For as long as I’ve been driving back and forth to Ottawa along Highway 15 the familiar sight of a stone spire in Franktown, Ontario has signalled my journey to the Nation’s Capital was almost at an end. The landmark stone spire and conical tin roof that looks like it was grafted on to the side of the building from the Disneyland castle has always meant I had about 35 minutes left of driving before I arrived home. As a kid in the back seat of my parents car, I’d always eagerly look out for the “castle” in Franktown….and now, the century old building designed by a notable Ottawa architect is up for sale.
The Franktown Castle is actually St. Paul’s church, built in 1901, opened in 1903 and was designed by none other than the famous Ottawa architect Moses Chamberlain Edey . Edey also designed the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park, a National Historic Site and the infamous downtown Daly Building, which was Ottawa’s first department store. The construction firm who built it was ‘James Wilson’ of Perth, ON for a cost of $6100.
The church stone came from the J. McEwen Quarry, in Beckwith Township and was blasted out with dynamite and drawn in the raw state by the men of the congregation using horses and wagons or sleighs. The stone was dressed on site with all the materials, sand and stone, donated to the Church.
Built in a Romanesque architectural style of medieval Europe which is characterized by semi-circular arches, towers and spires, the revival of the Romanesque style was carried through Edey’s church design for Franktown. The Romanesque Revival style was widely used for churches, and St. Paul’s is no exception with its Norman castle like corbelled corner turrets and spire, complete with a conical peak.
Edey Romanesque style contrasts his other work in Ottawa, which was the Aberdeen Pavillion at Lawnsdowne Park, and the Daly Building which was built in the “Chicago” style, both designs that came after his work designing the church in Franktown.
After more than a century in operation, the church congregation decided to sell the historic building in September 2014, and it it is now listed with Re/Max Realty and offered at a reduced price of $199,000. The listing can be seen here.
The structure is zoned institutional, which means if you want to purchase it and convert it into your own personal castle, you would have to apply for rezoning it as residential. The church space features a large open main floor and in the church basement there is a full kitchen so you could host your very own church bake sales.
The church has been up for sale for a few months and has been reduced in price by $50,000 from its original listing. The property is a historic landmark in Franktown, and could very well become you own personal century old “castle”. I wonder what permits would be necessary to build a moat and drawbridge…
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