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New book by Jennifer McKendry examines local stone structures

Local architectural historian Jennifer McKendry says Douglas Library of 1924 is old fashioned in its style, Gothic Revival, and choice of exterior material – limestone from Kingston and Queenston, but in reality uses modern steel and reinforced concrete as the true structural system hidden behind stone veneer. Designed by architects Shepard & Calvin of Toronto, “the carved detailing is a feast for the eye,” McKendry says. Photo by Jennifer McKendry.

The Frontenac Heritage Foundation has received a $12,000 grant from the City of Kingston and administered by the Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries and Historic Sites towards the printing costs of a new book by Jennifer McKendry, a well-known architectural historian and an authority on regional architecture.

Dr. McKendry has written numerous articles and books, including ones on brick and wooden buildings in the area. According to the Frontenac Heritage Foundation, this latest book examines stone structures from 1790 to 1930 in the Kingston region. The title, Kingston, the Limestone City, reflects the city’s self-characterization via the motto “the limestone city” from the 1870s to the present day.

The book includes aspects of quarrying and construction methods, and features an extensive illustrated chronology of buildings ranging from simple to complex. McKendry notes that one of the subjects of particular interest is carving ornamental elements – an aspect not previously explored in publications. Included also in the book are stone landscaping details of sites that are important to the historic ambience of properties. Over 300 pages are in colour.

According Frontenac Heritage Foundation, the book sets out a chronological sequence of buildings from 1790 to 1930 and explains why Kingston’s building industry relied on the stone forming its bedrock during the 19th century. Topics also explored in the book are quarries, kilns, tools, fences, wall construction and carvings, the Frontenac Heritage Foundation said.

On top of being a local Kingston architectural historian, McKendry is also a photographer and an author of such books as Architects in the Kingston Area, Woodwork in Historic Buildings of the Kingston Region, Bricks in 19th-Century Architecture of the Kingston Area, Modern Architecture in Kingston, and With Our Past before Us: 19th-Century Architecture in the Kingston Area.

The Frontenac Heritage Foundation advocates for heritage preservation in a broad geographical area centered on Kingston. President Shirley Bailey commented that this book will help focus attention on the importance of built heritage from the earliest stone examples through to the beginnings of the 20th century. She said a launch date has not yet been scheduled because of the pandemic restrictions, however, McKendry is exploring options to have the book carried at Novel Idea in the near future. Kingstonist will update this article as more information becomes available.

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