Description of Historic Place
The Officers’ Kitchen is located at the Fort George National Historic Site of Canada, which overlooks the Niagara River, on the outskirts of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Kitchen is a simple, single-storey, log structure with a gable roof and a brick chimney. Small multi-pane windows light the structure and flank one of the two doors on the asymmetrical façade. Situated within the fort palisades, the Officers’ Kitchen stands behind the Officers’ Quarters in a large grassed area crossed by paved walkways. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Officers’ Kitchen is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Officers’ Kitchen is a very good example of a building associated with the development and expansion of historic sites in Canada during the 1930s Depression, as a result of government funded relief work programs. Historic reconstruction, common to this period, followed a North American pattern influenced by the reconstruction of Colonial Williamsburg. Recognition that an increase in private ownership of automobiles would encourage tourism, promoted the reconstruction of Fort George as a tourist destination. Both the reconstruction process and the subsequent attraction of the public to the area contributed to the economic development of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
The Officers’ Kitchen is valued for its good aesthetic design. Reconstructions were intended to commemorate and interpret important events in history and were generally based on extensive research. The Officers’ Kitchen is loosely based on an historic antecedent; the appearance and construction of the building is consistent with other buildings on the site, and represents the designers’ concept of a ‘frontier’ aesthetic. Good functional design is evidenced in the internal division of the structure into a separate pantry and kitchen. The use of traditional materials and good craftsmanship is evident in the squared log construction.
The Officers’ Kitchen is compatible with the historic character of Fort George National Historic Site of Canada and is a familiar landmark to residents and to visitors.
Sources:Shannon Ricketts, Twenty Buildings, Niagara Historic Sites, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 89-015; Officers’ Kitchen, Fort George, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 89-015.
The following character-defining elements of the Officers’ Kitchen should be respected.
Its good aesthetic and functional design and good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the low, single-storey massing;
-the gable roof clad with hand split cedar shakes, and the brick chimney;
-the exterior walls constructed of squared logs with dovetailed corners, left exposed in the ‘frontier’ aesthetic;
-the placement of doors and windows;
-the internal configuration of the structure.
The manner in which the Officers’ Kitchen is compatible with the historic character of the National Historic Site and is a well-known regional landmark, as evidenced by:
-its simple design and materials that harmonize with the other buildings within the military setting of the fort;
-its role as a component of the group of structures from the Fort George National Historic Site of Canada complex, including the adjacent Officers’ Quarters and nearby saw-pit and blacksmith’s shop, that makes it familiar to locals and visitors.