Shiloh Baptist Church and Cemetery Receives Provincial Heritage Property Designation
The Government of Saskatchewan has designated the Shiloh Baptist Church and Cemetery as the province’s 53rd Provincial Heritage Property. The site, located approximately 30 kilometres northwest of the Town of Maidstone, was a settling community for African Americans escaping segregation in Oklahoma.
“In the early 20th century, African American families seeking freedom from discrimination made this small farming community in Saskatchewan their home,” Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Gene Makowsky said. “Our government recognizes the importance of this site and the significant impact it has had in shaping the identity and culture of our province.”
The families built structures, such as the Shiloh Baptist Church, using logs from poplar trees cut from the banks of the nearby North Saskatchewan River. Completed in 1912, the church provided a place of worship and communal space for the settlers.
Like most churches of the time, the Shiloh Baptist Church became the focal point of community life and a social and religious centre for the close-knit community. It stands today as the only known building that remains from the first and only African American farming community established in the province, and as a representative example of early 20th century log building construction in the province.
The associated cemetery contains at least 37 graves of the original settlers and their descendants. Originally marked by large stones at the head and foot of each grave, it is the only known place in Saskatchewan that illustrates the African American burial custom of the late 19th century.
Provincial Heritage Property designations play an integral role in the conservation and protection of Saskatchewan’s heritage.
For more information about Saskatchewan’s Provincial Heritage properties visit www.saskatchewan.ca/provincial-heritage-property.