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Newburgh Academy

411, Academy Street, Stone Mills, Ontario, K0K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1976/07/30

View of the main (south) façade taken from the southeastern corner of the property – July 2004; OHT, 2004
View of the main (south) façade – July 2004
View of the north elevation showing concrete block addition at the rear – July 2004; OHT, 2004
View of the north elevation – July 2004
Historic view of the main (south) façade showing school children playing in the yard – c. 1959; Fluke, 1977
Historic view of the main (south) façade – c. 1959

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/12/11

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The building at 411 Academy Street, commonly known as the Newburgh Academy, is situated prominently on a hilltop at the western-most limit of the Village of Newburgh. The two-and-a-half-storey vernacular structure was built in 1853 to replace an older school building. It stands today as Newburgh's most recognizable heritage resource.

The exterior of the building is protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement, 1976.

Heritage Value

The Academy is set upon a hilltop on the western limits of Newburgh and has remained a local landmark since its construction in 1853. As one approaches Newburgh by way of Concession Street (County Road 11), it is the first building on the north and signifies arrival into the village. Today, Concession Street exists as one of the best preserved streetscapes in Newburgh and there has been little modern infill to alter the street's nineteenth century character. One of the village's other recognizable cultural landmarks, the United Church, is also located on Concession Street.

The Newburgh Academy is associated with early education in Ontario and the wave of educational expansion that followed early amendments to the first School Act of Upper Canada. The idea to establish a school of high academic standing in Newburgh was promoted by Dr. Isaac Brock Aylesworth, George Eakins, and Robert Hope and grew out of the dissatisfaction that the first School Act allotted only one grammar school within each of Upper Canada's nine districts. In 1839, the School Act was amended to allow for the establishment of supplementary grammar schools, and by the end of the same year the Napanee Grammar School, the Bath Academy and the Newburgh Academy had been founded. By the mid-1840s, the Newburgh Academy enjoyed a reputation as one of the leading schools in Canada West and attracted the brightest students from the surrounding townships and abroad. Due to its rapid growth and blossoming reputation, the original Academy building was replaced by the existing structure in 1853.

The Newburgh Academy is one of the most attractive pre-Confederation era school buildings in Ontario. It provides a handsome example of vernacular architecture applied to an institutional structure. The design is quite conservative for the 1850s, as the massive form, high wall-to-window ratio and rusticated quoins of the building are more typical of Georgian architecture. In January of 1872, a large fire destroyed the interior of the building and much of the structure had to be rebuilt. Despite the severe damage, the building's most prominent features were all rebuilt to their original design with the exception of a large, central Gothic Revival gable that was added to reflect the prevailing architectural style of the time. The building went through a major interior renovation from 1971 to 1975 to convert it from a school into apartments.

Source: Conservation Easement Files, Ontario Heritage Trust

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Newburgh Academy include the:
- building as a representation of early education in Ontario
- building as a representation of the wave of educational expansion that followed early amendments to the first School Act of Upper Canada
- Georgian-influenced Vernacular design and composition in random ashlar
- symmetrical fenestration, ashlar quoins, frontispiece, and central gable of the main (south) façade
- central entry which is defined by two two-storey pilasters and is approached by a gently-sloped series of stairs
- central gable above the central entrance which is topped with a wooden finial and decorated with a quatrefoil window
- centrally located arch-headed windows in the attic storey of the east and west elevations
- first and second storey flat-headed, double-hung, sash windows with large haunch stones at the arch ends (windows contain twelve-over-twelve glazing on the ground floor and twelve-over-eight glazing on the second storey)
- gable roof which is clad in sheet metal and punctuated on the east and west sides by red brick chimneys
- octagonal cupola which is positioned centrally upon the roof and contains wooden shutters on all sides and a metal-clad bell-cast roof
- location upon a hilltop at the West limits of Newburgh
- existence as one of Newburgh's most recognizable heritage landmarks




Recognition Authority

Ontario Heritage Trust

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Ontario Heritage Foundation Easement

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1976/01/01 to 1976/01/01
1971/01/01 to 1975/01/01
1839/01/01 to 1839/01/01
1872/01/01 to 1872/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts

Function - Category and Type


Multiple Dwelling


Composite School

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Conservation Easement Files Ontario Heritage Trust 10 Adelaide Street East Toronto, Ontario

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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