Description of Historic Place
Facing Pelham Road near the Short Hills Provincial Park is one of St. Catharine's earliest surviving dwellings, the Brown-Jouppien House, c.1810. The two-story limestone house is of Loyalist Georgian architecture, its grandeur attributable to its large size, front portico and numerous windows. Other buildings on the property include a 19th century domestic country smoke house and dairy.
The property is designated for its heritage value by the City of St. Catharines under By-law No. 82-174.
The Brown-Jouppien house is situated along Pelham Road, one of the earliest transportation routes in St. Catharines. The house would have been frequented by travellers due to its location on the early stagecoach route between Niagara and Dundas.
The Brown-Jouppien House is associated with one of Niagara's earliest settlers, John Brown (Braun), a United Empire Loyalist who served during the American Revolution as a provincial soldier. Brown, coming from a family of wealthy farmers in New York who later lost all of their possessions during the war, moved his family of 10 children to the Niagara area in 1784. The large dwelling was built circa 1810, and ownership of the house was later transferred to John's son Adam, who at one point turned part of the house into a tavern and resting place for travellers along Pelham Road.
The Brown-Jouppien House is believed to have been occupied by William Hamilton Merritt's Dragoons during the War of 1812. Merritt, a prominent citizen famous in the Niagara region for his role in the construction and development of the Welland Canal, mentions in his records, stopping at the house during the battle's retreat . In 1902 the property was sold to the La Fontaine Powers, and when war games were organized later in the area in 1914, the house served as headquarters for officers.
The house remains as one of a few of the earliest surviving dwellings in the area, dating back to the early 19th century. An excellent example of Loyalist Georgian style, the house is remarkably similar in size and plan to the former nearby DeCew House and to the Upper House in Allanburg, but it is unknown whether the houses were the work of the same craftsman. The house is a two-storey structure built of local limestone with a moderately pitched gable roof. A one and a half storey kitchen “L” is located at the northwest corner where the lower gable roof meets the taller two-storey wall. The front façade features a typical five bay arrangement of a centre hall plan. A pair of narrow hall windows flank the front door but are independent of the door frame assembly, an unusual feature for this type of architecture. The front door consists of six panels with delicate Loyalist panel moulds and stone lugsills frame the window openings on the front façade. Victorian design is evident in the simple scrolled brackets decorating the plain boxed cornice and frieze.
Other structures included on the property are a smoke house and dairy. The smoke house is a rare example of 19th century domestic country architecture, standing as a one-storey brick structure, and the only surviving smoke house in St. Catharines.
Sources: The Brown-Jouppien House: Interior Description, Jon Jouppien and LACAC of City of St. Catharines, 1991; Notice of the Passing of By-law No. 82-174, City of St. Catharines, 1982; Brown-Jouppien House, St. Catharines Heritage Committee, 2004; “Cannon roar salute to historic Brown House”, Rick Bogacz, Standard; Brown-Jouppien House, Heritage File, City of St. Catharines, 1982
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of the Brown-Jouppien House include the:
- dairy and smoke house reflecting the early farming roots of the property
- location along historic Pelham Road, part of the Niagara-Dundas stagecoach route
- Loyalist Georgian style architecture with its large size and centre hall plan
- exterior construction of local limestone, consistent with building materials of houses of similar age in the City
- six panel front door with delicate Loyalist panel moulds
- stone lug sills framing the window openings on the front façade
- Victorian scrolled brackets decorating the plain boxed cornice and frieze
- 19th century domestic country architecture of the smoke house
- and unusual pair of narrow Hall windows independent of the door frame assembly