Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blast from the Past - Former Emmanual Episcopal Church Mackay Idaho History

The Mackay Emmanuel Episcopal Church erected in 1902 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

The old Mackay church on the southwest corner of Park Avenue and College was named to the register in November by the Idaho State Historical Sites Review Board as part of a Department of Interior program – to record and preserve the cultural, archeological, architectural and historical heritage of Idaho and its counties.

The Mackay Episcopal Church was picked as part of a statewide thematic group of 139 selected buildings designed by Tourtellotte and Hummel and successor architectural firms in Boise between 1897 and 1941.  The firm holds the distinction of being the single most important in Idaho architectural history. According to the state architectural report on the building, a square tower rises at the center front of a simple white clapboard church and is topped by an open belfry with turned wooden posts supporting the steeple.  A truncated hip roof and tall, slender spire from the steeple. A simple gable roof tops the church and windows are 4 paned, double hung sash.  Shallow pointed arches top the windows. Coordinating Architectural Historian for the State Historical Preservation Office said the church is the only building registered in the Mackay vicinity and there are no nominations pending in this area of the state.

During the first decade of the century, the firm was responsible for a number of the state’s major architectural landmarks; the neo-classical Review style State Capitol, the Romanesque Revival St. John’s Cathedral in Boise, and the academic late Gothic Revival Administration Building at the University of Idaho in Moscow.

Later in the 1920s, the firm built the Renaissance Revival Alexander’s Store, the Egyptian Revival Style Egyptian Theatre and the art deco Hotel Boise, all in the capitol city.

The Mackay Episcopal Church received its funding in the early days mainly through the efforts of the Empire Copper Company and its manager Wayne Darlington. Bishop Stoy of Pocatello traveled to Mackay to hold worship services rather on an erratic basis while the devoted women of the church would hold regular Sunday school and helped organize a Guild.

When his wife passed away, Milton Leland, who took over as manager of the mine after Darlington left Mackay before 1910, gave a beautiful stained glass window to the church in her memory. 

In 1976, that window was removed from the church and divided – part of which is now in the Arco Episcopal Church and the remainder is located at the Fort Hall edifice.

The membership was forced to close the church doors after several decades when interest declined and financial assistance became a problem.

In 1978, the church building was sold to Mackay resident Wayne Ivan Smith. (Edited Arco Advertiser February 17 1983). Ownership has passed through my people since that time.

The former Emmanual Episcopal Church today on the corner of Park Avenue and College, January 24 2012.

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