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Strolling in Smiths Falls

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Smiths Falls

StrollingMapped herein is a treasure trove of diverse architecture and heritage. May you conjure images of yesterday as you stroll through the streets of our lovely town, Smiths Falls.

Your tour begins at the intersection of Beckwith and Elmsley streets and progresses down Beckwith.

1. Built in 1903, the Smiths Falls Library is one of the last remaining Carnegie Library buildings in the area.

2. Recreation Centre (formerly Central School). 1871, and the Town Hall, 79 Beckwith Street. Built in the late 19th century, both reflect the same architectural styles, exhibit well-proportioned facades and evenly spaced windows.

Walking south along Beckwith Street, notice the churches: Westminster Presbyterian, built in 1928, and First Baptist, built in 1873. At the corner of Beckwith and William is the:

Rideau Hotel     Rideau Hotel
Rideau Hotel: Top of oriel windows and
fourth floor terraced windows.
  Eye brackets, dentils and
frieze of the Rideau Hotel.

3. Rideau Hotel, 20 Beckwith Street. This attractive building was constructed in 1901. Notice the windows on the south facade. The front originally sported a two-story portico.

4. PharmaPlus, formerly the Russell Hotel, 2 Beckwith Street. Before 1885, called Wardrobe Hotel; a bank, grocery store and barbershop were once contained within its walls.

5. 1 Beckwith Street S. This building is a wood frame with brick veneer and was built in 1880. A pharmacy until recently, it is the site where one of the first log shacks was built in pioneer days.

Washburn Block
Washburn Block: iron label surround.

6. Washburn Block, SW corner Main and Beckwith. c. 1875. A significant business block in Smiths Falls since its construction; notice the detailed windows and ornamentation in the brickwork below the roof line.

7. SE corner of Main and Beckwith, formerly the Bank of Nova Scotia. Originally Clark and Lewis Hardware, built in 1871. Light stone quoins and large oval topped windows give this building appeal.

8. On 28 - 30 Beckwith Street S., notice the "Fort Hemlock" stone in the upper facade. According to local folklore, this was the scene of a donnybrook between two local groups in the mid 19th century, where the existence of a large Hemlock tree prevented one group from pushing a frame building into the river, thereby naming the site Fort Hemlock.

Proceed across the bridge to:

9. The old Wood's Mill complex (1855 -1891), the site of the Rideau Canal Visitor Information Centre (formerly the Rideau Canal Museum).

As we cross the historic Rideau Canal, notice the small white frame on the left (c. 1900), once known as the Watch House. Next on the left is the Lockmaster's House. It was originally a defensible building built in 1843, and a second storey was added in the 1920's.

Carss HouseCorner of Lombard Street and Brockville Street:

10. The Carss House: this impressive brick home was built in 1895 by Ogle Carss who was an early mayor of Smiths Falls.

11. The Powers House (c. 1840), 81 Brockville Street, built by Captain Beckwith for James Simpson, was constructed by the board-on-board method and had four fireplaces.

12. This attractive house at 84 Brockville Street, (c. 1875), was the home of Captain Adam Foster, the man responsible for giving us our public utilities.

For those wishing to walk an extra block, at 110 Brockville Street is an impressive stone home built by John B. Ward in the late 1870's. Others may wish to turn back and proceed to the south-east corner of Beckwith and Chambers.

13. The old Rideau Theatre, built in 1912; it was renamed the Capital in 1929 and operated until the late 1940's,

Turn right onto Chambers.

14. At 32 - 34 Chambers Street (c. 1899), is our only example of the style known as the "Salt Box".

15. At 57 Chambers Street (c. 1899), is the Neo-Classical house built for Abel Russell Ward, who has been credited as being the founder of our town.

16. & 17. The brick houses at 65 & 69 Chambers Street are fine examples of turn-of-the-century architecture.

At the south-east corner of Chambers and Elmsley is,

18. A fine old Queen Anne styled house. It was the home of Senator FT. Frost and originally has three storeys.

Turn left onto Elmsley. Walk north two blocks to:

19. The former home of James Shaw, Smiths Falls' first senator, at 15 Elmsley North.

Turn left onto Bay Street,

20. The house at 12 Bay Street N. may date as early as 1835. In 1878, it became the Methodist Manse.

21. Known as the Craine House, 2 Bay Street N., was the home of one of Canada's first lady doctors.

Turn left onto Main Street,

22. 55 Main Street is one of our last examples of original board and batten construction.

23. 32 Main Street E., was originally the Story Hotel and later became a funeral home. Lalonde's Dry Goods (1843). 14 Main Street E. Notice the ornamental iron work. At the present time it houses the Lucien College of Business and Technology.

24. 10 Main Street E., (1893). Notice the fine brick work and semi-circular window. The building was the home of the Union Bank.

Turn right at Beckwith and walk north to Russell Street,

25. Examine the old Post Office on the NW comer, built by Thomas Fuller, Dominion Architect, in 1894. The clock was added in 1915.

26. On your right is Trinity United Church, built in 1886 with an addition in 1896.

Left on Church Street to point of origin.

For those who wish to see more, may we suggest a two block walk north, past 112 and 127 Beckwith Street N. Other interesting buildings can be found on Maple Avenue; one block west of Beckwith, and on George Street, two blocks west of Beckwith Street. Please visit Heritage House Museum on Old Slys Road, the Railway Museum at the end of Church Street W, and the Rideau Canal Visitor Information Centre at the south end of Beckwith Street at the bridge.

This brochure was produced by the Smiths Falls Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee (L.A.C.A.C.) in 1988.

Digital versions created in 2003 by Ken W. Watson.

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©1996- Ken W. Watson