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Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church

5621 Marble Mountain Road; Marble Mountain, Marble Mountain, Nova Scotia, B0E, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1997/06/16

Front view of Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Marble Mountain, Nova Scotia, 2002.; Inverness County Heritage Advisory Committe, 2002
Front View
Traditional gothic altar and stations of the cross, Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Marble Mountain, Nova Scotia, December 2007.; Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, December 2007
Traditional Gothic Altar and Stations of the Cross
Side view of Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Marble Mountain, Nova Scotia, 2002.; Inverness County Heritage Advisory Committe, 2002
Side View

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1905/01/01 to 1905/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/02/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church is situated on a hill overlooking the Bras d’Or Lakes at Marble Mountain, Nova Scotia and is one of a pair of churches adjacent to each other in the centre of the community. The church was built in a simplified Gothic style with a central bell tower projecting from its front façade. There is no steeple; however the tower has a rounded cupola with a cross on top and a vestry is attached to the rear of the church. Municipal designation includes the building and land.

Heritage Value

Built in 1905, St. Joseph’s Church is valued as a focal point for the Catholics who lived at Marble Mountain during its mining heyday. Limestone, dolomite and marble were mined here beginning in 1869. The Dominion Steel Company (DOSCO) was formed in 1902. Between 1902 and 1922, the limestone and dolomite of Marble Mountain were DOSCO’s principal sources of lime for use in the iron smeltering process in their Sydney, Cape Breton mill. Within a decade, approximately one thousand people were employed in the mining industry of Marble Mountain. To provide for the spiritual needs of this large influx of workers at the quarries, a larger church was built here in 1905 as a mission of St. Joseph’s, Port Hawkesbury. This church is also remembered as the place where noted teacher, preacher, lecturer and journalist, Reverend Dr. Daniel MacGregor died on January 24, 1918. The mission priest lived in the vestry behind the altar of the church.

The architectural value of this church is noted in its simplified Gothic detail and overall form. Some Romanesque elements are evident in the main entrance door and the interior arched colonnade. Double Gothic windows above the main door and along both sides of the nave as well as the original altar are fine examples of this style of architecture which was very common from the mid-nineteenth century to the middle of the twentieth century. The unique interior of the church which is entirely of tongue and groove wooden wainscoting has a double colonnade of squared columns and an upper semi-circular gallery accessed by two stairways. Another unique feature of this church is the set of Stations of the Cross pictures with Spanish text. According to one story, it was believed that they were a gift from Spain and were brought to Marble Mountain by a ship picking up a cargo of marble from a local quarry. The church is also a popular venue for young couples getting married.

Source: Municipality of the County of Inverness, Municipal Heritage Files, Saint Joseph's Roman Catholic Church

Character-Defining Elements

Exterior character-defining elements of Saint Joseph's Roman Church include:

- simplified Gothic Revival wood frame form;
- Romanesque style double door main entrance with fanlight transom;
- double Gothic windows above main door;
- central bell tower with louvered Gothic windows;
- small cupola on tower with cross;
- corner pilasters and returned eaves;
- Gothic windows with plain glazing and simple trim along both sides of nave;
- vestry roofline lower than the main body of the church.

Interior character-defining elements of Saint Joseph's Roman Church include:

- tongue and groove wainscoting throughout;
- arched “Romanesque” colonnade of squared columns with trim at top;
- flat wainscoting on ceiling with an illusion of being vaulted;
- second floor curved gallery accessed by two stairways;
- simple apse with original Gothic altar.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Philosophy and Spirituality
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Institution

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Chestico Museum & Historical Society 8095 Route 19 Port Hood, Nova Scotia B0E 2W0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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