Colborne Pentecostal Church – 89 Division St.

(1979)
Roll No. not available – Cramahe Township Ontario

Former Apple Storage Barn

Cramahe township was an apple growing centre from its earliest days. Though diminished today, there are many acres of apple trees in the area and there were and are buildings, usually very close to rail lines, used to store apples. In 2015/6 such a facility, steps from 89 Division Street, was torn down as surplus to use and a source of insurance liability, if left standing.

This building in serving the purpose of faith, has preserved an important part of the township’s history.

The work of the Colborne Pentecostal Church is considered by the congregation to be a continuation of that of the Castleton Pentecostal Church which dates back to 1937, when the church was begun by Rev. Charles Rotz. The Castleton Pentecostal Church congregation met in the building which still stands at 2208 Spring Street in Castleton. It has been renovated for residential use and a number of additions have been constructed.

The congregation faced its ups and downs and eventually the church was closed, only to be reopened by popular demand in January, 1975, by Rev. Jack White. It was he who recommended to the church authorities that headquarters be moved to the more densely populated centre of Colborne. In the fall of 1978, Pastor White turned over the administrative responsibilities for the church to Pastor Frank Bond, who was instrumental in establishing the church at its current site, in a refurbished “apple storage barn”, at 89 Division Street, Colborne, under the name of Colborne Christian Centre.

The first service in the newly refurbished building was held in December 1979. The name changed to Colborne Pentecostal Church in the early 1980s. In 2000, the congregation was led by Pastor Elvin Stuckless of Peterborough.

History or Associative Value

Cramahe township was an apple growing centre from its earliest days. Though diminished today, there are hundreds of apple trees in the area and there were and are buildings, usually very close to rail lines, used to store apples. In 2015/6 such a facility, steps from 89 Division Street, was torn down as surplus to use and a source of insurance liability, if left standing. This building in serving the purpose of faith, has preserved an important part of the township’s history.

Additional Historical and Genealogical Information

Colborne Pentecostal Church, 89 Division Street, Colborne
Cramahe Township, Concession 1, Lot 31, Reid Lot 356

The history of the Pentecostal Church in Cramahe Township begins in 1937, when the Castleton Pentecostal Church opened its doors at 2208 Spring Street in Castleton. The Church moved to a refurbished fruit warehouse on Division Street north of the Canadian National Railroad tracks in Colborne in 1979.

On 12 April 1842, long before anyone thought of putting a Pentecostal Church there, and in fact before the Pentecostal denomination in its present form even existed, this property, along with the rest of Lot 31 of Concession 1, was acquired from the Crown by Colborne’s leading citizen Joseph Abbott Keeler (1788-1855). Keeler gave most of his land holdings, including Lot 31 of Concession 1, to his son Joseph Keeler (1824-1881) on 23 September 1854.

The younger Keeler mortgaged his property with the Commercial Bank of Canada on 29 March 1855 and the Bank sold Reid Lots 355 and 356, at the northeastern corner of Division and Earl Streets, to carpenter George William Martin (1833-1879) on 4 May 1863. It should be noted that there would have been no interest in this property prior to the construction of the Grand Trunk Railway in 1856. These lots were just across Earl Street from the Colborne railway station but prior to the construction of the railroad they were in the middle of nowhere a kilometre south of town. Division Street from Colborne to the train station didn’t even exist until early 1858.

Lots 355 and 356 next went briefly to Colborne businessman Farquhar McRae (1835-?) on 20 March 1865, then to Letitia Hart (née Batchelor, 1831-1887) on 20 February 1866. Letitia and her husband Edward Hart (1825-1883) were the long-time owners of the Grand Trunk Hotel, directly south across Earl Street from the property under discussion here. Edward was the elder brother of Elizabeth Martin (née Hart, 1836-1878), George Martin’s wife.

After Edward and Letitia Hart died in 1883 and 1887, respectively, the property passed into the hands of Thomas Hart (1841-?) of Richmond, Quebec, who one suspects was a relative of Edward Hart (brother?).

Thomas Hart retained control of the part of Reid Lot 356 on which the Pentecostal Church now stands until 29 June 1892 when he sold it to apple exporter Martin Howard Peterson (1852-?).

Control of the property went from Martin Peterson briefly to Toronto accountant Edward Roper Curzon Clarkson (1852-1931), who was designated as “assignee for creditors” on 7 November 1903 and sold the property to Harriet Coyle (née Williams, 1839-1915) on 20 March 1904. Like Martin Peterson, Harriet’s husband and all six of her sons were fruit merchants.

The Coyle family mortgaged the property with Colborne schoolteacher Abram A. Gould (1842-1929) on 6 August 1913. Although he was the mortgagor and not the buyer of the Coyle property in Reid Lot 356 in 1913, it was apparently his to sell by 1930. It went to Albert Smith (1891-?) on 28 May of that year.

Albert Smith transferred ownership to his wife Beatrice (née Coyle, 1892-1975) on 11 November 1942. Beatrice was a granddaughter of Harriet Coyle who had acquired the property back in 1904.

Beatrice Smith sold her part of Lot 356 to Irving Kelner (?-?) and Harry Eidlitz (?-?) on 14 April 1943. These gentlemen were partners in the British Fruit Company and ownership was transferred to that company rather than to individuals Kelner and Eidlitz on 19 October 1954.

The British Fruit Company sold the property to Delbert Lorne McLaughlin (1913-1979) on 27 September 1971 and McLaughlin sold it to Jill McAdam (?-?) on 19 November 1971. It next went to Anne G. Bassett (?-?) on 10 April 1973. Bassett sold it to Golden Mill Restaurants Ltd. on 20 August 1974 and the Golden Mill Company transferred ownership to the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada on 14 February 1979.

Its proximity to the Colborne train station suggests that this property was probably a commercial one for its entire pre-church existence. It is doubtful that anyone lived there unless the Harts had a residence separate from their hotel and this was where it was located. There is no evidence one way or the other.

Who built the fruit warehouse that was renovated as the Pentecostal Church? Virtually all of the owners between 1892 and the 1970s, other than schoolteacher Abram Gould, were fruit dealers. One of them undoubtedly constructed the warehouse.

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