Forwarder’s Museum, Prescott Ontario

Forwarders’ Museum

Thought to have been built in the late 1820’s by prominent forwarder, William Gilkison, the building’s main purpose was to be a warehouse for goods brought by bateaux. The building, now a museum and tourist information centre, houses a wealth of information about the history of the Town and some of its earlier ancestors.

History:
Built in the late 1820s on land that had been owned by a prominent forwarder, William Gilkison, this building was first used as a post office and customs house. 

Directly behind it on the banks of the St. Lawrence was a warehouse and wharf, which date from 1811 when Gilkison was the first forwarder to set up business in Prescott. The forwarding trade, which transferred goods and people at the head of the rapids on the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Prescott, flourished between 1812 and 1850.

Gilkison left Canada after the War of 1812 and his land and warehouse were taken over by the government. Alpheus Jones, Prescott’s first postmaster (1816) and customs clerk (1823), bought the land from the Crown and erected this building. In later years it was owned by Alfred Hooker, another prominent forwarder and James Buckly, a Prescott merchant. They rented the building to various tenants over the years including a printer, butcher, lawyer, and American Consul. The last tenant was a dry cleaning establishment. In 1970 the Grenville Historical Society acquired the building, and it was converted into a museum.

Today the Town of Prescott owns and operates the Forwarders’ Museum, the only one of its kind along the St. Lawrence River.

Architecture:
The Forwarders’ Museum is rectangular in shape and of rubble stone construction, covered with stucco. The gable roof is of medium pitch with simple eave returns. The building is nestled into the side of a hill so that 1 1/2 stories are visible from Water Street but the south wall facing the St. Lawrence River is 2 1/2 stories high.