The naming of the capital at Kingston led to a building boom of impressive civic and commercial buildings befitting a capital city, and a spate of fine stone double houses and terraces, providing rental accommodation for the burgeoning population.
|George Browne's City Hall|
The best example of this "we'll grow into it" architecture is Kingston's City Hall, designed by George Browne. More on that another time.
Browne designed three dressed for success commercial buildings in that 1841-43 flutter, distinguished by a common feature - a curved corner. The building I'm enjoying today (and would have enjoyed more last Friday were it not for the damp wind) is the Commercial Mart (although that name doesn't get bandied about today.) The building started small, a house and store built in 1820; it was owned by merchant and developer Charles Hales from 1837-9, when he moved to his new place, Bellevue House.
|Hale's Bellevue House, garden view|
The building continued to grow (I love finding these bits of house history; we have a tendency to think a structure "was always like this") with two more house plus store additions. Fortunately, the new sections continued the rhythm of arches and string course.The attic storey with pedimented dormers was a later addition.
|randomly coursed rubble, ashlar facing|
|north end, good restaurant bar|
piano factory in the 1860s; after WWII, Federal Government offices and warehouses. The Commercial Building was home to S&R Department store from 1959 - 2009 - the faded Smith and Robinson Building signage is still visible above the entrance.
A 2011/12 refurbishment has improved the venerable building's chances of survival.
The gorgeous lobby of the building, home to accountants' and lawyers' offices and Milestones Restaurant, displays historic photos and building history. Milestones' window seats are a great place to eat, drink and watch Kingston go by.
Of course, Don Cherry had hoped for a hockey museum there.
Here's the S&R building website.
|S&R Building, January 2017|
To close, here's a Streetview view of George Browne's other round-cornered building, Wilson's Buildings, built in 1842. Some changes, but much remains. The same cannot be said of the third in the set, Mowat's round corner building of shops and residences, built 1841. It stood at the corner of Princess and Bagot and was demolished in 1974. Those banks again.