Chandler House – Dorchester

Chandler House/Rocklyn National Historic Site of Canada is located in the town of Dorchester

Chandler House/Rocklyn National Historic Site Monument

Built in 1831 in the Classical Revival style, this well-proportioned, two-storey, five bay house has a worked stone exterior and a low, hipped roof flanked by high stone chimneys. The front door is approached through an open porch with a pediment and columns. Official recognition refers to the building on its legal lot at the time of designation.

Edward Barron Chandler

Chandler House/Rocklyn was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1971 because this Classical Revival house was built for Father of Confederation Edward Barron Chandler and remained his property throughout his long career in public office. 

Chandler spent much of the time at the Quebec Confederation conference in 1864 arguing with Sir John A. MacDonald over what Chandler thought was threatened loss of provincial rights. Others continue the same dispute, even today.

Chandler was born in Amherst, N.S. on Aug. 22, 1800 and received his early education there. As a young man he moved to New Brunswick to study law. Four years after being called to the New Brunswick bar in 1823 he entered politics and was elected to the New Brunswick House of Assembly representing Westmoreland. He stayed in the assembly until 1836, when he was appointed to the Legislative Council. There he stayed until 1878. He was one of the earliest proponents of a railroad linking British colonies in North America and eventually saw his hopes realized in the form of the International Railway.

In 1868, Chandler became commissioner of the railroad, but not before the job had been rejected by his fellow Father of Confederation, Dr. (later Sir) Charles Tupper. Chandler, who had been present at all three Confederation conferences in Charlottetown, Quebec and London, had also rejected a seat in the Canadian Senate in 1867. He kept his railroad job until 1878 when he followed Sir Leonard Tilley as lieutenant-governor, a post he kept until his death in Fredericton, Feb 6, 1880.

Chandler House/Rocklyn National Historic Site Plaque

The heritage value resides in theClassical Revival style of the house. Fine touches in the design of the building include the considered proportions, the manner in which the pediment on the porch repeats the angle of the hipped slate roof, and in the rusticated walls on the ground floor, which contrast with the smooth ashlar facing above. Triglyphs and fluted columns enrich the handsome wooden portico, set on a stone base. This classically inspired design, with its fine detailing and use of durable materials reflect the social and economic position of Edward Barron Chandler, a leading position in mid-nineteenth century Atlantic Canada.

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