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Sir John Johnson House National Historic Site of Canada

Williamstown, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1961/05/23

General view of Sir John Johnson House, showing the symmetrical, five-bay main elevation, with central entry, gable and chimney, and simple, regularly spaced fenestration, 2005.; Parks Canada Agency/Agence parcs Canada, 2005.
General view
Corner view of the Sir John Johnson House, 1989.; Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, 1989.
General view
Exterior view of the Sir John Johnson House, showing the eighteenth-century core in its surviving classically inspired design, form and materials, 2003.; Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, 2003.
Exterior view

Other Name(s)

Sir John Johnson House National Historic Site of Canada
Sir John Johnson House
Maison-de-Sir-John-Johnson

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1784/01/01 to 1792/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/08/02

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Sir John Johnson House National Historic Site is a large, wooden house of typical nineteenth-century Ontario vernacular design, set amidst spacious grounds on the banks of the Raisin River in Williamstown, Ontario. The evolved house is built around a late eighteenth-century core. The designation refers to the house, as well as a shed, an ice-house, the remains of the west wing and the burnt layer from initial clearing of the land.

Heritage Value

Sir John Johnson House was declared a national historic site for:
- its historical association with Sir John Johnson,
- its age as one of the oldest surviving buildings in Ontario,
- its architectural design.

The heritage value of Sir John Johnson House lies in its illustration of late eighteenth-century frontier building techniques and in its association with Sir John Johnson. The original core of the house was built 1784-1792 as part of a complex of buildings centered around a mill. It was expanded around 1813-1830 (west addition), and in the early 1860s (east addition).

Sources: HSMBC Minutes, May 1961; Commemorative Integrity Statement, 1996.

Character-Defining Elements

Key features contributing to the heritage value of this site include:

- the irregular, vernacular massing of the evolved house as expressed in its T-shaped footprint with a low rectangular one-and-a-half-storey original structure under a pitched roof broken by gables and chimneys, an extension to the east of similar massing and roof form, and a two-storey addition with a steeply pitched roof, and set at right angles to the original core,
- the siting and orientation on a knoll with viewplanes over the Raisin River,

- the eighteenth-century core in its surviving classically inspired design, form and materials including:
- the symmetrical, five-bay main elevation, with central entry, gable and chimney, and simple, regularly spaced fenestration,
- the front-sloping pitched roof,
- evidence of original centre-hall interior plan,
- its pièce sur pièce log construction,
- surviving original pine log, wood clapboarding and shingling,

- archaeological features associated with the Sir John Johnson period including remains of the first west wing construction and the burnt layer from initial clearing of the land.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1961/05/23

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1784/01/01 to 1813/01/01
1813/01/01 to 1830/01/01
1860/01/01 to 1865/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Settlement
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Library

Historic

Government
Residence

Architect / Designer

n/a

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

566

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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