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Stories from the MacGregor/Albert Heritage Conservation District: Emmanuel United Church



Emmanuel United Church at 22 Bridgeport (Cedar) Road West, has played and continues to play a vital role in Uptown Waterloo, specifically for the MacGregor/Albert neighbourhood. It has been a house of wor­ship and offered programs to many residents in the neighbourhood and city for many years.

Emmanuel United Church was once called Emmanuel Evangelical United Brethren Church and was built in 1905. Since this time it has had a number of additions made to it. It became part of the United Church of Canada in 1968 and houses one of the few original pipe organs remaining in a Waterloo church. The building as we know it on Bridgeport Road, was the third structure occupied by this church community.

Samuel Burkholder built a structure in 1849 at 7 Church (now Central) Street, near King Street. Before finishing the building, he offered it, rent free, to the new Evangelical United Brethren congregation. It was theirs if they agreed to complete and furnish the new church. According to church records, some familiar names of those early members of the church were David Erb, Jacob Hoffman, Joel Good, Samuel Good, Samuel Burkholder, Mrs. Amanda Baumann, Joseph Sauder, William Sauder and William Rebscher. The church continued at the Church Street site until 1870 when it had outgrown the building and became a residence.

The Burkholder house is a blend of Mennonite Georgian and Gothic styles. Wander by the house and note some of the brickwork and see how the house changed over the years. One clue is the later addition of the gable. The early photo also reveals a different finish to the house and the covered front door. The colour photo is the more familiar view of this special red house.

So began the long community history of Emmanuel United Church.

by Sue Enns

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