Description of Historic Place
Built in 1905, the Actons Corners School (also known as Public School S.S. No.6 and Actons Corners Community Hall) is a one storey, nearly square, sandstone building with elements of Classical and Italianate detailing. The property sits on the north side of Leeds and Grenville County Road 43, at Actons Corners Road, Township of North Grenville, Ontario.
The property was designated on January 8, 1997, by the former Township of Oxford-on-Rideau, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 2-97).
Actons Corners School is a good example of the one storey, one room schools that were built all over Ontario in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries. This property has a long history of use for public school purposes. The first building on the site was erected in 1858 and torn down in 1905 to make way for the current building. In 1964, after the closure of the school, the building became the Actons Corners Community Hall. Following the amalgamation of Oxford-on-Rideau into the Municipality of North Grenville in 1998, it became the Municipal Archives.
The building is built to a nearly square plan and features detailing that marry elements of both the Classical and Italianate styles. It has walls of coursed, cut sandstone and large cut stone quoins and a projecting enclosed entrance porch. The entrance annex is flanked by large two-over-two double hung sash windows, on either side. The same type of window is present on both sides of the building, but there are no windows on the rear (north) wall in order to accommodate the blackboards on the interior. The main portion of the building has a hip roof, with a belfry situated symmetrically on the centre ridge. A corbelled brick chimney at the back of the roof serves the single wood-stove used to heat the building. The original school-bell is still in place. All three roofs have the same eave detail, differing only in scale, in the Italianate style.
The masonry work has been done by J. W. Morrison and Jim Percival. A projecting rock-faced belt-course gives the building the appearance of being set on a plinth in the Classical tradition of public buildings. The windows have rough-cut stone voussoirs and projecting lug-style cut sandstone sills. The front door sill is a large, projecting, lug-style block of trimmed limestone with a bush-hammered finish.
Along with the exterior, several intact portions of the building's original interior were designated as being of heritage value, including the blackboards, the wall and ceiling paneling, and the built-in paneled library cupboard.
Source: Township of Oxford-on-Rideau By-law 2-97.
Character defining elements that define the heritage value of the Actons Corners School include its:
- location at Actons Corners
- exterior double privy
- ongoing use of the property for public purposes,
- cohesiveness of the overall property, largely unchanged from its historical appearance
- one storey height
- nearly square plan, with a front entrance porch located symmetrically in the front façade
- coursed, cut sandstone walls, with quoins at the corners, window and door returns
- projecting rock-faced belt course
- fenestration pattern with two large two-over-two double-hung sash windows flanking the front entrance, and windows in the same style on each side.
- windowless rear (north) wall to accommodate the original blackboards on the interior
- window openings with rough-cut stone voussoirs and projecting lug-style cut sandstone sills
- hip roof over the main portion of the building
- corbelled brick chimney at the rear of the roof
- belfry, symmetrically located on the centre ridge of the main roof, and featuring a hip roof with bell-cast eaves, finial and the original bell
- front-gable roof over the entrance annex with eave-return trim
- continuity of the eave detail on all roofs, differing only in scale and consisting of a vertically-paneled wood frieze and moulded fascia accentuated by decorative moulded brackets in the Italianate style
- sheet-metal roofing material used throughout
- front door sill, consisting of a large, projecting lug-style block of trimmed limestone with a bush-hammered finish
- sandstone lintel over the front entrance with the inscription giving the date of construction as 1905 and listing the names of the contractor and school officials
- paneled double entrance doors with a two-light transom above
- original hardwood floors, walls and ceiling panels
- intact original interior features, including the blackboards and a built-in paneled library cupboard
- original Finlay box-stove, still intact and in place even though it is no longer used to heat the building