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"Oldest Protestant church in southern Alberta destroyed by fire"
CBC News, Monday, May 22, 2017

The first permanent Protestant church ever built in southern Alberta was destroyed by fire early on Monday morning, just east of Morley on Highway 1A.

The wooden McDougall Stoney Mission Church was built in 1875 to "minister" to the Stoney First Nation by George and John McDougall.

"Last night at eight o'clock, our security guy was doing his regular drive by and he was on the site looking around and everything looked fine," said Sarah Harvey, a volunteer and board member with the McDougall Stoney Mission Society, as she surveyed the damage. 

"Then, a couple of people that are here right now, said about three or four in the morning they heard the emergency vehicles and the place was in flames."

Cochrane RCMP said they attended the scene around 4 a.m. They were joined by fire crews from the MD of Bighorn. 

"Upon arrival emergency services found the McDougall Church completely engulfed in flames," RCMP said in a news release. "Sadly the historic church could not be saved."

Donate to the rebuilding of the McDougall Stoney Mission Church, on gofundme.


The McDougall Stoney Mission Church was built in 1875 and stands as the oldest building on the original site in Alberta.

From a very high Foot Hill we gazed on this prospect with admiration and wonder. Within three miles stood the grand old mountain, the wild goat and sheep sporting on its highest summit. At the foot of the hill, and in perfect ignorance of our presence, a band of buffalo were feeding on the richest pasture. To the right of us, and on the north bank of the river, lay the location which we have selected for our new mission. [Reverend George McDougall, May 28, 1873]

Travelling the 1A Highway between Cochrane and Exshaw, you will see a small white church sitting on 40 acres of natural grassland, overlooking the Bow River Valley and the Rocky Mountains. This is the site of Southern Alberta's first settlement, Morleyville.

At its peak, Morlelyville was home to over 200 people.Today a remnant of the settlement is a provincial historic site. The McDougall Stoney Mission Society are stewards of the site.

The mandate of the society is to promote a greater understanding of the story of the Morleyville Settlement and its place in the history of Alberta and Canada through the interpretation of the site to the public.