Description of Historic Place
A defensive component of Old Fort Henry, the Reverse Fire Gallery West is a vaulted chamber set within the northwest angles of the counterscarp facing the redoubt. Loopholes and gunports set in the smooth limestone walls above a dry ditch are the only visible exterior elements. The solidly built interior spaces demonstrate a simple geometry with plain surfaces. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building, including the access tunnel.
The Old Fort Henry, Reverse Fire Gallery West is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations and its architectural and environmental values.
The Old Fort Henry, Reverse Fire Gallery West is associated with the active defence of Canada from the ongoing threat of the United States. The Old Fort Henry, Reverse Fire Gallery West was designed to form a second line of defence for the redoubt in the event of an attack by ground troops. Its relationship to the escarp, the redoubt and the ditch is critical in explaining the story of the 19th-century British defence system. The ditch was extensively restored in 1938, and as such today it appears unaltered.
The Old Fort Henry, Reverse Fire Gallery West has good aesthetic qualities, and is a standard example of a mid-19th-century defensive military design composed of six interconnected casemates built into the counterscarp. Access is gained internally through underground tunnels. Its specialized features, construction techniques and materials express its very good functional design. Very good quality craftsmanship can be seen in the finely jointed and dressed stonework.
The Old Fort Henry, Reverse Fire Gallery West maintains an unchanged relationship to its site and reinforces the present military character of Fort Henry. It is familiar to those within the fort.
Sources: Fern Graham, Fort Henry, Kingston Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 95-051; Reverse Fire Gallery West, Fort Henry, Kingston, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 95-051.
The character-defining elements of the Old Fort Henry, Reverse Fire Gallery West should be respected.
Its functional, military defence design and very good quality materials and craftsmanship as evidenced in:
-the smooth dressed limestone walls and simple geometry of the regularly spaced loophole openings and gunports;
-the internal configuration of the galleries, the solidly built, well-proportioned stone vaulted interior spaces;
-the interior doors and gunport slides of solid wrought iron;
-the underground vaulted brick and stone tunnel from the magazine to the redoubt.
The manner in which the Old Fort Henry, Reverse Fire Gallery West maintains an unchanged relationship to its site, reinforces the present character of the military setting, and is conspicuous within the area of the fort, as evidenced by:
-the ongoing relationship of the Old Fort Henry, Reverse Fire Gallery West to the northwest corner of the main ditch, inclusive of the dry ditch and redoubt;
-the design and materials of the Old Fort Henry, Reverse Fire Gallery West maintain a visual and physical relationship between the structure, the dry ditch and the redoubt.