Description of Historic Place
The Towers D-1, D-2, D-3,D-4, also known as the Gate Houses, buttressing the corners of the wall encircling Dorchester Penitentiary, are tall, stone, structures designed like classical columns with a flared concrete base and square or octagonal stone shafts topped by a platform. The platforms support enclosed guard huts. The designation is confined to the footprint of each tower.
The Towers (D-1, D-2, D-3, D-4), are Recognized Federal Heritage Buildings because of their historical associations, architectural and environmental value.
The Towers (D-1, D-2, D-3, D-4) are associated with the expansion of correctional services, which by the end of the 1870s had led to a nation-wide penal system in Canada. The construction of the Penitentiary in Dorchester had a great economic influence on the region’s local development, providing a source of employment and a market for local goods.
The Towers (D-1, D-2, D-3, D-4) are examples of typical prison tower design. Functionally planned to provide a raised and protected platform from which to monitor inmates, they are shaped like classical columns divided into three parts, base, shaft and capital. They exhibit good quality stonework.
The Towers (D-1, D-2, D-3, D-4), located at the corners of the rectangular wall encircling the prison, reinforce the institutional character of the penitentiary setting. Higher than the wall, the towers are one of the more visible components of the penitentiary’s protection structure and as such are a familiar local landmark.
Sources: Dana Johnson, Dorchester Penitentiary, Dorchester, New Brunswick, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 89-034; Towers D-1, D-2, D-3, D-4, Dorchester Penitentiary, Dorchester, New Brunswick, Heritage Character Statement, 89-034.
The following character-defining elements of the Towers D-1, D-2, D-3, D-4 should be respected.
Its functional design, and good craftsmanship, for example:
- the flared concrete base and square or octagonal stone shaft of the towers, capped by a capital (platform) that supports enclosed guard huts;
- the stonework that includes wider blocks for the flared base, smaller blocks higher up and smooth stones for the corner quoins, the voussoirs in all door and window openings, and the brackets supporting the capital;
- the window treatment, which contributes to the overall ‘fortified’ appearance of the design;
- the surviving layout that includes a ground level entrance, a spiral staircase and a raised guard hut.
The manner in which the Towers D-1, D-2, D-3, D-4 reinforce the institutional character of the penitentiary setting and are conspicuous landmarks in the region, as evidenced by:
- the overall design and materials of the towers that match the penitentiary’s wall and the main building;
- the high visibility of the four towers in the vicinity.