Five heritage buildings in Hanilton were recently selected by MasonryWorx as the finest examples of masonry design as well as adding to the city’s beauty, history and industry.
Loft developer Harry Stinson understands buyers are as drawn to masonry today as they were a century ago. As the developer of Hamilton’s historic Stinson Street School, he’s witnessed firsthand how buyers gravitate to this masonry building with its distinct terracotta pallor unique to Hamilton brick. In fact, basement condos with their exposed brick walls were the first to sell out and helped prompt other buyers to request that brick walls be installed to cover the wood in upper-floor condos. “The appeal of brick has added value to the condos,” Stinson says. “The brick and stone has lasted well and has a lot of character.”
The judging panel reviewed over a dozen examples of Hamilton’s finest masonry buildings in an effort to narrow down its selection to these top five examples. Experts looked at such criteria as durability, aesthetic appeal, craftsmanship, and the best use of masonry products in their architectural design.
“Heritage buildings made of brick, block or stone are the longest lasting and most architecturally significant designs in any community,“ says Jack Prazeres, president of MasonryWorx, the provincial trade association of brick, block and stone masonry professionals. “Landmarks like these move people with their iconic beauty.”
The following five Hamilton buildings have been chosen for their masonry heritage value:
Whitehern Historic House and Garden – Situated prominently at 41 Jackson Street West, Whitehern was built between 1848 and 1850 for city clerk and attorney Richard Duggan. Purchased for 200 pounds shortly afterwards by American industrialist Dr. Calvin McQuesten, the property would become known as Whitehern and stay in the McQuesten family for 116 years. The house was bequeathed to the City of Hamilton in 1968.
Stinson Street School – Originally built in 1894-95, this Romanesque Revival style building was designed by local architect Alfred W. Peene, who also designed the second building constructed south of the original. The buildings were designated as Heritage properties in 1989. Built of brick and brown Credit Valley stone, the school at 180 Grant Avenue was closed in 2008 and purchased by developer Harry Stinson who is converting the three-storey building into condos.
Tuckett Mansion – Known by locals as the Scottish Rite Castle, this grand residence was originally built in 1896 for George Elias Tuckett, the founder of a prosperous tobacco manufacturing company and Hamilton’s 27th mayor. In 1920 the building was purchased by Scottish Rite leaders, who added a cathedral in order to conduct Masonic rituals and ceremonies. Carved stone, brick, artistic stained-glass windows characterize this building which today houses the Scottish Rite Club of Hamilton and hosts local weddings and banquets.
Haddo House – Built of brick and stone in 1908, this house at 107 Aberdeen Avenue is said to be designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The current owners were told this by a local architect when they purchased the home in the 1970s. Originally, the home had a deep lot running south of Aberdeen which was severed shortly before they purchased it.
Cathedral of Christ the King – Built by the Pigott Construction Company between 1930 and 1933, the Roman Catholic church at 714 King Street West dominates the western entrance to Hamilton. Designed by local architect William Russell Souter, the 13th century English Gothic structure is made of limestone quarried from Indiana and Georgetown, Ontario. A major fire in 1981 destroyed much of the original interior woodwork.