Portals to History

Throughout the Merrickville area the style of the doors of the homes and buildings give an interesting indication of the date they were built. The earliest and simplest structures dating pre-1830, generally had narrow low rectangular doors without transom nor side lighting, similar to that shown on the “Merrick Tavern.” Later, for additional lighting and with an eye to style befitting growing prosperity, a semi-circular transom was added above the simple door. Along the River Road east of the Village are a number of fine stone and brick homes with doors demonstrating the evolution of the fan transom. Coming to be known as “Loyalist Doors”, because of the affiliations of their owners, they evolved from the earliest simple oval slats (on the Spillway cottage c. 1832), to slats in an elliptical shape (Campbell house c. 1840) to the elaborate and intricately designed elliptical shaped glass paned transom as seen in the Andrews Farm( c.1845). With the Aaron Merrick house built in around 1845, the Loyalist door reached its most elaborate configuration. While this style was later mimicked, (the Tyndall houses c. 1855) by the year1850 fashion had changed to favour the Greek revival style, which featured more rectangular austere forms with sidelight panels. (John Johnston and Stephen Merrick houses). As you explore Merrickville’s byways, see if you can date the properties by these features. And don’t miss the porches. By Victorian times, the doors became simpler, and the porches and trim more ornate, but, that’s another story.

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