Description of Historic Place
The Jones Falls Defensible Lockmaster’s House, also known as Sweeney House, is located within the Rideau Canal National Historic Site if Canada on a promontory overlooking the canal near the lock at Jones Falls Lockstation. Built of rough-faced masonry blocks, it is a compact, functional structure of square plan with a hipped-roof. The front elevation is symmetrical, with a central single doorway flanked by windows. A closed porch protects the front entrance. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Jones Falls Defensible Lockmaster’s House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Jones Falls Defensible Lockmaster’s House is a very good example of a building associated with the Rideau Canal and its maintenance, and as such, it played an important role in the transportation of military traffic on the canal during the 19th century as part of the military defence strategy for Canada. The Jones Falls Lockmaster's House was built as a defensible residence in support of the military defence role of the Rideau Canal. Peter Sweeney, lockmaster from 1839 to 1871, documented the early history of the canal operation in his personal diary, and, as a result, has become the focus of the interpretive program at the lockstation. In the early 1980s, the Canadian Parks Service completed a period restoration.
The Jones Falls Defensible Lockmaster’s House is valued for its very good aesthetic design and is one of the few defensible lockmasters' houses retaining the original functional form - a single storey, hipped-roof structure with simple cubical massing and symmetrical front facade. In its current form, the house represents a typical defensible lockmaster's house from the military era. The period restoration of the interior plan now reflects very good functional layout of this type of dwelling. Very good craftsmanship can be seen in the handling of the stonework, which reflects the careful craftsmanship of the Royal Engineers.
The Jones Falls Defensible Lockmaster’s House maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, reinforces the historic character of Jones Falls Lockstation and is a familiar landmark to local residents and to visitors.
Sources: James De Jonge, Fifteen buildings, Southern Area, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Reports 89-155, 89-156, 89-157, 89-158,89-159, and 89-160; Defensible Lockmaster’s House, Jones Falls Lockstation, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 89-156.
The following character-defining elements of the Jones Falls Defensible Lockmaster’s House should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic, very good functional design and very good quality craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the simple, compact, one-storey massing;
- the hipped roof, clad in tin, and the chimney;
- the exterior walls, constructed of rough-faced masonry blocks, the placement of windows, the door and the wooden loopholes;
- the frame defensible porch;
- the configuration of the interior, the fireplace, the partition walls and plaster finishes.
The manner in which the Jones Falls Defensible Lockmaster’s House maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, reinforces the historic character of the Jones Falls Lockstation and is a familiar landmark, as evidenced by:
- its ongoing relationship to its detached position on a promontory overlooking the lock;
- its simple design and stone masonry walls that complement the lockstation;
- its role as an active interpretation centre component, within the group of structures comprising the lockstation complex that makes it familiar to local residents and visitors.