Description of Historic Place
223 King Street East, in downtown Kingston, is situated at the corner of King and Earl Streets in the historic King Street East neighbourhood. The two-storey vernacular structure built in 1834 by John Solomon Cartwright was an addition to his residence at 221 King Street East.
The exterior of the building is protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement. The property is also designated by the City of Kingston under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (Bylaw 8892).
Built in 1834, the structure was constructed for prominent Kingston lawyer and politician John Solomon Cartwright, the son of Honourable Richard Cartwright and the brother to Reverend Robert D. Cartwright. The building was originally erected as an addition to Cartwright's residence at 221 King Street, and served as a law office and residence for his law students. Outside of his interests in law, Cartwright was deeply involved in real estate, banking, and politics. In 1831 he directed the first survey of the Town of Napanee and from 1832 until his death in 1845 he presided over the Commercial Bank of the Midland District. His greatest achievements, however, were in politics, having been elected to the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada in 1836 and of Canada in 1841. Cartwright continued to represent the constituency until his untimely death at the age of 40 in 1845.
Despite its many Georgian qualities, the building's design is considered vernacular due to its use of local materials, lack of architectural pretensions, and its inability to be categorized as a singular style. It appears very similar in appearance to the attached building at 221 King Street, characterized by its simple, symmetrical, and compact mass. All elevations contain unique patterns of fenestration, and are composed of rusticated broken-faced limestone with accent features sharply dressed in ashlar. One of the building's more prominent features is the wooden porch located along its western elevation, slightly south of the main entrance. Although not original to the building, the porch offers a unique transitional setting between the austere appearance of the limestone walls and the lavish gardens of the grounds.
223 King Street contributes to the historic and architectural character of the King Street East neighbourhood. It is within steps of some of Kingston's most historic buildings including the Frontenac Club (1845), the Empire Life Building (1853), and St. George's Cathedral (1825). The property on which the building stands is also of interest, containing a carefully groomed lawn, plentiful gardens and a ten-foot limestone wall at its rear.
Source: Conservation Easement Files, Ontario Heritage Trust
Character defining elements that illustrate the heritage values of 223 King Street East include the:
- broken-faced limestone walls
- ashlar chimneys, quoins, and the continuous sill running slightly below the second storey windows
- black stained mortar used to point the light-coloured limestone walls
- tuck pointing with a line of white putty mortar
- jack arch headings of the window openings
- two-over-two glazing patterns of the double-hung windows
- wood shutters that flank the windows on the north and east elevations
- main entrance which features a large but simple doorway with a double-leaf door and a modest, flat, wood portico
- one-storey wooden porch on the southern end of the west elevation
- broad hipped roof with wide bracketed eaves that is punctuated on the west side by two stone chimneys
- location in the King Street East neighbourhood
- proximity to other heritage properties in downtown Kingston
- carefully groomed lawn, plentiful gardens, and the ten-foot limestone wall at the rear of the property