Saskatoon

Saskatoon's Knox United asking for help with roof repairs

The caretakers of the 100-year-old Knox United Church, one of Saskatoon’s iconic riverside buildings, is asking city hall for some help keeping the roof sound.

Church makes case for grant under heritage program using historical work records

Knox United needs a new roof and is asking city hall for help. (Dan Kerslake/CBC)

The caretakers of the 100-year-old Knox United Church, one of Saskatoon’s iconic riverside buildings, are asking city hall for some help keeping the roof sound.

They have detailed records stashed away behind the deep red brick walls of Knox United.    

One might not expect to find footnotes in history about roof repairs, but when the shingles high up on the church began to show some wear, there it was in black and white, details of exactly when the work was last done.

Wendell Owen chairs Knox United’s property committee and helped dig into the history books. The lesson they gleaned was that when the church was originally built in 1914, it had a slate roof. They kept reading, said Owen, until they found the answer they were looking for.

"Then in 1954, we found out from going through our records and history book at Knox here it was shingled, so from there as I say it's 60 years, so that's why we are getting it done."

That’s why Knox United is now making an application to city hall’s Municipal Heritage Committee for a grant to help cover at least half the cost of the $100,000 repair job to repair those nearly antique shingles.

The neo-Gothic designed church was declared a heritage property by city council in 2003, and as such, the work on the roof should be eligible for a grant. City council, however, will have to give final approval.

Church remains a vital part of the community

Owen believes there are few who would question the historic value of the church. But he said, he hopes people also place contemporary value on the church and support its upkeep.

"It's used extensively by choral groups and everything throughout the city and we are just hoping we can continue on that way."

According to Owen, the roof is sound for now, and the new shingles can wait until spring.