Description of Historic Place
The Blockhouse at Fort Edward National Historic Site of Canada is a compact two-storey wood structure with an overhanging second floor and pyramidal roof clad in wood shingles. All elevations are identical, the only distinguishing features being the entrance door with adjacent windows and the brick chimney. The windows are centered on each second floor wall immediately below a row of loopholes and rows of loopholes also line the three walls of the lower floor. Visible from beneath the overhanging upper storey are machicolations. The interior consists simply of two large rooms, upper and lower, connected by a stair. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Blockhouse is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The Blockhouse is one of the best illustrations of the military strength required to ensure Nova Scotia’s continuance as a British settlement. Britain had taken possession of Nova Scotia, a former French territory by the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, and began to claim its rights of possession by implementing a settlement plan which included the construction of Fort Edward. The Blockhouse was among the first of two hundred blockhouses constructed in Canada and is the only structure of the fort surviving from the 1750’s. It underwent a major restoration in the 1950’s.
The Blockhouse is a good early example of typical blockhouse design and is a rare surviving example of a wooden blockhouse. Its value resides in its distinctive form that is based on functional requirements, which are characteristic of blockhouse design. This includes its simplicity of form, excellent sturdy construction, materials and window openings which were formerly gunports. The Blockhouse was intended as an adaptable form of fortification and thus maintained a flexible, open layout.
Standing isolated on a hill and visible to the highway that runs below it, the Blockhouse establishes the character of the fort setting at Fort Edward National Historic Site of Canada. A distinct structure it maintains a physical relationship to the openness of the grounds. The building enjoys a high level of recognition in the community and is often used as a symbol of Windsor. Directions to the site are well marked and it is highlighted in tourist brochures and its grounds are often used for group events, such as festivals, and private picnics.
Sources: Joan Mattie. Blockhouse, Fort Edward National Historic Site, Windsor, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 92-097; Blockhouse, Fort Edward National Historic Site, Windsor, Nova Scotia, Heritage Character Statement 92-097.
The character-defining elements of the Blockhouse should be respected.
Its good typical blockhouse design and distinctive simple form based on functional requirements, excellent sturdy construction, quality craftsmanship and materials as manifested in:
-its simple, compact two-storey massing with an overhanging second floor and medium-pitched kingpost roof structure clad in wood shingles;
-its sturdy construction with its exterior construction consisting of dovetailed timbers, heavy timber floor plates with wood decking, and 1950s restored exterior walls clad with horizontal shiplap siding with vertical corner boards;
-its entrance door with adjacent windows centered on each second floor wall immediately below a row of loopholes and its rows of loopholes lining the three walls of the lower floor;
-its overhanging upper storey machicolations;
-its simple interior layout of two rooms, upper and lower, connected by a stair.
The manner in which the Blockhouse establishes the character of the historic fort setting of the Fort Edward National Historic Site of Canada and is a symbol of Windsor, Nova Scotia.