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Jakes-McLean Block

105, St. Lawrence Street, Merrickville-Wolford, Ontario, K0G, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1978/08/18

View of the north and west facades from the intersection of St. Lawrence and Main St – August 2003; OHT, 2003
View of the north and west facades – August 2003
Interior view of the large second floor antiques shop – c. 2000; baldachin.com, 2002
Interior view of the second storey shop – c. 2000
Contextual view of the building in Merrickville showing close location to Rideau Canal – c. 2000; realmerrickville.ca, 2005
Contextual view of the building in Merrickville –

Other Name(s)

Jakes-McLean Block
Jakes Block

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1861/01/01 to 1863/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/07/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Village of Merrickville is one of a number of heritage communities located along the Rideau Canal in Eastern Ontario. The building at 105 St. Lawrence Street, commonly referred to as the Jakes-McLean Block, is situated at the south-east corner of the intersection between St. Lawrence and Main Streets. The three-storey stone structure was constructed in 1861-63 and dominates the streetscape as the largest and most prominent commercial block in the village.

All exterior elements of the building and select interior spaces are protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement. The property is also designated by the Village of Merrickville-Wolford under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (Bylaw 13-81).

Heritage Value

Originally built as a department store in 1861 and completed by 1863, it is believed that the Jakes-McLean Block was at one time the largest department store between Montreal and Chicago. Following its retail use, the building continued its prominent role in the development of Merrickville with varying stints as a library, a bank, a dancehall, an inn, offices and apartments.

The Jakes-McLean Block is named after two of the most prominent figures in the history of Merrickville. Samuel Jakes was a merchant, farmer, postmaster, schoolteacher and the second reeve of Merrickville. After purchasing the building in 1871, Mr. Jakes operated an extremely lucrative general store that experienced continued success through the turn of the century. The second prominent figure in Merrickville's history was Harry F. McLean, the eccentric millionaire and railway builder who purchased the building for office use in the 1940s. Mr. McLean specialized in construction projects that others deemed impossible and by the time of his death his successes had included the Montreal Aqueduct, the Abitibi Dam and a railroad line to Flin Flon, Manitoba. Mr. McLean was also known across the continent in the 1940s as “Mr. Giveaway,” after various newspapers and magazines documented his spur-of-the-moment cash philanthropies that included passing out one-hundred dollar bills to complete strangers.

Architecturally, the three-storey building forms an L-shaped footprint and is constructed of rough coursed ashlar on its street-fronting facades and rubblestone on its other elevations. Construction began on the building in 1861 by E.H. Whitmarsh, however, it was not completed until George Montgomery took over the project in 1863. As such, the building was the last stone commercial block to be constructed in Merrickville and it remains a dominating feature in the village. The building's most distinguished architectural features are its corner design, its hipped roof, its heavily bracketed cornice and its profusion of stone stringcourses and vertical banding.

Located at the south-east corner of the union between St. Lawrence and Main Streets, the Jakes-McLean block is one of four historic structures situated at Merrickville's main intersection. The other buildings include the Merrickville United Church (1890) on the northeast corner, the Blockhouse (1832) on the northwest corner, and the Aaron-Merrick Block (1856) on the south-west corner.

Source: Conservation Easement Files, Ontario Heritage Trust

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value include the:
- exterior stone facades
- horizontal stringcourses
- heavy vertical stone bands that divide the facades into bays of two and three windows
- double-hung, six-over-six sash windows
- stone sills and radiating stone voussoirs on the upper storeys of the street-facing facades
- segmented-arched window and door openings on the ground floor complete with transom lights
- entrances along the ground floor which are recessed and feature wooden doors with glazed panels and wood frames
- 10-foot wide carriageway of the eastern-most bay on the north facade that leads to a rear courtyard
- hipped roof and bracketed cornice
- stone chimneys and firewalls
- diagonal wood tongue-and-groove ceilings on the interior
- pressed metal ceilings
- fireplaces
- boxed columns with carved and stencilled capitals
- details of the north stairwell
- place amongst the other three historic structures situated at Merrickville's main intersection
- close proximity to the Rideau Canal and the Merrickville lockstation (Rideau Canal Locks 21-23)




Recognition Authority

Ontario Heritage Trust

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Ontario Heritage Foundation Easement

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1871/01/01 to 1871/01/01
1943/01/01 to 1943/01/01
1978/01/01 to 1978/01/01
1981/01/01 to 1981/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer



E.H. Whitmarsh

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Conservation Easement Files Ontario Heritage Trust 10 Adelaide Street East Toronto, Ontario

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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