Description of Historic Place
This large two-and-a-half storey home is set at the end of a long winding driveway, surrounded by pine trees, and barely visible on Dorset Street East. It has a distinctive, irregular roofline with steeply pitched gables, and elaborate bargeboard trim. The David Smith House, known as “Fairmont” is at 162 Dorset Street East.
It is recognized for its heritage value by the Town of Port Hope By-law 9/80 Schedule B-3, passed on February 18, 1980.
Fairmont is one of the best examples of the Cottage Gothic style, in Port Hope, with its elaborate roof, decorative bargeboard and window trim. It is also a rare example of poured 'concrete' construction, advocated by Orson Fowler in his 1848 book “A Home for All: or the Gravel Wall and Octagon Mode of Building”. The 'concrete' mixture is composed of beach gravel, pebbles, sand and lime, and was rarely used in Upper Canada.
Built in circa 1858, Fairmont was constructed for David Smith and his wife, Sarah Russell. The Smith family were very prominent in 19th century Port Hope. David's father, John David Smith, was a local magistrate and member of the Legislative Assembly, and David's brother, Sidney Smith, was Postmaster General of Canada, from 1858-1862. David was a lumberman, and managed the Smith family's lumber interests.
David and Sarah Smith sold Fairmont, in 1870, and it subsequently had a number of owners. In 1936, the property was purchased by the Ketchum family, who owned the house for several decades. Dr. Ketchum was the headmaster of Trinity College School when he purchased Fairmont.
Source: Heritage Designation By-law 9/80 Schedule B-3, Municipality of Port Hope; Heritage Port Hope Files, Port Hope Town Hall, 56 Queen Street; Port Hope Archives, 17 Mill Street N., Port Hope.
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of Fairmont include its:
- two-and-a-half storey 'Cottage Gothic' form
- exterior, poured 'concrete' walls, resting on a coursed rubble foundation
- irregular roofline with varied steep gable peaks
- decorative bargeboard gable trim, finials and drops
- fenestration, mostly tall, thin casement windows with trim and bellcast awnings
- main entrance on the east facade