Smiths Falls urged to recognize Frost family legacy

Groundskeepers House
The Groundskeeper’s House at 97 Chamber St. East is one of the buildings that Heritage Smiths Falls is pushing to be recognized. Photo credit: Chris Must
Posted on: March 15, 2017

Chris Must

Heritage Smiths Falls is urging the town to recognize the historical significance of a group of properties on Chambers Street.

Group members Tony Humphrey and Christopher McGuire appeared at a March 13 meeting of Smiths Falls town council’s Committee of the Whole to presented a recommendation to list the buildings known as the Frost Mansion Row as properties of interest.

Council was advised that this designation does not impose any restrictions on the owner of the property other than to require a 60-day delay before any order to demolish the building can take place.

The buildings include Elmcroft, the former home of Senator Francis T. Frost, at 89 Chambers St; the Groundskeeper’s House at 97 Chamber St. East; the McKimm House at 69 Chambers St. East; and the Edwin J. Frost House at 65 Chambers St. East.

Humphrey told councillors these homes were built between 1890 and 1905 in the Queen Anne Revival style of architecture. Features of this style include stone, brick and wood siding with decorating trim. The homes feature exterior towers or cupolas, and stained glass décor.

McGuire said the homes should be recognized as properties of interest because “the people who lived in these houses played a big role in making us what we are today.”

Elmcroft was once a three-storey building, but its owner in the 1930s cut it down to one storey in order to reduce property taxes, which were based on square footage.

Listing as a property of interest is an initial step toward full heritage designation. If that process goes forward, said town planner Niki Dwyer, the property owners will be consulted. If they are opposed to the process, she added, the town won’t proceed with it.