Description of Historic Place
The Officers’ Quarters are located at the Fort George National Historic Site of Canada, which overlooks the Niagara River, on the outskirts of Niagara-on-the-Lake. It is a single-storey, rectangular, log structure with wings at each end. A clapboard exterior and hipped-roof complement the symmetrical design. Regularly placed windows, doors and chimneys in the Colonial Revival style enhance a balanced façade. Situated within the fort palisades, the Officers’ Quarters overlook a large grassed area with paved walkways. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Officers' Quarters are a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Officers' Quarters are a 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, employed in 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' Quarters are valued for their very good aesthetic design. The reconstructions were generally based on extensive research. However, the architects freely interpreted the information about Fort George. The Fort George reconstruction was originally constructed with exposed log construction consistent with other buildings on the site. This represented the designer’s concept of a ‘frontier’ aesthetic; the structure has since been clad in horizontal clapboard that gives a Colonial Revival appearance. Good functional design is evidenced in the placement of doors and windows. Good use of traditional materials and very good craftsmanship is evident in the log construction.
The Officers' Quarters reinforce the historic character of Fort George National Historic Site of Canada and are 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: Officer’s Quarters, Fort George, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement 89-015.
The following character-defining elements of the Officers' Quarters should be respected.
Their very good aesthetic and good functional design and very good quality materials and craftsmanship, for example:
-the low, one-storey massing with wings at either end;
-the hipped roof, the hand split cedar shakes used for roof cladding, and the balanced, symmetrically placed chimneys;
-the exterior walls constructed of squared logs with dovetailed corners, clad with horizontal clapboard;
-the regular rhythm of doors and shuttered windows with their superior detailing also evidenced in the porch woodwork;
-the interior configuration.
The manner in which the Officers' Quarters reinforce the historic character of the National Historic Site of Canada and are a familiar landmark, as evidenced by:
-their simple design and materials that harmonize with the other buildings within the military setting of the fort;
-their role as a component of the group of structures from the Fort George National Historic Site of Canada complex, given its size and location near the palisade gate, that makes it familiar to locals and visitors.