History of the United Church in Golden, BC

Grace Methodist Church

On June 25, 1942 the Golden Star ran the following article, submitted by the Rev. A.C. Pound, outlining the early history of Golden and of the United Church. The article had been prepared for the 46th anniversary service of the church held on June 21, 1942.

The first settlers came to Golden before the railway in 1884, over the old tote road, via Hospital Falls. It required five days by horse and wagon from the end of the steel at Laggan (Lake Louise). The road was so rough that Mrs. Conner and her baby were thrown off into the brush on one occasion. Among them were Mr. and Mrs. Archer (the parents of Mrs. E. Neville) and Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Conner.

The first building in Golden was that of Licksey Trombley’s hotel, known as the “Canada House” in 1884.

The first private house was that of Harry Moody’s log building erected in 1864. It still stands just west of Vaughan Kimpton’s residence.

Miss Store from Victoria was the first regular school teacher.

The first mixed train ran in 1886, twice weekly. There was no water provided on those old colonist coaches and the passengers had to melt snow for washing.

The first steamboat was built by Capt. F.P. Armstrong and was in use by June 1, 1886. It had a displacement of 30 tons and was christened the “Duchess” by Miss Carrie Huckle.

Before any churches were erected in the ‘80s visiting clergymen came from Fort Steele and Donald and held services where the crowd was – in a bar room, or a waiting room of the hotel, and also in a small elongated building called the “Caboose,” located near the present Golden Lodge. Under the superintendencey of Rev. James Robertson, D.D., the first congregational meeting of the Presbyterians was held in the Donald Station on Sept. 26, 1886, and arranged for the arrival of their first minister, Rev. A.H. Cameron in 1886.

The second Presbyterian minister to serve this district was Rev. Angus Robertson, who arrived in Donald in 1889. His district extended from Rogers Pass to Laggan (Lake Louise) and from the 49th parallel to the Arctic Circle. He died on Aug 30, 1890, and his memory was held in such high esteem that a marble tablet was erected to his honor by loving friends in St. Andrew’s church at Golden.

The history of the Golden Presbyterian Church Mission began with the ministry of Rev. W.R. Ross in 1893, who reports that 26 Sabbath services were held and the collections amounted to $37.50 that year.

At a joint meeting of representatives early in 1895 it was decided that Golden should raise $225. for a new church and have one evening service per month. According to the records of the contractor, James Henderson Sr, work was begun on this church in November, 1895.

On March 14 the following year the stove was purchased, so that this church must have been opened in the spring of 1896 – 46 years ago. From the church and manse fund $300 was secured. The contract price was $212. In 1896 the Methodist became a separate mission in Golden. This year they erected a church on the north side of the railway, which was later known as the “Orange Hall.”

The church near the railway was so noisy that the Methodists decided to build a larger and more conveniently located church. Grace Methodist was erected and officially opened in June 1902.

In May, 1926, the Presbyterian and Methodist congregations joined to form the United Church of Golden.