Description of Historic Place
This magnificent two-storey house is an early Georgian style dwelling built in c.1805. The Danner-Sherk House is a solid construction of stone with a white stucco finish, four irregularly spaced bays across the front and a low pitched roof. This property is located along the west side of the scenic Niagara River at 12459 Niagara River Parkway.
The property is designated by the City of Niagara Falls under By-law No. 2000-45.
The house's location along Niagara River Parkway makes it one of many properties involved in the 1812 war activity that have since been designated for heritage value in the area. The building's current function of a bed and breakfast is consistent with many other houses along the Parkway that have been converted for similar uses.
The Danner-Sherk house is associated with the Loyalist settlers of the early 1800's and with the events relating to the War of 1812. The land upon which the house sits was purchased in 1801 by Ulrick Strickler who moved to Canada from Pennsylvania with his family and successfully used the land for farming. Strickler built the house around 1805. By 1812 he found himself in the midst of conflict. During the War of 1812 farmers crops and supplies were seized by American troops and according to records, claims by Mr. Stickler of produce losses were high. Again in 1814, Stickler fell prey to the war when British troops confiscated his goods. The house was used for a commissary by the British troops while a barn was used as barracks for the troops. The Danner-Sherk House was the only home not burned by American or British troops during the conflict.
The house was sold in 1816 to Joseph Danner, a Quaker who farmed the land until 1847. The house was occupied by troops once again during Danner's ownership for the 1837-38 Rebellion. The Ebenezers, a religious sect originating in Germany, occupied the house in 1847, and the trustees later sold the southern half of the property in 1855 to Elias Sherk, a dairy farmer. The house was passed on to members of the Sherk family until 1926 and was later owned by John MacTaggart, an active businessman, member of the Chamber of Commerce and director of Louis Tussaud's Wax Museum. The house is now a bed and breakfast that showcases its history.
The house embodies many architectural features that contribute to its heritage value. The stone construction has been a significant factor in its survival through militant activity, and the stucco finish is believed to have been applied early in the building's history to protect the stone or give the building a more refined finish. The house is a striking two-storey construction and is one of the only surviving examples of an early Loyalist building, in the Georgian style, in the area. The house features an attic, four frontal bays of irregular spacing and a low pitched roof. The symmetrical gable ends have two gable windows which would have flanked end chimneys, since removed. The house's interior plan is arranged around a central hall and the rear wing, constructed around 1820, housed a loom room on the upper floor.
Sources: “Notice of Intention to Designate”, Planning and Development, City of Niagara Falls, in the Niagara Falls Review, Sept. 25, 1999; “A House of Stone Built by Ulrich Strickler c.1805”, Ralph A. Robertson, 1999; “Danner House Bed and Breakfast”, Keith and Mary McGough, 2007.
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of the Danner-Sherk House include its:
- solid stone construction and stucco finish that contributed to the house's survival of the War of 1812
- four bays of irregular spacing across the front of the house
- house's original front entry including the side lights, six-panel door and wood panelling in the door recess
- remnants of the two end chimneys, visible in the attic, that would have contributed to the house's balanced appearance
- low pitched roof with symmetrically arranged gable ends
- two gable windows
- shape and size, typical of early Georgian architecture, favoured by Loyalist settlers