Shellmouth, MB had its start in 1882, as Western Canada began to open up to settlers. As in most communities, the pioneers never neglected their faith. Church services and Sunday school were held in private homes with visiting clergy. All the neighbours, regardless of denomination, gathered to hear the services. Our earliest records show that a congregational meeting was held in the Shellmouth school house in 1904. It was resolved that a new 60′ x 24′ church be erected in the amount of $800.00. The money was to be raised by grant and subscription. It was moved that the ladies undertake a social to arouse interest.
With a vision and careful planning, the building of the church began. The lumber and supplies were hauled from Russell 20 miles away by horse and wagon. Parishioners rented pews at $4.00 per annum or $2.00 per seat. The Church was officially opened on June 25, 1905. The three stations of the Shell River Presbyterian Church were comprised of Asessippi, Shellmouth, and Grainsby. Throughout the years, Ladies Aid, Sunday School, CGIT, Mission Band, art classes, and choir members all played a part in molding and building the church.
In 1966, with changing times, the beautiful little church in the valley was closed as a United Church. A group of ladies purchased the church and it remained in use for funerals and weddings upon request. In 1998, a group of descendants of the early parishioners decided to restore the church. A non-profit corporation was formed with charitable tax status. The Church was designated a Heritage Site.
For additional historical information and context, feel free to view these posts and links:
- Manitoba Resources Branch: https://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/hrb/mun/m204.html
- Canada’s Historic Places: http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=5371
- Manitoba Historical Society: http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/sites/shellmouthunited.shtml