The Chandler House/Rocklyn National Historic Site of Canada, situated in the town of Dorchester, is a distinguished two-storey, five-bay Classical Revival style house built in 1831. The well-proportioned building features a worked stone exterior, low hipped roof, high stone chimneys, and an open porch with a pediment and columns. Official recognition pertains to the building and its legal lot at the time of designation.
Designated a national historic site of Canada in 1971, the Chandler House/Rocklyn is significant because it was constructed for Edward Barron Chandler, a Father of Confederation, and remained his property throughout his extensive public service career.
Born in Amherst, Nova Scotia, in 1800, Chandler moved to New Brunswick to study law. After being called to the New Brunswick bar in 1823, he was elected to the New Brunswick House of Assembly representing Westmoreland in 1827. He served in the assembly until 1836 when he was appointed to the Legislative Council, where he remained until 1878. A strong advocate for a railway linking British colonies in North America, Chandler eventually saw his vision come to fruition with the International Railway.
During the Quebec Confederation conference in 1864, Chandler engaged in intense debates with Sir John A. MacDonald over potential loss of provincial rights, a dispute that persists today. After attending all three Confederation conferences in Charlottetown, Quebec, and London, Chandler declined a seat in the Canadian Senate in 1867. In 1868, he became the commissioner of the railroad, a position he held until 1878, when he succeeded Sir Leonard Tilley as lieutenant-governor. He held this post until his death in Fredericton in 1880.
The heritage value of the Chandler House/Rocklyn lies in its Classical Revival style. Notable design elements include the well-considered proportions, the repetition of the pediment on the porch that mirrors the angle of the hipped slate roof, and the rusticated walls on the ground floor contrasting with the smooth ashlar facing above. The finely crafted wooden portico, set on a stone base, features triglyphs and fluted columns. This classical design, with its intricate detailing and use of durable materials, reflects the social and economic standing of Edward Barron Chandler, a prominent figure in mid-nineteenth-century Atlantic Canada.
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