Description of Historic Place
Constructed in 1799, the Buchner House is a one-and-a-half storey building with blue siding, white trim and an enclosed porch. It is situated at 6172 Buchner Place on the southwest slope of Drummond Hill, in the city of Niagara Falls. The house is in close proximity to the historic Lundy's Lane, the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the 1812-1814 war.
The property is recognized for its heritage value by the City of Niagara Falls By-law No. 98-85.
Buchner House is associated with the Buchner family, prominent settlers in Drummondville (now Niagara Falls), who played a significant role in the community. The property was purchased in 1799 by Christopher Buchner, a United Empire Loyalist, from his father-in-law, James Forsyth, who was among the first ten families to settle in the area in 1783. Forsyth was the first owner of Drummond Hill, the site where Buchner eventually constructed his residence. The house is situated on land that was central to the Battle of Lundy's Lane, which occurred on July 25, 1814 and is recorded in military papers discussing the battle proceedings. Christopher Buchner, a lieutenant in the 2nd Lincoln militia, and his son John were standing only a few hundred yards from the house during the first skirmishes of the battle. During this battle, John was taken prisoner by American troops and released after the war. The property was later transferred to John in 1819 and to Samuel Street in 1824.
Around 1851, Donald and Catherine MacKenzie acquired the property, and the MacKenzies built and operated the first observation tower of the battle site on their lands south of Lundy's Lane. As such, the MacKenzies and their tower played an important role in the city's early tourism business.
The pre-19th Century Buchner house is one of the oldest heritage properties in the City of Niagara Falls. It has withstood the natural elements over time and the early war activity of The War of 1812, making it particularly valuable to the history of Niagara Falls.
The building's exterior is a successful blend of vernacular and eclectic styles, ranging from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century, that contribute to its unified appearance. The Buchner house was initially a two-bay Italianate frame structure. The enclosed porch, extended roof slope and elongated dormer are alterations of the original form. The sash windows and pane configuration vary in size between the front porch and the house, indicative of several periods of construction.
The Buchner House is significant to the landscape of Drummond Hill (formerly the Heights of Lundy's Lane), as it is part of a collection of historical sites designated for their heritage value in relation to the 1814 Battle of Lundy's Lane. The property is also located just west of the Drummond Hill Cemetery, a historic site on the battlegrounds and the final resting place of Laura Secord, renowned for the vital role she played in the battle.
Sources: 6172 Buchner Place Notice of Intention to Designate, Planning and Development, City of Niagara Falls, 1998; By-law No. 98-85, Planning and Development, City of Niagara Falls, 1998; 6172 Detailed Property Information, City of Niagara Falls, 2007.
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of the Buchner House include its:
- location as the first settlement in the former community of Drummondville
- initial two-bay Italianate frame structure
- enclosed porch
- extended roof slope
- elongated dormer, an alteration of the original form
- sash windows of various sizes and pane configuration between the house and front porch, indicating separate periods of construction
- location on the battlegrounds of one of the bloodiest battles of the 1812-1814 war, the Battle of Lundy's Lane
- proximity of the house to other historical sites related to the battle, including the famous Drummond Hill Cemetery