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Renwick Building

Fort Macleod

Other Names:
Andrews Hardware Building

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Renwick Building is a two-storey brick and sandstone commercial building. Its front facade features large display windows and a recessed entryway on the ground floor and a centrally-located arched window flanked by three narrow rectangular windows on the second floor. The front facade is surmounted by a cornice and an entablature bearing the date of the building's construction. The Renwick Building is situated within the Fort Macleod Provincial Historic Area.

Heritage Value
The Renwick Building is a good example of a substantial commercial building erected in Alberta's urban centres prior to the First World War. Its heritage value lies in its contributions to the heritage character of the Fort Macleod Provincial Historic Area.

In the early 1900s, Macleod (renamed Fort Macleod in 1952) was a major urban centre and an important administrative, distribution and service point for southern Alberta. During this period, Macleod's commercial area developed quickly and many substantial brick and sandstone buildings were erected. In 1910, William Renwick constructed a two-storey brick and sandstone building with a full basement. He operated his hardware business from the main floor while residential apartments occupied the second floor. Constructed of locally-quarried sandstone, the Renwick Building features a number of architectural elements typical of commercial buildings of the period, including the large ground floor display windows with transoms, the centrally-located, recessed entryway, and the parapet with an entablature bearing the year of construction. In the 1930s, William Renwick sold the building to W. G. Andrews, who continued to operate it as a hardware store. Its long-standing use as a retail space and its association with numerous other historic sandstone and brick buildings make it a vital contributing element to the heritage character of Fort Macleod's commercial core.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 2272)

Character-Defining Elements
Key elements that define the heritage value of the Renwick Building include such elements as:

- large display windows and recessed doorway with prism glass transoms lights and bulkheads located on the first level of the front (south) facade;
- structural system of the storefront, consisting of an steel lintel above the transom windows bearing on a single steel column within the recessed entrance and riveted at this point to a steel girder that carries the second floor;
- rough-hewn sandstone on most of the second level and the pilaster at the extreme west edge of the front facade;
- centrally-located arched window opening surmounted by a semi-circular arch of smooth-faced sandstone voussoirs;
- two sets of three tall and narrow rectangular window openings set in sections of smooth-faced sandstone blocks flanking the central arched window opening;
- sandstone cornice separating the first and second levels of the front facade and two broken cornices surmounting the rectangular windows;
- parapet running the roofline of the front facade;
- entablature bearing the numeral 1910;
- rough-hewn sandstone quoins on the southwest corner;
- stucco-covered brick exterior walls on the rear (north) and west elevations;
- fenestration pattern of the rear (north) and the west elevations indicative of the layout of apartments on the second storey.

- open layout of the first floor characteristic of retail operations;
- layout of the second floor featuring small apartment opening off a central hallway and a single washroom located at the rear of the building;
- extant original lath and plaster interior walls and ceilings;
- fir wood-strip flooring;
- original 1908 boiler located in the basement;
- original cast-iron heating system including pipes and registers;
- stairway to second floor with original balustrade and newel posts;
- original trim work, door frames and window frames;
- three skylight openings with tongue and groove paneling in the ceiling of the second floor;
- extant original interior doors with original transom windows and brass hardware.


Street Address: 223 - 24 Street, Fort Macleod
Community: Fort Macleod
Boundaries: Portion of Lot 25, Block 436, Plan 92B
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

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

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
49.725710 -113.407505 Secondary Source NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2009/07/27

Historical Information

Built: 1910 to 1910
Significant Date(s)
Theme(s) Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life : Architecture and Design
Historic Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Market
Current Function(s): Commerce / Commercial Services : Market
Context: Shortly after the arrival of the North West Mounted Police at Fort Macleod in 1874, a community began to develop on the river flats outside the fort. The community proceeded to grow with the growth of the cattle industry in the southern foothills, and, with the extension of the Calgary & Edmonton Railway to the community in 1892, Fort Macleod was large enough to be incorporated as a town with over 200 people. Into the 20th century, it remained the largest community between Calgary and Lethbridge, with its population hovering around 500 during the early part of the century.

Being at the center of a large ranching and farming hinterland, Fort Macleod always saw much activity in its downtown core. One of the early businessmen was William Renwick who, in 1910, constructed a two-story business block of brick and locally quarried sandstone on what is now 223-24th Street. The block accommodated Renwick's "Shelf and Heavy Hardware" until the 1930s, when the building and the business were acquired by a local tinsmith named W. G. Andrews. The building went on to serve as a hardware store until recent times.

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The historical significance of the Renwick Hardware building lies in its structural representation of the downtown service core of Fort Macleod for most of the 20th century. It is also significant as an early 20th century hardware store.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-1351
Designation File: DES 2272
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 17019
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
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