Elmcroft was built in 1895, by Senator Francis Theodore Frost, President of the Frost & Wood company, manufacturers of farm implements. His father, Ebenezer Frost, founder of the company, settled in Smiths Falls in 1839 and opened a shop known as the Agricultural and Implement Works. Later, they began manufacturing stoves and plows, and grew into one of the most successful agricultural manufacturing companies in Canada.
Elmcroft – photo: William James Topley – family photo album – taken between 1890-1910
Elmcroft, 1907, photo: private family collection
The beautiful Maria Powell Frost, wife of Senator Frost, – photo: taken in Ottawa, 1873
Maria Eliza Powell Frost was born in Madrid, St. Lawrence County, New York, married Francis Theodore Frost on June 3rd, 1868.
Photo: Maria Frost in her later years. Maria was known for her service to the church and her support for local charities. For many years she taught the primary class of the Sunday School at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church. She was elected to the National Council of Women of Canada and held that position for many years. She also represented the Smiths Falls Chapter at the Quinquennial Congress of the International Council of Women held in Toronto, Ontario, in 1909.
1915 Senator Frost sitting at Elmcroft Mansion, photo: JJ Kerfoot family album
Executives of Frost & Wood on the lawn in front of Senator Francis Frost’s home “Elmcroft”. Charles Frost, President, is seated on the far left. c. 1907
Elmcroft, featured in the March, 1911 edition of The Canadian Horticulturalist, highlighting its 27 ft x 15 ft Canna flower beds
In 1901, Senator Francis Frost, 57, and his wife Maria, 54, lived at Elmcroft, along with Maria’s mother, Mary Powell, 84, and their two servants, Elizabeth Nolan and Mary Dillon, both age 28.
Sir Wilfred Laurier, the Prime Minister who appointed Francis T. Frost to the Senate, visited Elmcroft to enjoy tea with the Frost family
In July of 1907 a jewel thief entered Elmcroft and stole all of the Frost family’s opulent jewelry. The value of the jewels was so significant that the story of the burglary was featured in the Toronto Globe newspaper.
A share certificate from the Frost & Wood Company
The Frost & Wood company as it appeared in 1924
Elmcroft B & B
In 2008 Ken and Cathy Thom purchased the home known as Elmcroft, at 89 Chambers St., for $200,000. and after two years of extensive renovations, they opened the Elmcroft B & B in April of 2010.
photo: Tonia Kelly, Smiths Falls This Week, Metroland Media, March 31, 2011
The Smiths Falls Municipal Heritage Committee recommends that four mansions — all located on Chambers Street East — be designated as “Heritage Properties of Interest.”
The Frost Mansion Row includes:
Charles B. Frost Mansion
57 Chambers St. E.
Charles Beriah Frost, Vice-President of Frost & Wood Co.- (1840-1909)
(the property at 57 Chambers St. is already designated a Heritage Property of Interest. It has been divided into 11 separate apartments)
57 Chambers St. E.
The grand house at 57 Chambers St. E. was originally built for Abel Russell Ward who is considered the founder of Smiths Falls. His house was the largest and finest in the village at the time it was built. Abel Russell Ward owned the property until 1881 when it was sold to Charles B. Frost, and it remained in the Frost family for many years. It was designated a Heritage Property in 1983.
Edwin Frost Mansion
65 Chambers St. E.
65 Chambers St. E. – built in 1905 for Edwin Frost, currently owned by Joseph Murray
Edwin James Frost (1863-1921), son of James Trussell Frost and Jeannette Stinson Frost, Treasurer of Frost & Wood, married Laura Osborne Meighen (1873-1920). They had no children. The house, built in 1900, passed to Laura’s sister and her husband. This home has been divided into 7 apartments, owned by Joe Murray.
69 Chambers St. E.
69 Chambers St. E. – photo: courtesy of Douglas McEwen, Nov. 2021
69 Chambers St. E. was built in 1895, home of George Frederick McKimm. McKimm married Helen Elvira ‘Nellie’ Frost, daughter of James Trussell Frost and Jeannette Stinson Frost. George was Founder and Editor of “The Rideau Record”. The local newspaper, established in 1887, played an important role in local politics, and later became “The Record News”. McKimm played a pivotal role in securing funding from philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, in 1902, to build the Smiths Falls Public Library.
Senator Frost’s Mansion
Senator Francis ‘Frank’ Theodore Frost (1843-1916)
89 Chambers St. E.
89 Chambers St. E., photo: courtesy of Douglas McEwen
Elmcroft Mansion Timeline
Senator Frost’s Mansion was originally built in 1895 as a three-storey mansion in the Queen Anne revival style. Senator Francis T. Frost, the son of the founder Ebenezer Frost, and later President of Frost and Wood, a farm equipment company operating in Smiths Falls for 116 years. Frost was the first mayor of Smiths Falls, became the MP for North Leeds and Grenville and in 1903 was appointed to the Senate during the Laurier government.
The grand home once boasted two halls, a dining room, two staircases, a library, and stables. It was said that the home was so massive, that a freight car load of coal was needed every winter to heat the building.
After the death in of Senator Frost in 1916, his wife, Maria, inhabited the house for roughly 10 years, until she left. The house stood vacant until 1938, when the Founder of Rideau Beverages, a bottler for the Coca Cola Company, J. Clark Ketchum, bought Elmcroft. Because of extensive water damage, Ketchum removed the top floor of the home and added a garage, however, the house still retains many of its original stately ground floor features. At one time, the building housed Dr. Penny’s medical practice.
97 Chambers St. E.
97 Chambers St. E., Smiths Falls –
The Carriage House located at 97 Chambers St. E is considered a significant heritage property because of its connection with its adjacent property, Elmcroft. It was the residence and workshop of Senator Frost’s full-time groundskeeper.
The carriage house, as it was called, stored all of Senator Frost’s horse drawn carriages on the first floor. They entered and exited where the veranda has been built on the end of the building.
Mansion Row Map
The homes of ‘Mansion Row’, Chambers St. , Smiths Falls, ON
These stately homes were all originally built and owned by immediate descendants of the Frost family, the founders of the Frost and Wood Company.
If you’re visiting Smiths Falls, be sure to drive along Chambers Street E. and enjoy the beauty of these historic mansions.
Senator and Mrs. Maria Eliza Frost relaxing on the grounds at Elmcroft