What is Built Heritage?

The Purpose Behind Built Heritage

Built Heritage is a broader concept than it may first appear. It centers around preserving historical buildings in the form of photographs and historical records. The purpose is to create a narrative around each building; Who lived there? How is the architectural style indicative of the time and place it was built? What stories are associated with the building? What was it used for? With these questions in mind, Built Heritage aims to preserve and educate residents on their local history.

 It has also been extended to include places and landmarks that are important to the community. For example, cemeteries, ferries, and covered bridges are all a part of Built Heritage because they are an essential part of our collective local history and identity. Understanding the historical context of the physical landmarks in one's region empowers them in understanding where their predecessors came from. 

     This brings us to another main purpose of Built Heritage: continuity and change. Built Heritage is not just about understanding our past, but it is also about understanding what has remained constant over the years and what has changed. For example, on an individual level, one’s home may have been in the family for generations, but its function may have changed over time. The Willows House has been in the hands of the same family for generations but was at one time a summer resort and is now a private residence. 

Themes of continuity and change can also be found on a larger community level. The Kingston Peninsula was once a bustling community filled with farms, businesses, hotels, post-offices, summer camps and more. Over time many of this has been lost; forests have overtaken much farmland and many businesses have been lost to time. These physical remnants of the Peninsula's illustrious past shape the current characteristics of our community and foster pride in its residents.

Through examining the buildings and landmarks on the Peninsula, one can better understand the history of specific areas of interest or groups of people. For example, we can study the buildings to understand how industry had evolved over time and how it has impacted the Peninsula and the people who live there or have lived there in the past. 

We can also use buildings to understand the history of groups of people. For example, the arrival of the Catholic community in Summerville is marked with the acquisition of land and the creation of the log chapel “Etchingham’s Chapel” and later, St. Bridgets. Similarly, we can use buildings to understand the history of other groups on the Peninsula such as the black community. Or on a smaller level, it can be used to understand family history; where families lived and how the buildings reflected their status, occupation, or lifestyle. 

Goals and Aspirations of the Built Heritage Project

In addition to preserving the history of the buildings, landmarks, and places, this project has the goal of exploring continuity and change in the local community and helping to understand the history of specific groups. Built Heritage also has the goal of making this information more accessible to the public. Currently, the Built Heritage index and pamphlet, which contain photos and information on historic residences and buildings, is being updated to include cemeteries, ferries, and covered bridges.

 A Built Heritage map has been created so that people can easily see where these buildings are located. This map can be found under the Built Heritage Driving Tour portion of our website. It is our hope that this will allows viewers to easily access information on a wide range of historic buildings on the Kingston Peninsula. This project will help visitors to discover the stories and history surrounding specific buildings and places that they may have never otherwise known. This initiative will also encourage tourism on the Kingston Peninsula because, with the creation of the map and website, visitors will be able to tour the peninsula in their vehicle and view historical buildings and landmarks while accessing information on their smartphone. 

The hope is that this project will foster a sense of community and pride in Kingston Peninsula residents. We have a rich history, the remnants of which shape the Peninsula, and those who live on it, to this day. Let’s celebrate our beautiful buildings, and what makes the peninsula “our place.”

Gandola Point Ferry

View from Gandola Point Ferry

Young Canada Works and the National Trust for Canada