Fountain Chapel Mystery Solved

I’ve been working on the write ups for the Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Places That Matter Plaque Program and stumbled across competing dates for the construction of the former Fountain Chapel.

Depending on the source the church was either built in 1903 for the German Lutheran congregation or in 1908 for the Norwegian Lutherans. The City’s Statement of Significance muddies the water by claiming it’s 1904 for the Swedes – but they were up on Dunlevy and Pender before moving to Heatley at Pender in 1910.

Further complicating matters is a building permit for the Norwegian Lutheran Church in 1910. So a quick check of the fire insurance maps shows a 1 storey building on site in 1903 and the current church in 1912.

1903 Fire Map
1912 Fire Map

So the German Lutherans used the original building in 1903 and Norwegian Lutherans took over in 1908 and built a new church in 1910 to the design of architect Frederick Mellish.

In 1918 it became the spiritual home to Vancouver’s black community as a chapter of the African Methodist Episcopal church, better known as the Fountain Chapel. Nora Hendrix helped spearhead the campaign to purchase the church.

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