Description of Historic Place
Fralick's Tavern is a symmetrical one-and-a-half storey building of the Classical Revival style with a temple facade feature. Flanked with single-storey wings on either side, this white clapboard structure was built in 1836 and features an attractive Regency Revival style front porch and Classical Revival style front gable. Fralick's Tavern, now a museum, is located across from the historic Drummond Hill Cemetery at 6137 Lundy's Lane.
The property is designated by the City of Niagara Falls for its heritage value under By-law 99-109.
Located on historic Lundy's Lane, Fralick's Tavern was a common gathering and resting place for early travellers. Its location prompted its involvement in the 1814 Battle of Lundy's Lane, one of the bloodiest military engagements in Canadian history. Fighting took place immediately across from the tavern on a site where the Drummond Hill Cemetery is now located.
The location of the tavern along Lundy's Lane suggests the importance of this route for transporting people and goods during early development. Fralick's Tavern is one of many historical sites designated for its heritage value in the area of Lundy's Lane, due to its association with the Battle of Lundy's Lane. Furthermore, it provided a context for the development of early tourism in the Niagara Region, and is viewed as a manifestation of a distinct Ontario and Canadian identity.
Fralick's Tavern first owner, Adam Fralick, bought the land for the purpose of a tavern. He offered lodging, food and drink to travellers. Fralick is locally famous for erecting one of three battlefield observation towers and being instrumental in the development of early tourism in Ontario. In 1996, the building and land was donated by Ruth Redmond to the City of Niagara Falls and is now the Battle Ground Hotel Museum.
The building's architecture is consistent with the 1830's-1850's Classical Revival style, however, being the only building of its kind in Niagara Falls with a temple facade form, it is particularly valued for being an architectural rarity. Many of the original exterior details have been maintained, including eave returns on the front gable and front door mouldings, with simple square profiles in the form of pilasters. The building is symmetrical, with single storey wings flanking the one-and-a-half storey main section of the house. The restored verandah, adopted from the Regency Revival style, includes three points of entry which lends itself well to the earlier function as a tavern. The six-over-six sash windows on portions of the building are believed to be recycled from the original sashes.
The interior includes details similar to Regency Revival style features, common to the period, as seen in the original fireplace and mantel and in the window panels. Fralick's Tavern is an architectural gem and has been extensively restored to showcase its original appearance.
Sources: Redmond Heights, Planning and Development, City of Niagara Falls, 1999
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of Fralick's Tavern include its:
- proximity to the Battle of Lundy's Lane, as a site located just across the road from the bloodiest battle of the War of 1812
- temple facade form being used in the Classical Revival style, being the only example in Niagara Falls
- Regency Revival style front porch between the two one storey wings
- front gable with eave returns typical of the Classical Revival style
- front door mouldings with simple square profiles in the form of pilasters with plain stepped entablature
- symmetrical window arrangement providing a balanced appearance to the front façade
- six over six sash window arrangement found on portions of the building, believed to be recycled from the original sash
- original fireplace with a mantel and wide deep chimney breast
- narrow second floor staircase with rounded handrail
- location on Lundy's Lane, a well-travelled route and prime location for early travellers to stop
- proximity to other properties designated for their heritage value, many also in relation to the battle, including the Drummond Hill Cemetery across the street from Fralick's Tavern