Wednesday, October 26, 2022

235 Andrews Street - Salem Reformed Church

© 2022, Christian Cassidy

Place: Former Salem Reformed Church
235 Andrews Street (Map)
Dedicated: August 23, 1908
Architect: George Gaspar Teeter

September 30, 1907, Winnipeg Free Press

The congregation of Salem Reformed German Church was created on August 25, 1907 and a $10,000 building permit was issued for its new church the following month. The architect was George Gaspar Teeter who was primarily known for apartment blocks, but did design four churches around this time.

The basement of the building was completed in the fall so that the congregation could worship there over the winter. Construction of the Gothic-inspired upper portion resumed in the spring. The final cost of the building was closer to $15,000.

The building, which originally had the address of 529 Burrows Avenue, was dedicated on Sunday, August 23, 1908.

The service was led by Rev. F. W. Graeser who had been the pastor at Zion German Reformed Church on Alexander Avenue before Salem was established. Rev. G. D. Elliker of Wauker, Iowa gave the sermon. Rev. W. Hansen, who came to Winnipeg 13 years earlier to establish the church, also spoke. He noted that there were now churches at Newdorf, Morden, Pembina, Gretna and Fort Saskatchewan.

The longest-serving pastor of Salem Reformed Church was Carl D. Mauer. Originally from Wisconsin, he came to Winnipeg in 1921 with his wife Mary, and son. They were the driving force behind the church for 37 years until Rev. Mauer's death in 1959.

Rev. Roy Gallagher took over around 1960 and Rev. W. Schmidt around 1967.

Mentions of Salem Reformed Church in wedding and funeral announcements disappear at the end of 1971. It is unclear what happened to the congregation. it likely merged with another German Reformed Church in the city, perhaps in the suburbs.

May 5, 1979, Winnipeg Tribune

From 1975 to 1981, the building is referred to in personal notices as the Salem United Church of Christ. It was initially led by Rev. Thomas Payne, the Rev. J. W. Bray.

The newly formed Filipino United Community Church bought the church for $55,000 U.S. in September 1986. It eventually outgrew the building and in March 1997 sold it for $84,000 and relocated to 1039 Pritchard Avenue.

That was the end of 235 Andrews Street as a church.

The former church was sold to a high-up official of the Los Bravos motorcycle gang and the group began converting it into their clubhouse. Winnipeg Police and RCMP raided the building in November 1997 and shut it down citing a number of bylaw and zoning infractions as the building was still zoned as a church and no building permits had been taken out.

A couple of days later, police did the same with the Redliners motorcycle gang's new clubhouse on Notre Dame Avenue.

Los Bravos tried to go the legal route by applying for an occupancy permit in November 1999 but their application was rejected at a civic committee meeting.

Plan presented at 2020 variance hearing (source)

In 2010, the Winnipeg Free Press did a feature story about the building which was up for sale at the time for  $249,900.  It included an interview with the owner who spent 5 years turning it into a luxury 3,000-square-foot, four-bedroom home with three baths. With the renovations finished, it was time to sell.

Interior photo, 2022 (Source)

This address does not appear again until January 2020 when new owners applied for a variance to convert the building into an 8-unit residential dwelling with two parking stalls.The application, which appears to have been approved, noted that "generally, the appearance of the structure would not change".

The building was gutted and interior framing was put up. The project, however, was never finished. It was for sale in 2022 for $429,000.

- My exterior photos of 235 Andrews Street
- Interior photos from 2022 here and here
- Heavenly abode Winnipeg Free Press Homes, July 10, 2010

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