Description of Historic Place
Blockhouse 3, located at the Fort George National Historic Site of Canada, overlooks the Niagara River, on the outskirts of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Blockhouse 3 is a two-storey, log structure with an overhanging second storey and a low, hipped-roof clad in cedar shakes. The exterior walls of exposed squared logs have a rugged, frontier-like quality. Loopholes and small windows give a military appearance to the structure. An exterior staircase leads up to an upper floor entrance. Within the fort palisades is a large grassed area, with paved walkways. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Blockhouse 3 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
Blockhouse 3 is a very good example of a building associated with a period of accelerated historic site development during the Depression, as a result of government funded relief work programs. Historic reconstruction, employed at a variety of Canadian historic sites in the 1930s, followed a North American pattern influenced by the reconstruction of Colonial Williamsburg. Recognition that increasing private ownership of automobiles would generate growth in tourism encouraged the reconstruction of Fort George as a tourist destination. Both the reconstruction process and the subsequent attraction of the public to the area contributed to the economic development of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Blockhouse 3 is valued for its good aesthetic design. The reconstruction is based on freely interpreted historical research. The plans, dimensions and construction of Blockhouse 3 at Fort George were based on contemporaneous Fort York examples. The rugged appearance of the blockhouse is based on the architects’ concepts of a ‘frontier’ aesthetic. The exposed log exterior of the building parallels the visual effect created by the Fort York blockhouses after the removal of their exterior cladding during a 1934 restoration. Good functional design is evidenced in the manner in which the ground floor of the interior houses an interpretive display.
The Blockhouse 3 reinforces the historic character of Fort George National Historic Site of Canada and is a familiar landmark to residents and to visitors.
Sources: Shannon Ricketts, Twenty Buildings, Niagara Historic Sites, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report 89-015; Blockhouse No. 3, Fort George, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 89-015.
The following character-defining elements of Blockhouse 3 should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic, good functional design and good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
- the long, rectangular, two-storey massing;
- the low-pitched hipped roof, the roof cladding of split cedar shakes, and the chimney;
- the exterior walls that are composed of squared logs with dovetailed corners, the loopholes, small windows and entrances on both levels;
- the interior configuration.
The manner in which Blockhouse 3 reinforces the historic character of the historic site and is a familiar landmark, as evidenced by:
- its simple design and materials that harmonize with the adjacent blockhouses, the nearby cottage and the other buildings within the military setting;
- its role as a component of the group of structures from the Fort George National Historic Site of Canada complex, which makes it familiar to locals and visitors.