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Niagara Falls
Monday, February 6, 2023
Exploring Photos with the NOTL Museum: Oates House

This circa 1900 photograph of the Oates House (or Captain's House) on Front Street (across from Queen's Royal Park) shows three children and a donkey in the foreground and a mother or maid in the background. This white clapboard building, also known as the Captain's House, was built in 1818 by carpenter John Brauer for Maj. Thomas Evans, an officer at Fort George in 1817-19. However, the house was named for Capt. Edward Oates, master of the Richmond Packet, who leased it so that his wife could watch for his ship returning across the lake. In 1866 and 1867, John C. Breckinridge occupied the house.  Breckinridge was one of a group of Confederate refugees in Niagara after the U.S. Civil War. He, too, appreciated the view from the verandah, though his focus was on the American fort. Much later, a family named Richmond occupied the dwelling and called it the Richmond House, a name that links to both Oates and its Confederate occupants.

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