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Defensible Lockmaster's House

Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1992/04/30

View of the front of the Defensible Lockmaster's House, showing the placement of the windows and doors and the loopholes on either side of the main entrance, 1990.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, James De Jonge, 1990.
Façade
View of the side façade of the Defensible Lockmaster's House, showing the summer kitchen at the rear, 1930.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1930.
Historical view
Corner view of the Defensible Lockmaster's House, showing the first floor exterior walls of thick evenly coursed masonry and the second floor with clapboard exterior, 1990.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, James De Jonge, 1990.
Exterior view

Other Name(s)

Defensible Lockmaster's House
Smith Falls Lockstation Defensible Lockmaster's House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1841/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/01/29

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.

Heritage Value

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.

Historical Value
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.

Architectural Value
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.

Environmental Value
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.

Character-Defining Elements

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.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Recognized Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date

1992/04/30

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1900/01/01 to 1920/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Residence
Single Dwelling
Transport-Water
Canal or Canal Works

Architect / Designer

Royal Engineers

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

5111

Status

Published

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Photo of a lock

Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada

Rideau Canal National Historic Site of Canada is a 200 km man-made waterway running through a corridor of communities from Ottawa River to Lake Ontario. It was built in the mid…

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