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Perrenoud Homestead

Cochrane, Near

Other Names:
Perrenoud House

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Perrenoud Homestead includes two residences situated on 4.5 hectares (11.1 acres) of land just north of Cochrane. The early 1890s log farmhouse with 1902 extension sits adjacent to a large, 1910 home featuring a hipped roof, verandah wrapping around two sides, and south-facing bay windows. The site also features a blacksmith shop, granaries, a sawmill, and a cattle chute.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Perrenoud Homestead lies in its association with early ranching operations in southern Alberta and in its juxtaposition of an original log farmhouse with the more comfortable family home that replaced it.

The Perrenoud Homestead site serves as a vital link to the establishment of ranching in Alberta in the 1880s and 1890s. The land on which the Perrenoud Homestead is located was originally part of the massive grazing lease granted in the early 1880s to the Cochrane Ranche Company, the pioneering cattle operation organized by eastern capitalist and Senator Matthew Cochrane. Cochrane had been instrumental in securing amendments to the Dominion Lands Act to allow for large grazing leases in western Canada and his massive venture - the first large-scale ranching operation in southern Alberta - attracted other settlers and ranchers to the region, including Charles Perrenoud. Born in France in 1863 and trained as a jeweller, Perrenoud came to Western Canada in 1886 to set up a ranching operation. After several years working on ranches at Sheep Creek and Mortimer Coulee, he staked his claim in the early 1890s to a homestead north of present-day Cochrane on lands formerly leased by the Cochrane Ranche Company. With the help of his younger brother Ernest, who had arrived in 1888, Charles established a horse ranch on his claim and eventually amassed a herd of 1900 saddle and work horses, including Hackneys, Berman Coach horses, Clydesdales, and Shires. The Perrenouds were one of several French families in the area and participated in the early efforts to profitably establish ranching in southern Alberta, particularly in the Cochrane region.

The Perrenoud Homestead site features the rare juxtaposition of an early log farmhouse with a more capacious residence constructed later by Perrenoud. The log shack was erected upon Perrenoud's arrival in the early 1890s and enlarged when he married Laura Phipps in 1902. The demands of the Boer War and the needs of the many immigrants who came to the Prairies around the turn of the century boosted the market for horses and swelled profits for the Perrenouds. By 1910 they were able to construct a new home - a basic, but comfortable, square building with little ornamentation. It features a wrap-around verandah, two bay windows, and a hipped roof. The home's simplicity suggests that the contractors, the Chapman Brothers of Cochrane, may have employed a standard plan in constructing the house. There is a high degree of original fabric on both the exterior and the interior of the home. The site also features several buildings and structures associated with the practical requirements of ranching, including a blacksmith shop, granaries, a sawmill, and a cattle chute.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1053)

Character-Defining Elements
The character-defining elements of the Perrenoud Homestead include such features as:

- shelter belt of mature evergreens defining the western edge of the property along the access road.

1889 Log Farmhouse, with 1902 addition:
- mass, form, and style;
- round log construction with double-notched corner joints;
- low pitched gable roofs with timber gable ends;
- chimney;
- fenestration pattern and style;
- 1902 addition includes milled horizontal siding and a joist and rafter roof.

1910 House:
- mass, form, and style;
- hipped roof with corbelled chimney stack;
- clapboard siding;
- verandah wrapping around east and south elevations featuring turned verandah posts, gingerbread trim and balustraded railing;
- fenestration pattern and style, including double hung windows and two bay windows on south elevation;
- panelled front door with fanlights;
- original interior elements, including fir tongue and groove flooring and dark-stained tongue and groove pine panelling;
- mature clump of poplar and evergreens and caragana to the east of the house, planted in 1911;
- associated artifact collection.

Ancillary buildings and structures, including:
- blacksmith shop;
- granaries;
- sawmill;
- cattle chute;
- frame car garage;
- interconnected log feed sheds;
- root cellar ruin.


Street Address:
Community: Cochrane, Near
Boundaries: Block 1, Plan 8811026
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 5
Landscape(s) or Landscape Feature(s): 1
Structures: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
3 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
51.272410 -114.510232 Secondary Source NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1992/11/04

Historical Information

Built: 1902 to 1902
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Developing Economies : Extraction and Production
Historic Function(s): Food Supply : Farm or Ranch
Residence : Single Dwelling
Current Function(s): Leisure : Historic or Interpretive Site
Builder: Chapman Brothers of Cochrane

Charles Perrenoud was born in 1863 in Besancon, a town in the French Alps. He immigrated to Canada in 1886 where he spent his first year at the Winterbottom Ranch on Sheep Creek learning about the operations of the ranch. In 1888 his young brother Ernest arrived from France and the two moved to Mortimer Coulee in the Cochrane area to establish their own ranch. Cochrane was the site of the first large-scale ranching operation in Southern Alberta. Charles and Ernest were successful in establishing themselves as horse ranchers in this area. By 1910 Perrenoud could afford to build a new house which was constructed using lumber brought in from British Columbia.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0439
Designation File: DES 1053
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 75081
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1053)
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