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The F.-A. Gendron House
111 Champlain Street

Gendron House

Owner of the land from 1879, Basile Carrière built this house in the Second Empire style, in 1890-1891. It would be the home of professionals, as well as the office of the ministère des Terres et Forêts et Pêcheries du Québec (Quebec Ministry of Lands, Forests and Fisheries). The first tenants, Hector Laflamme and Joseph Duhamel, lived there only for a short time.

In 1893 the Quebec Ministry of Lands, Forests and Fisheries rented the building, to house its regional offices and their agent. The second agent was Ferdinand-Ambroise Gendron, born in Beauport on February 10, 1856, son of Ambroise Gendron, a wood scaler, and Esther Chamberland. When he had finished his studies, he moved to Hull in 1876 to work at E. B. Eddy, first as a wood inspector and then as chief supervisor of logging camps. In 1890, he became partners with Adrien Chevrier and founded the Gendron Lumber Co. His experience enabled him to obtain the position of Crown lands agent from 1898 to 1905. This put him in an excellent position for buying and selling wooded land. He also had influential relatives: his brother-in-law, Simon-Napoleon Parent, was Commissioner of Lands, Forests and Fisheries from October 1900 to July 1901, and Premier of Quebec and President of the Executive Council from 1900 to 1905.

On November 23, 1900, Gendron purchased the house in which he was already living. He then bought a plot of land from his neighbour, stonecutter Pierre-Anthime Sauvageau, and built a stable and a carriage house. He married Corrine Lapierre, daughter of François-Xavier Lapierre and Adèle Leblanc, on October 16, 1881 in Ottawa, her birthplace. They had three children: Lionel, Berthe and Fernand. In 1905, after he was elected to the Quebec Legislative Assembly, Gendron sold the building to his son Lionel who succeeded him as Crown land agent. Ten years later, Lionel resold it to his mother. The département des Terres de la Couronne (Crown Lands Department) still had its office at the back of the building. The office originally occupied one floor, but a second floor was added between 1901 and 1903, and a third between 1915 and 1928.

Gendron was very involved with mining companies. In 1908, he was president of the Raven Lake Mining Co. and director of the Turtle Lake Mining Co. as well as president and manager of the Harricannaw Lumber Co. He was also a politician. He became an alderman in January 1902, and in 1903, mayor for one year (which was the term of office at that time). In 1904, he was elected Liberal Representative for Ottawa County to the Quebec Legislative Assembly, a position that he held until 1916. He won the election by a 1,500-vote majority, the largest recorded in the district since Confederation. He died intestate in Amos, Abitibi, on August 9, 1917, and was buried in Hull on August 14.

Lionel Gendron married his neighbour, Jeanne, daughter of Basile Carrière, on April 30, 1915. In June 1924, she died in Montreal, leaving four children. Lionel Gendron died in 1936. His daughter Berthe married Jean Beauchemin, a Montreal manufacturer. They too had four children: Hélène, Mimi, Corrine and Fernand, a lieutenant colonel in New York.

Corinne Gendron, one of Hull's Lady Bountifuls, was vice-president of the Council of Governors of the hospital on Water Street. She lived in her house until her death on February 21, 1940. She had drafted her will on November 3, 1939, with her neighbours as witnesses: the merchant Joseph-Hervé Lepage, the postmaster Arthur Fréchette, his son-in-law Jean Beauchemin, and Adélard Champagne. Out of gratitude to Berthe, she left her all her personal belongings, her house and a property on Notre-Dame Street. And there was plenty left to the grandchildren.

On December 13, 1941, Berthe Gendron sold the family home to Georges-Henri Bergeron, a doctor, and his wife, Thérèse Ménard. The Lands and Forests office was replaced by one or two flats with an entrance on 73 Victoria Street.

In early May of 1952, Pierre Bégin, a doctor, and his wife, Marie-Éva Belzile, bought the house. Bégin died on April 18, 1960, at the age of 59. He left a wife and five children. His widow continued to live in their home until 1974.

On July 12, 1974, the Oblate Missionaries of Marie Immaculate bought the property. The priest Hébert, who presided over the demolition of the church, "renovated" the magnificent house without respecting its architecture, and converted it into a chapel and a presbytery. Ironically, the entrance to the chapel is located at the side of the building, directly opposite a tavern named Le Trou du diable (The Devil's Hole).

On November 12, 1982, two lawyers, Simon Noël and Robert Décary, bought the building and established their offices here. In 1985, they acquired the neighbouring property of Paul-Émile and Cédulie Sauvageau, a house that was almost a hundred years old, and demolished it to create a parking lot. In 1993, Décary was named a judge, and sold his share to the lawyer Jacques Berthiaume. The front door was painstakingly restored, revealing that this was once one of Hull's beautiful middle-class residences. It would not take much to reveal once more the lovely porch with a balcony above it.