The tiny church of St. Margaret's is located at Eagle Butte in Medicine
Lodge Coulee at the west end of the Cypress Hills, Alta. The Cypress Hills are a unique
formation which rises like islands out of the vast Great Plains of the North. These hills
were not covered by the last ice age and many semi-tropical plants and insects have
adapted to the ever changing weather patterns.
One mile to the north of the church is the
highest point of land between Lake Superior and the Rockies. Half a mile to the north west
is the height of land which determines the watershed, northward to the Saskatchewan River
system and onward to Hudson Bay. The spring melt water which runs past the church and
cemetery eventually flows into the Missouri River system on its way to the Mississippi and
the Gulf of Mexico.
Eight miles to the north west is the Eagle Butte Crater which 'arrived'
about 6 million years ago. This area is rich in fossils and wildlife including both White
Tail and Mule Deer, Antelope, Elk, Moose and Coyotes and is on the eastern Rockies bird
migration route. Yes there are Eagles at Eagle Butte! The Cypress Hills were regarded as
'holy' by many aboriginal people. This area was also the haunt of wolfers and whiskey
traders from Montana Territory prior to the coming of the North West Mounted Police in
1874. Ft. Walsh, located 20 miles east of Eagle Butte was established in 1875 and it was
near there that Chief Sitting Bull and his people located after the Battle of the Little
Big Horn and the massacre of General George Custer and his men.
St. Margaret's church was built in 1907 and was extensively restored in
1992. Occasional services are held throughout the year and while the church was originally
built as Church of England (Anglican/Episcopalian) it is operated on a non-denominational
basis, administered by a non-profit society. In the early 1940's it was used as a
schoolhouse since a local rancher saw fit to 'torch' the new schoolhouse not just once,
but twice. Therefore the small church which seats 32, is a living memorial to all those
who helped settle this area.
Currently there are only a handful of people living in the valley. However
the church is kept open year round and attracts almost 1,600 visitors each year
from around the world!
Thank you for visiting this 'cyber-chapel'!
Christmas Carols & Readings Sunday December 15, 2013 at both 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
"The Needham family from near here, having visited St. Margaret's and seen it's restoration to life - decided to do a similar thing in Piapot in the long abandoned Church of England (Anglican) church. It was officially re-opened/dedicated July 24, 2005 with myself as the minister. July 23 this year I conducted a service there once more.
It is special in that my Mother's family attended church there circa 1912-1920; my Mother's aunt and uncle are buried in the local cemetery and my Father conducted the funeral of Mother's
St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church Piapot, Saskatchewan. Long abandoned, it was restored by Richard and Frances Needham of the Piapot-Maple Creek district. It was officially re-opened in July 2005, in part to mark the Centennial of the Province of Saskatchewan. The preacher on that occasion was the Very Rev'd David J. Carter"
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