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The Rendell House - A History

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The Rendell House is an important heritage resource in Lloydminster’s history as it was the first wood framed house constructed in the community. The house was constructed by Barr Colonists William & Alice Rendell in 1903 and dubbed “Doris Court” after the Rendell’s eldest daughter, Doris. 

The Rendell House was not initially destined to belong to the Rendell Family at all. In June, 1903, William Rendell met an English Gentleman who to return to England, however, he lacked the funds to do so as he had just purchased the lumber to build a house on his homestead.  Along with the lumber, the gentleman had purchased plans for a five room, 30 x 30 house. William Rendell struck a bargain with the man, offering to purchase the lumber from him in exchange for his far back to England.  The gentleman soon accepted and handed over the plans to the house and the location of the lumber for construction. Thus, the Rendell House fell into the possession of William & Alice Rendell’s and so began their dream of building their own home at Doris Court.

William Rendell and Barnes, a trusted servant and friend who made the journey to Canada from England with the Rendell Family, would now have to haul the lumber to the Colony to construct the Rendell House. On June 11, 1903 the team would begin to haul the lumber from Fort Pitt, approximately 60 km north-west of the Colony.  Several trips would be required in order to bring all the lumber. The Settlers were initially housed in tents upon arrival, however, some had managed to build homes out of sod and logs. The Rendell House would be the first wood-framed home constructed in the Colony.

The Rendell House served as more than just a family home for the Rendell Family. It has been cemented in Lloydminster’s history as not only the first wood-framed house constructed in the new colony but also as a community hub for the developing town. The Rendell House was utilized by the North West Mounted Police as a boarding house and prisoner lock up. Eric Rendell would later express his dislike of sharing his home with the N.W.M.P and the prisoners stating, “Because I didn’t like to see prisoners brought in shackles and made to sleep on the bare floor”.   It was also the home of the Colony’s Postmaster and his wife, Mr. & Mrs. Flamank. The Rendell house served as a nursing station, and the first recorded birth of the Barr Colony took place there; Miriam “Babs” Rendell was born to William & Alice on August 27, 1903.

Research has also clarified the history of the house since it was left vacant in 1975, and would remain so from that point forward.  R.J.R. Noyes, a Lloydminster Business man, had acquired the Rendell House as part of his property when he purchased the section of land the house was located on. Upon purchase Noyes had always indicated his desire to donate the Rendell House to the Barr Colony Museum.  In 1989, the House was eyed for demolition and although R.J.R. Noyes indicated that he had no immediate plans for his property, he states that “I was just anxious to get it over to Weaver Park. It is a valuable heritage resource.” 

It was because of its historical significance for the long-time residents of Lloydminster that it was saved and moved to the Lloydminster Cultural & Science Centre in 1990.  The move was made possible with the support of the Lloydminster Tourism and Convention Authority and the Barr Colony Museum Committee who raised the $6000.00 that was needed to move the Rendell House.  Though several restoration attempts were initiated the project did not move forward. It was not until 2015 with a joint initiative from the Lloydminster Cultural & Science Centre and the Richard Larsen Barr Colony Foundation that a restoration plan was adopted and initiated. The restoration portion of the project is now complete. The Lloydminster Cultural & Science Centre is moving forward with developing an interpretive plan