HISTORICAL LANDMARKS OF GREATER NAPANEE
Greater Napanee holds a bounty of stunning older buildings with interesting stories behind them, sure to appeal to history and architecture buffs alike.
Written by Angela Hawn with illustrations by Sky Anderson
Old Post Office
The only sandstone building in an area noted for both brick and limestone constructions, Napanee’s Old Post Office features a distinctive red exterior, decorative gables and an octagonal clock tower. Thomas Fuller, who created this gorgeous landmark in 1887, also claims fame as a member of the architectural firm responsible for designing Parliament Hill’s Centre Block.
Composed of both stone arch and steel girder spans, this scenic railway bridge by Springside Park crosses the beautiful Napanee River as well as Camden Road and Dundas Street. Stemming from a long-gone era when railways ruled as kings of cross-country transportation, it remains an idyllic backdrop for photos harkening the past.
New York Cafe Building
Originally built for wealthy merchant Archibald Harshaw in 1886, the New York Cafe building has seen action in more recent decades as a popular Chinese eatery. It’s pilasters, textured brickwork and semi-circular dichromatic brick and stone arches all represent key elements found in 19th century Renaissance Revival architecture.
Napanee Town Hall
Recognized as a National Historic Site of Canada, Napanee Town Hall offers architectural buffs a rare opportunity to glimpse one of the few Greek Revival style constructions still standing. Designed and built by Kingston’s Edward Horsey in the mid-1800’s, this imposing ediface also features a striking columned portico added on in 1928.
The Campbell House
If you were looking for room and board in the early 1860’s, Italianate-style Campbell House Hotel provided everything you needed for just a dollar a day. While a massive fire in the 1880s damaged parts of this local landmark built for Napanee postmaster and merchant Alexander Campbell, most of the old hotel was saved. Visitors can still make out much of the original lettering declaring the hotel’s name on the exterior brickwork.
L&A Mutual Building
Built in 1958 as an agricultural co-op for local farmers, this beautifully renovated feed mill at 76 East Street now houses L&A Mutual Insurance Co., whose own relationship with the surrounding community goes back over 145 years. Carefully executed restoration plans to the interior included 20,000 bricks from part of the old Gibbard Factory, each produced by the original Napanee Brick and Tile Works (circa 1870).
Gibbard Furniture Factory
Canada’s oldest furniture factory, Gibbard Furniture, operated on the same site for 173 years before finally shutting its doors in 2009. Situated at a picturesque downtown spot alongside the Napanee River, this well-known business manufactured everything from bedframes to coffins and counts among it’s many customers famous Canadians like Bobby Orr and Sir John A. MacDonald! This building is currently undergoing construction to become a waterfront residential community, keeping some of the original facade.