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Alberta Online Encyclopedia

No. 129: St. Nobert's Roman Catholic Church at Provost

It wasn't long after the CPR established a station at Provost that German settlers moved into the area. And by the 1920's, these farmers wanted a church.

According to historian Dorothy Field, St. Nobert's Roman Catholic Church was designed in the baroque revival style, a transplant from the southern portion of Germany.

A striking feature of the building is its size. It's 44 feet wide and 122 feet long, with a tower at the front that is 75 feet tall. So that's a pretty big building, and especially when you consider that it's actually located more or less in the middle of nowhere, it's really rather striking.

In fact, it's so large that during World War Two, pilots training at the local airfield used it as a navigational landmark. The tower, which has a dome and spire at the top clad in silver metal, was visible for many miles away.

The construction was started in 1922 and finished in 1926.

It was built by a contractor from Macklin, Saskatchewan, and it was originally supposed to cost about $6,645. But, in the end, by the time the four years were over and it was finally completed, it actually cost about $20,000.

And in the eighties, it was estimated that to replace the building today, it would have cost up to a million dollars. So this was quite an investment, considering there were only about 100 families in the area.

So they must have really wanted this church.

But time changed that. Four decades later, many people had moved-off the farm into town.

The church is six miles south and two miles east of Provost, and that probably contributed to the fact that it ceased to be used as a church in the mid-1960s, when a Roman Catholic Church was built in town.

St. Nobert's Roman Catholic Church was designated an historic site in 1978, and today is maintained by the Rosenheim Historical Society.

On the Heritage Trail,

I'm Cheryl Croucher.

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