People have inhabited and traded in the area that is now Kingston for thousands of years.

Paleo Indian Period (circa 7000 B.C.E.)

The first inhabitants of Ontario lived in small family-based groups, depending on plants and large game animals (moose, deer, caribou, elk) for their food. These nomadic peoples used stone, skin, antler bone, wood, and plant fibres to produce the tools and goods necessary for their survival.

Early Archaic Period (circa 5000 B.C.E.)

Early Archaic peoples produced a greater variety of items than their predecessors. Of particular importance were the dugout canoes and stone tools made by grinding rather than by flaking. The water craft allowed the Early Archaic peoples to travel greater distances, facilitating the exchange of new ideas and goods.

Middle Archaic Period (circa 3000 B.C.E.)

The Indians who inhabited Eastern Ontario during the Middle Archaic Period participated in a trade network that spanned the Great Lakes region. For example, copper obtained from the shores o Read More
People have inhabited and traded in the area that is now Kingston for thousands of years.

Paleo Indian Period (circa 7000 B.C.E.)

The first inhabitants of Ontario lived in small family-based groups, depending on plants and large game animals (moose, deer, caribou, elk) for their food. These nomadic peoples used stone, skin, antler bone, wood, and plant fibres to produce the tools and goods necessary for their survival.

Early Archaic Period (circa 5000 B.C.E.)

Early Archaic peoples produced a greater variety of items than their predecessors. Of particular importance were the dugout canoes and stone tools made by grinding rather than by flaking. The water craft allowed the Early Archaic peoples to travel greater distances, facilitating the exchange of new ideas and goods.

Middle Archaic Period (circa 3000 B.C.E.)

The Indians who inhabited Eastern Ontario during the Middle Archaic Period participated in a trade network that spanned the Great Lakes region. For example, copper obtained from the shores of Lake Superior was traded in Eastern Ontario, where it was made into awls, needles, knives, fish hooks, spear points, and bracelets.

Late Archaic Period (circa 700 B.C.E.)

Changes that characterised the Late Archaic Period include increased population size, distinction in social status, and new hunting techniques. Evidence of these changes are the inclusion of trade goods in the burial of selected individuals and tool kits consisting of a variety of projectile point types.

Early Woodland Period (circa 300 B.C.E.)

Peoples living in Eastern Ontario began to use pottery during the Early Woodland Period. Early pots were crudely made, with thick walls and a distinct cord-marked exterior surface. The practice of including grave goods with burials continued, influenced by the Adena Culture, centred in the Ohio River Valley, and the Middlesex tradition, which was focussed in New York State.

Middle Woodland Period (circa 900 C.E.)

During the Middle Woodland Period regionally distinct pottery styles developed, and trade networks began to disintegrate. Ceramic vessels were of a higher quality than previously, and appeared in a greater range of shapes and with a greater variety of decorations. The disintegration of trade networks toward the end of this period coincided with the decline of major cultural influences centred in Ohio and Illinois. Agriculture was introduced to Eastern Ontario towards the end of the Middle Woodland Period.

Late Woodland Period (circa 1600 C.E.)

Domesticated plants (corn, beans, and squash) increased in significance as supplements to the more traditional foods such as deer, fish, and wild plants during the Late Woodland Period. Agriculture allowed the Late Woodland Peoples to live in permanent villages. Increasing conflict between groups resulted in the construction of palisades around some of these villages.
Excerpted from the Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation website (http://www.carf.info/).
© 2007, Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

In 1839 rumours began that Kingston was to become the capital of the United Provinces of Canada. Land speculators, subdividers, and builders responded quickly to the overnight rise in population, from 4200 in 1839 to over 6000 in 1842.

Work also continued on fortifications and in 1841 an advanced battery was built at Fort Henry. In 1843 new barracks were built in the Artillery Park behind St. Paul's Church. Two years later contracts were let for the construction of Martello Towers, supported by earthworks and flanking defenses, covering the Kingston waterfront from Cedar Island to Murney's Point. Plans were also made for a shore battery opposite the new City buildings. The presence of the military, and the intense building activity, pumped a lot of money into then local economy.

Lands around Kingston were subdivided and extended much further than they previously had, but settlement remained largely within the old boundaries of the town, between West and North Streets, and the previously subdivided areas of Charlesville, Picardville, and Williamsville. One exception was the construction of large villas along the waterfront west of town.

The selectio Read More
In 1839 rumours began that Kingston was to become the capital of the United Provinces of Canada. Land speculators, subdividers, and builders responded quickly to the overnight rise in population, from 4200 in 1839 to over 6000 in 1842.

Work also continued on fortifications and in 1841 an advanced battery was built at Fort Henry. In 1843 new barracks were built in the Artillery Park behind St. Paul's Church. Two years later contracts were let for the construction of Martello Towers, supported by earthworks and flanking defenses, covering the Kingston waterfront from Cedar Island to Murney's Point. Plans were also made for a shore battery opposite the new City buildings. The presence of the military, and the intense building activity, pumped a lot of money into then local economy.

Lands around Kingston were subdivided and extended much further than they previously had, but settlement remained largely within the old boundaries of the town, between West and North Streets, and the previously subdivided areas of Charlesville, Picardville, and Williamsville. One exception was the construction of large villas along the waterfront west of town.

The selection of Kingston as capital also stimulated building in Portsmouth. Before 1830 settlement in this area consisted of a few scattered farmsteads and a tannery, abandoned in 1828. Settlement grew up around the small inlet of Hatter's Bay, due to the construction of Kingston Penitentiary, which began in 1833. The presence of the construction workers attracted merchants who supplied dry goods and other provisions, which formed the foundations of village life.

The further development of Hatter's Bay as a harbour came as a result of the rapid expansion of the forwarding business in Kingston and the need for more wharfage, especially after the disastrous fire on Kingston's waterfront in 1840. With the building boom in Kingston underway, the quarries at Portsmouth were busy, as was the harbour as building material was unloaded at the wharves. Another fact which added to the growth of Portsmouth and area was the decision to use Alwington House as the Governors General's residence. There was a rush to buy land and property values consequently rose.

In 1842 the City Council showed interest in the area of the Engineer's Yard and wanted to extend streets through the Military Reserve to the Bay. This was the area bounded by present day Wellington, Barrack and Ontario Streets.

The newly subdivided property was located west of the city, with the exception of a small subdivision on Montreal Street, north of the town. The Reverend George O'Kill Stuart subdivided much of Farm Lot 24, and the land he claimed as part of Farm Lot 24 at the west end of the Clergy Reserve, which became known as Stuartville. From the 1840's on, the area west from Barrie Street between Johnson and Union Streets became heavily populate, largely by Irish Catholics, most of whom were refugees from the potato famine.

Architecture

A very noticeable trend, occurring between 1838 and 1860, was the exodus of merchants, professionals, and their families, from residences in the original city core to spacious country villas surrounded by extensive grounds, or to townhouses. A few Kingstonians had built rural homes west of town prior to the incorporation of the town, but this trend gained popularity in the forties and fifties. Architectural sophistication was brought to Kingston by the Government's Chief Architect, George Browne.
Excerpted from Kingston Archaeological Master Plan Study: Stage 1 Report published by the Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation.
© 2007, Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

British Fort Frontenac, 70th Regiment, 1985 Excavation

British Fort Frontenac, 70th Regiment, 1985 Excavation

Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation
Hannah Roth

© 2007, Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.


Artifacts from the Ontario Health Insurance Program Building Excavation

Artifacts from the Ontario Health Insurance Program Building Excavation

Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation
Hannah Roth

© 2007, Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.


Maker's Stamp on an Artifact from the Ontario Health Insurance Program Building Excavation

Maker's Stamp on an Artifact from the Ontario Health Insurance Program Building Excavation

Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation
Hannah Roth

© 2007, Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.


Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation
Hannah Roth

© 2007, Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.


Original Townsite and Surrounding Area

Original Townsite and Surrounding Area. Access a larger version of this image.

Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation
Hannah Roth

© 2007, Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.


Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation
Hannah Roth

© 2007, Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.


Limits of Settlement, City of Kingston, 1850

Limits of Settlement, City of Kingston, 1850. Access a larger version of this image.

Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation
Hannah Roth

© 2007, Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.


Number of Houses in Kingston, 1785-1891

Number of Houses in Kingston, 1785-1891. Access a larger version of this image.

Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation
Hannah Roth

© 2007, Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.


Kingston Harbourfront Site Plans Depicting Four Periods of Occupation

Kingston Harbourfront Site Plans Depicting Four Periods of Occupation. Access a larger version of this image.

Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation
Hannah Roth

© 2007, Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

  1. Learn about the changes in landscape and land use within the Kingston area in the mid-19th century.
  2. Learn about the changes in population both in numbers and ethnicity within the Kingston area in the mid-19th century.
  3. Examine the development of the Kingston landscape from woodlands to agricultural to urban land uses.

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