Description of Historic Place
Standing at the tip of Point Frederick, the Fort Frederick Martello Tower at the Royal Military College, otherwise known as Building 30, is a massively built, plain cylindrical four-storey tower of stone construction of medium profile. It has massive circular walls built of rubble masonry and its exterior wall inclines slightly inwards as it rises. The structure reaches 45 feet in height at the trefoil shaped parapet. The roof consists of a timber built, facetted snow roof covered with metal. Openings to the interior are from shutter covered, arched embrasures in the tower wall. The projecting caponiers at the base of the tower are joined to the tower with graceful ogival arches. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Fort Frederick Martello Tower is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Fort Frederick Martello Tower is a useful example of a structure associated with the defence of the Royal Naval Dockyard and the Rideau Canal. It was the most strategically important of the four towers built between 1846 and 1848. Associated with the early military development of the area Fort Frederick Tower was militarily obsolete even before receiving adequate armament in 1862. It served a symbolic role showing British commitment to defence, and a functional role as a barracks until the British army withdrew in 1870. Its construction, with the associated economic benefits and the subsequent requirements of personnel had an impact on Kingston.
The Fort FrederickTower is a good example of a specialized 19th century military defence design. It displays an exceptional interpretation of the Martello design elements which were modified so as to contain a larger two-floor barracks. The execution of these elements is evidence of the craftsmanship employed in the construction of the Tower. Displaying massive cylindrical profile masonry walls, trefoil parapet walls, and complex interior divisions characteristic of the Martello towers the building exhibits sound workmanship and care in the execution of its massive construction and its details.
Located in Kingston, within what is now the Royal Military College, the Fort Frederic Tower is situated at the tip of Point Frederick overlooking Lake Ontario. The Tower has a strong visual impact, distinguished from the surrounding college buildings by its rounded shape, its obvious age, and its apparent military function. The structure reinforces the coastal defence setting of Kingston and is a landmark to both local people and visitors to Kingston.
Joan Mattie, Fort Frederick Martello Tower, Royal Military College, Building No.30, Kingston, Ontario. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 93-099; Fort Frederick Martello Tower, Royal Military College, Building No.30, Kingston, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 93-099.
The character-defining elements of the Fort Frederick Martello Tower should be respected.
Its functional military defence design and good quality materials and craftsmanship as evidenced in:
- the simple geometric massing of the squat cylindrical tower of solid stone construction with a medium profile;
- the roof consisting of a timber built, facetted snow roof covered with metal.
- the trefoil shaped parapet;
- the massive circular walls built of rubble masonry and its exterior wall of smooth ashlar limestone that inclines slightly inwards as it rises to a height of 45 feet;
- the subtle shaping of the scarp wall into parabolic facets and the interior openings which are shutter covered, arched embrasures in the tower wall;
- the wooden stairs to a door at the second level;
- the projecting caponiers at the base of the tower joined to the tower by graceful ogival arches.
The manner in which the Fort Frederick Martello Tower reinforces the military character of the Royal Military College and the Kingston harbour area.