The Move to Boyd Street
The church on lot 11 Boyd Street (5th Avenue East) was built about 1856. According to The First Hundred Years being a History of Knox United Church Owen Sound by Rev. Allan H. Ferry (1946), the congregation moved from the hill to the newly erected wooden structure in March 1857. The church did not receive the deed to the property until 12 December 1865. The congregation worshipped there until 1873.
This picture has been taken from a photograph that appeared in an Owen Sound newspaper showing the militia training for the Fenian Raids and the building was identified as Knox Presbyterian Church.
Rev. Duncan Morrison and the Move
During the ministry of Rev. Duncan Morrison, the old frame building became too small for the congregation and plans began for a new one. In 1869, the site on Murdock Street (corner of 4th Avenue and 9th Street East) was purchased. In 1873, the main section was completed, opened and dedicated. Rev. Duncan Morrison visited his native Scotland and secured funds for the church bell. [The church bell is now located on the front lawn at Georgian Shores United Church.]
As the congregation increased, they outgrew the space. In 1886, the building was enlarged. The congregation worshipped in the Town Hall for several months while construction was underway. The May 13, 1886 Advertiser described the enlarged building as “the most attractive and capicious Christian temple in Owen Sound.”
The sanctuary was described as:
“ninety feet long, sixty-feet wide, with capacious amphitheatre galleries on both sides and end, capable of seating about one thousand people. The semicircular seats in the body of church are a decided improvement in the seating plans of any other church in town, and the plan of having the choir nearly on a level with the Minister’s platform; we think also a great improvement. . . .
All the wood and other work seems to be of first class style, especially that on the Minister’s platform, pulpit or desk and the flower stands and the other fixtures about it. We believe the work was all done by Mr. Andrew Horn, our well known adept, in first class cabinet and other fine wood work.”
Sunday school classes commenced in 1857, but it wasn’t until May 17, 1908, an impressive Sunday School area was built. The Sunday School’s architectural style was the Akron Plan with a large open space, surrounded by classrooms on two levels. In the latter years, Sunday School classes were held on the upper floor. Offices, the nursery, parlour, kitchenette and heritage room were located on the main floor.
Memorial to the Soldiers
When World War 1 ended November 11, 1918, 22 men of Knox had made the Supreme Sacrifice. To their memory, the congregation dedicated the new Casavant Memorial Organ on September 14, 1919. It replaced the organ built in 1889 by former Owen Sound resident, Walter Spencer.