The Rendall Building


601 Texas Street at McNeill Street


The exact year the building at 601, 603, and 605 Texas Street was constructed is unknown.  It is probable the original structure dates back to the mid-1850’s, as evidenced in this advertisement which appeared in Shreveport’s The South-Western newspaper on August 23, 1854. Born in New York in 1824, James Scott Rendall appears in the 1850 Federal Census as a builder, living with Francis M. Waldran (carpenter) and family, and is incorrectly listed as “Randle” with no first name.  Prior to 1854, James and Francis were business partners, making coffins and selling them.  In addition to the coffins they built, the partners sold cast-iron coffins, specializing in the Fisk coffin, patented in 1848.  Metallic cases were primarily used to ship bodies.  Apparently, sometime in the late 1860’s, Rendall and Waldran went their separate ways and the building at 601 Texas Street became known as the Rendall Building to those in town, even though the adjacent structure was part of it. 

alt When originally constructed,the 601 building was two-story with a basement.  Attached on the right side was a one-story building, addressed as 603 and 605 Texas Street, divided by an internal wall.  The attached building was approximately only 4/5 as deep as the 601 address.  603 Texas Street housed the coffin manufacturing business with 605 appearing to be the coffin show-room.  A second floor was added between 1890-96, but not to the height of the 601 address. 

In the 1880 Census, J. S. Rendall is listed as an undertaker, and possibly conducted funerals at 605 Texas Street.  The 1885 Sanborn Insurance Fire Map of Shreveport, the first year the city was mapped, shows the 601 location as a grocery store and saloon, with a photo gallery on the second floor, accessible by an internal stairwell, and the building has a basement.  Sometime between 1909 and 1935, modifications were made, making all three addresses the same depth on the block, and a modern brick facade was added.

During the 1950’s and until the late 1970’s the first floor of 601 Texas Street housed Richarson’s Rexall Drugstore.  At the cash register, good-luck voodoo dolls could be purchased, but were kept hidden below the display counter.  Through the years, consistent stories of haunting have persisted about the Rendall Building.  A “Lady in White” has been seen wandering through the building, and unexplained noises heard during quiet times.  In January, 2013, the Ghost Hunters television program investigated the location, recording several EVP’s. 

Presently, the first floor houses The Crystal Stairs, a Creole Soul Food Restaurant.