Historic Galena St. Mark’s Church vandalized
“I was advised by a local visitor to the cemetery on Monday, October 14 that someone had vandalized the historic church. I investigated immediately and found that all four windows had been broken and much glass and damage was evident not only inside the church itself but also outside. It appears that glass candle holders where used to break windows from the inside and a piece of firewood used to break windows from the outside. Most damage except for the windows, was superficial,” reported Warner E. Einer, President of the Brisco and District Recreation Commission.
“What they were searching for is unknown but creating a mess was just part of the act. Satanic symbols were also etched on a cabinet face at the front of the church near the pulpit. Some gravesites were vandalized including turning over a headstone and pulling out a cross and turning a cross upside down. It appears that the vandalism took place sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend,” Einer said.
“Because of the age and structure of the church, no property damage insurance is available; only liability insurance,” Einer noted, adding, “I would like to thank all those who have volunteered to help clean up and restore the church to it’s original historic condition. A work party will be organized soon. For more information, please call 250 346-3294.”
According to Windermere Valley Museum archives, St. Mark‟s Church was built in 1896 by volunteer labour on land donated by T.F. Pirie, an early settler.
“In 1903 the land was sold to John Fraser, a nephew of Rev. James Fraser, Presbyterian. In 1919 it was sold again to Fred Thatcher, son of an Anglican clergyman who conducted Anglican services occasionally until his death in 1934.
“Fred Thatcher sold the farm in 1945 and at the time deeded the church to the Anglican Church, Invermere. The hilly location of the churchyard makes this small cemetery unique. The first grave marker is dated 1892.”
Photos courtesy Warner E Einer