Defensible Lockmaster's House
Smith Falls Lockstation Defensible Lockmaster's House
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Surrounded by spacious lawns, the Defensible Lockmaster’s House is set back from the lock at Smiths Falls Combined Lockstation, on the Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada. The two-storey building has ground floor walls of rough-faced stone with loopholes and a clapboarded second storey. The hipped roof is clad with cedar shingles. The symmetrical main façade has a central door flanked by windows balanced by three second-storey windows. An enclosed porch protects the main entrance. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House at Smiths Falls Combined Lockstation is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is a very good example of a building associated with the construction and operation of the Rideau Canal. As part of the Rideau Canal, the building illustrates military defence strategy for Upper and Lower Canada in the 19th century, and the evolution and transformation of the waterway as a federal public work. The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is also an important representative of the formative period in the development of the Smiths Falls community. Currently, the house is a locally operated museum interpreting the historic role of the canal in the area. The Friends of the Rideau currently occupy the building.
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is valued for its good aesthetic design and retains the residential character acquired during the early years of the 20th century. The second-storey addition, the summer kitchen, and interior layout reflect increased emphasis on residential design that enhanced the residential function of the building and resulted from the overall change in the function of the canal from defence to commerce and recreation. Very good functional design is evidenced in the thick defensive walls and the interior layout. Very good craftsmanship can be seen in the quality of the regularly coursed masonry of the exterior walls.
The Defensible Lockmaster’s House is compatible with the domestic character of its park-like setting at Smiths Falls Combined Lockstation and is a familiar landmark to local residents and visitors.
Sources: James De Jonge, Twenty Nine Buildings, Central Area, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report 91-072 to 91-081; Defensible Lockmaster’s House, Smith falls Combined Lockstation, Rideau Canal, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 91-074.
The character-defining elements of the Defensible Lockmaster’s House should be respected.
Its good aesthetic, very good functional design and very good quality craftsmanship, for example:
- the simple, square, single-storey massing;
- the hipped roof clad with cedar shingles and the chimney;
- the first floor exterior walls of thick evenly coursed masonry and the second floor with clapboard exterior;
- the placement of the windows and doors and the loopholes on either side of the main entrance;
- the summer kitchen at the rear;
- the interior configuration including the central staircase with balustrades, wood floors, and door and window trim.
The manner in which the Defensible Lockmaster’s House is compatible with the domestic character of its park-like setting at Smiths Falls Combined Lockstation and is a familiar local landmark, as evidenced by:
- its overall scale, design and materials that are compatible with its rural surroundings;
- its familiarity within the area due to its elevated location and role associated with the canal.
Government of Canada
Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy
Recognized Federal Heritage Building
1900/01/01 to 1920/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Canal or Canal Works
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection