To be honest, I know nothing about this gutted church that stands lonely in a field of dandelions out on Red Bluff Road, south of Quesnel, British Columbia. I don’t know who built it, what church group it belonged to, or how it caught fire.
I first saw it when Helen (Dean) shot some ghostly, snowy photos of her sister around it in January this year. Then, shortly after arriving here last week, I stumbled across the old building while out exploring my new neighbourhood. I promised myself that I would return with my camera as soon as possible.
That time came yesterday evening, as I was driving home at around 8.30pm. The light was perfect – pink and soft after a late afternoon shower – and so I took a detour to try to photograph her. I turned off the main road down a pot-holed dirt track, and was met by two mangy dogs, which barked noisily at me – not used to seeing strangers in their neck of the woods.
But they were harmless, and I wandered around for at least half and hour – trying to do the old church justice with my photos. I imagined the stories she could tell – of families whose histories were intertwined with her own: of baptisms, weddings, funerals and Sunday services. I wouldn’t have swapped squelching through the wet field, and braving the giant, voracious mosquitoes for anything …
Despite her dilapidated state, this once white-washed old church is still beautiful!
Update (June 17, 2013): This was apparently a Catholic church on “First Nations” land. Interestingly enough, when it first caught fire the local volunteer fire fighters went inside, only to find that there were no flames or smoke. It turns out that the part of the church one can see was simply built around the original structure, and that the double walls and double roof were keeping the flames on the outside. I will definitely be returning in winter for more stark pictures.