Description of Historic Place
The building known as Fryfogel's Tavern, is situated on Highway 7/8, two kilometres east of the Village of Shakespeare in the Municipality of Perth East. The two-storey brick building was designed in the Neoclassic style and built in c. 1844-45.
The exterior and interior of the building and scenic character of the property are protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement (1990). The property is also designated by the Municipality of Perth East under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (Bylaw No. 30-1999).
Located at the edge of Highway 7/8, which constitutes the former Huron Road, Fryfogel's Tavern recalls the early settlement pattern of the Perth County. It was along this road that settlement in the area first began to spread out, therefore placing it amidst one of the municipality's most historic areas. Bordering a brook, which was undoubtedly a factor in the tavern's placement, the site also features a wooded perimeter and grassed yard reflecting the site's historic appearance. Graves and markers of Sebastian Fryfogel and other Fryfogel family members are located on the property's western portion, as well as a cairn (1928) marking the site's century of occupation.
Fryfogel's Tavern is associated with the earliest European settlement of what was known as the Canada Company's 'Huron Tract'. This was an immense tract of land that included Perth County and all of the property between Guelph and Goderich. Constructed by the county's first settler, Sebastian Fryfogel, this building is situated on the Huron Road, a colonization road which bisected the tract, and marks the site of an earlier 1828 log tavern. Established by the Canada Company, a number of these wooden taverns were constructed along the road to provide a place of rest and entertainment and were instrumental in facilitating area settlement. The original tavern operated by Fryfogel and his wife Mary became an especially popular stopping place and allowed him to construct the subsequent comfortable structure around 1844-45. Prominent and highly respected in the community, the Swiss-born Fryfogel held a variety of municipal offices including district councillor, reeve, county warden, militia captain and magistrate. Fryfogel's Tavern survives as the only structure of its kind within the former Huron Tract.
Fryfogel's Tavern is an example of an Upper Canadian building in Neoclassic design. While following the principals of Georgian style composition, the tavern's detailing utilizes features of the more contemporary Neoclassic style. The wide central entrance comprised of side and transom lights, along with subtle elements, such as, moulded cornice with returns and rounded blind arches in the gable ends, are reflective of this stylistic shift to the Neoclassic. Meanwhile, the exposed fieldstone finish that differentiates the structure's rear wall, using less expensive and readily available materials, demonstrates the practicality and pragmatism that characterized the area's settlers. Contained within, are large rooms for dining, drinking, and dancing that recall the tavern function. The significant retention of original interior fabric such as plaster walls, wood floors, wooden mouldings and decorative paint schemes contribute to the uniqueness of the site and are featured in an authentic state.
Source: OHT Easement Files.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of Fryfogel's Tavern include its:
- placement on the site of the original, 1828 tavern, the first permanent European built structure in Perth County;
- location on Highway 7/8 (the old Huron Road)
- regular, symmetrical and rectangular, two-storey plan
- partially exposed basement (east elevation) with exterior door
- side gable roof with cedar shingle cladding, return cornice with multiple mouldings and two internal end chimneys
- red brick exterior constructed in common bond with a rubble coursed fieldstone rear wall and foundation with roughly struck and scored mortar joints
- 12 over 12, double-hung, wooden sash windows and small, square, four-pane attic windows
- wide first and second storey central doorways (façade) with multi-pane sidelights and transom lights
- small rounded, blind arches at the gable peak
- bar room exterior entrance with transom light
- centre-hall plan containing straight flight stairs with aligned front and rear doorways
- staircase with turned newel post and plain balusters
- floor plan exemplifying tavern function, comprised of large public rooms including dining room, bar room, and ballroom
- basement fireplace with forged iron fireplace crane
- lathe and plaster walls with wooden mouldings including some baseboards, chair rails, doors and window casings
- simple, Neoclassical, wooden chimneypieces
- twisted form of the internal chimney sections
- unfinished, wide-board pine floors
- surviving elements of decorative paint schemes such as panelled wainscot, faux-finished walls, ashlar, faux-finished hallway walls and two scenic landscape murals applied to the plaster (one depicting Niagara Falls) above the fireplaces
- unspoiled, rural, agricultural context
- brook-side location on a site sloping to the south-east
- wooded perimeter and grassed yard containing the graves and markers of Sebastian Fryfogel and other Fryfogel family members as well as a stone, commemorative, centennial cairn (1928)
- immediate proximity to Highway 7/8