Description of Historic Place
The building at 356 East Street, known as the Prescott Barracks, is situated in the Town of Prescott. The two-storey stone building was designed in the Georgian style and was constructed ca.1810.
The historical, architectural, aesthetic and scenic character and condition of the exterior of the building and selected elements of the interior are protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement. The property is also designated by the Town of Prescott under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act. In 1979 a provincial plaque was erected on the property commemorating the Prescott Barracks and Hospital.
The Prescott Barracks is significant for its association with landowner, British army commander, and founder of Prescott, Col. Edward Jessup (1735-1816) and the War of 1812. In 1777 members of the King's Loyal Americans, which included Edward Jessup, arrived in Canada. In 1781 the King's Loyal Americans were combined with four loyal New York units to form a new regiment. Edward Jessup was appointed major and commandant and the regiment became known as Jessup's Rangers. At the end of the American Revolution (1783), Jessup received lands in Upper Canada in return for his service to the Crown and in 1810 Jessup had a town site surveyed on part of his Augusta Township lands. He named the newly surveyed town Prescott. Two buildings constructed ca.1810 in Prescott by Jessup, a stone teacher's residence and log schoolhouse, were commandeered for military use by Col. William Fraser at the outbreak of the War of 1812. A stockade was constructed around Jessup's two buildings due to the property's strategic and military value with its command of the St. Lawrence River. The stockade was completed by August 1812, and occupied by the militia under Capt. Walker. The timber schoolhouse served as a barracks, kitchen, dispensing room and surgery and a number of temporary huts were constructed on Jessup's property. The war ended on Christmas Eve 1814, but the stockade continued to function as a Barrack Master's store on the ground level and a garrison hospital on the second floor. Ca. 1823 the government purchased the school and residence, and after completing a number of renovations to both structures, offered the property for sale. The former barracks served as a private residence until the 1980s when the house was converted into a museum depicting life during the War of 1812 and a restaurant serving traditional 19th century fare. Today, the house is privately owned and has been converted to a private residence.
The Prescott Barracks is a significant example of vernacular Georgian architecture in Ontario. The ca. 1810 house is constructed of local limestone with few exterior embellishments. The two-story house has a medium-pitched gable roof with a symmetrical three-bay facade. Original exterior features include the wooden window frames, sashes and stone lintels, however, period 6/6 windows and shutters were installed in the early 1990s. On the north and south facades window openings have been in-filled with stone. On the interior, the first floor contains a small entrance hall, flanked by two large rooms. The first floor fireplace with simple mantel, original damper plates, warming cupboard above the fireplace and the windows with paneled surrounds and interior shutters are features that date to the 19th century. The second floor has a fireplace, cupboard and window surrounds. Select woodwork including baseboards and floorboards date to the 19th century, however much has been replaced by previous owners. A two-storey wood frame addition was built in the 1880s on the east facade giving an L-shaped appearance to the building. The building underwent significant restoration in the early 1980s, partially funded by the Ontario Heritage Foundation. Other renovations throughout the 1980s and 1990s were undertaken for its use as the Prescott Barracks and Hospital Museum and a restaurant
The Prescott Barracks property was investigated for archaeology in 1979 and 1989. Due to the nature of the use of the residence and schoolhouse (only the foundations remain) and the construction of a number of huts during the War of 1812, the property has archaeological potential.
Located at 356 East Street in Prescott, the Prescott Barracks is located near Prescott's commercial downtown core. The house is located 300 metres from the St. Lawrence River and less than 400 meters east of Fort Wellington, which can be viewed from the Jessup property.
Source: OHT Easement files
Character defining elements of Prescott Barracks include its:
- association with Col. Edward Jessup
- association with the War of 1812
- association with the early development of the Town of Prescott
- association with Col. William Fraser
- vernacular Georgian design
- use of local limestone
- three-bay front facade
- symmetry of the front facade, free of embellishment
- medium-pitched gable roof
- wooden window frames and sashes
- stone lintels
- room placement on the first floor with a small entrance hall, flanked by two large rooms
- first floor fireplace with simple mantel, original damper plates and warming cupboard
- windows with paneled surrounds and interior shutters
- second floor fireplace, cupboard and window surrounds
- select woodwork including baseboards and floorboards
- two-storey wood frame addition
- the property's archaeological potential associated with the War of 1812
- location near Prescott's downtown
- location 300 metres from the St. Lawrence River
- location less than 400 metres from Fort Wellington