We've moved!
Heads up if you're a regular reader of the OttawaStart Blog in this space,
we've moved our blog posts over to our main web site at http://ottawastart.com

January 10, 2014

Christopher Ryan: Bibles, testaments, and portions (a history of The Bible House on Lisgar)

A weekly feature by Christopher Ryan, a local photographer, blogger and researcher. It appears every Friday on our blog.

The Bible House, as it stands today. January 2014.
In the spring of 1922, the Ottawa Auxiliary Bible Society kicked off a fundraiser to construct a new permanent headquarters. Harry and Wilson Southam (managing directors of the Ottawa Citizen and sons of its owner, William Southam) contributed $10,000 in seed money, on the condition that the Auxiliary needed to match their donations in order to receive that amount.

The Ottawa Auxiliary Bible Society received $10,000 in seed money from Harry and Wilson Southam. Source: Ottawa Journal, April 12, 1922.
Three days later the Auxiliary launched their fundraising campaign.
Source: Ottawa Journal, April 15, 1922.
The Auxiliary decided on the property of the late William C. Bowles.
Source: Ottawa Journal, April 5, 1922.

Meanwhile, early reports of the project suggested that there were two potential locations: one that was unidentified and the property of the late William C. Bowles (Secretary to the Clerk, and later Chief of Votes and Proceedings of the House of Commons), at 311 Lisgar. The Bowles property is ultimately the one that was chosen. Furthermore, the Auxiliary retained the services of local architect Clarence Burritt for the building’s design.

It was not eight weeks after the fundraiser kicked off that the Auxiliary announced that its $10,000 (approximately $133,000 today) goal had not only been met, but exceeded. On June 6, the Journal reported that the campaign had raised $10,590 and would be extended with the hopes of raising $15,000.

The Auxiliary not only met, but exceeded their goal.
Source: Ottawa Journal, June 6, 1922.
By the early fall construction had begun and the Society expected to move in by the first of November. The grand opening of the new Bible House was December 15, 1922. It was perhaps a testament to the desire of Ottawans – both prominent and ordinary – to see the work of the organization through.
 The Bible House' grand opening. Source: Ottawa Journal, December 15, 1922.
The Bible House stands today and is one of the many hidden gems in Centretown. Although the retail operations appear to have ceased (heavy curtains hung in the front window haven’t been opened in a long time), the Canadian Bible Society’s offices still occupy the second floor. While the building does not appear to be going anywhere soon, this particular block of Lisgar faces immense pressure for development. 

The Bible House, September 2013.
-- Photos & text by Christopher Ryan

See also: Ottawa Books Guide

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to etcetera, our free email newsletter. Featuring cool Ottawa events, interesting local news and contests and giveaways. Thanks!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.