President Edgar Lavoie stated that he personally was comfortable with two local business people turning the building into a residence.  Most heritage buildings are living entities in that the tenants maintain the premises and  integrate the structure into community life.  The Society was created last year, and is not in a position to sink funds into the property’s upkeep, or to create a museum immediately.

Historical View of Church in Geraldton
Historical View of Church in Geraldton

Lavoie stated that Greenstone Historical Society strongly believes that the contents of the building should be preserved and exhibited in a future community museum.  The contents include framed religious pictures, locally-crafted wooden pews, prayer books, and items associated with the altar and pulpit areas.

“Such items,” said Lavoie in his address, “played a significant role in the religious life and the life of an important ethnic group of this community.”

Church Bell Still in Steeple

The bell, cast in in France, blessed in 1949, still hangs in the steeple.  It was donated to the church by Bill Dawd, one of the celebrated co-discoverers of the base metal mines at Manitouwadge.  The Dawd family still have ties to this region.

The Municipality has allowed the Church of the Holy Cross, a Ukrainian Catholic church in Thunder Bay, to select and take away a number of items in the Geraldton church.  Greenstone Historical Society has prepared a list of items it would be prepared to take custody of.

ln the discussion among members of Council, Jay Daiter, Nakina Ward Councillor, and Jane Jantunen, Longlac Ward Councillor, pointed out that the offer of sale did not specify that the property was offered complete with contents.  When the agreement of sale is drawn up, it is solely within the discretion of the Municipality to exclude the contents, even items attached to the building such as the chandelier and the bell.

In response to a question, Lavoie assured Council that the Society had a facility in which to store the building’s contents.

Mayor Renald Beaulieu said that Council would take the Society’s position under advisement and keep them informed.