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116 Pearl Street Then

116 Pearl Street Then
1920's Photo of Pearl Street

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116 Pearl Street Today
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Welcome To The Minden, Louisiana's Dorcheat Museum Blog

Thank you for visiting the Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum Blog. The Dorcheat Historical Museum is the only museum inside the city limits of Minden, Louisiana. The museum opened June 10th, 2008. Admission Free with donations welcomed. Our hours are, Tuesday - Friday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., closed for lunch from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m., open again from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday we are closed but open by appointment for special showings and meetings. We would like to invite you to visit our location at 116 Pearl Street in Minden, Louisiana. We look forward to sharing our history with you. For more information please contact museum director Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or 318-423-0192.

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This Minden, Louisiana Webster Parish Muesum is Funded in part by a grant from the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission.
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Membership and Contribution Levels

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Membership Dues and Contribution Levels:
· Individual - $20.00

· Family - $40.00
· Sustaining - $75.00
· Patron – $125.00 -
· Benefactor – $250.00 -
· Corporate - $500.00
· Bronze - $1000 - $2,499
· Silver - $2,500 - $4,999
· Gold - $5,000 - $9,999
· Platinum - $10,000 – 24,999
· Diamond - $25,000 & up

In return for your support, you will receive not only a tax deduction, but also, invitations to all museum activities. Please give every consideration to helping with this endeavor. Be a part of Webster Parish history by becoming a member of the Webster Parish Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum.
Dues and pledge contributions may be mailed to:

Dorcheat Historical Association Museum
PO Box 1094

Minden, Louisiana 71058.

Friday, February 12, 2016

“Night At The Museum” The McEachern Family In Webster Parish


“Night At The Museum”

The McEachern Family In Webster Parish

Doors Open at 5:30

Don’t miss this Dorcheat Historical Museum event for 2016!


April 11,th, 2016 Don't Miss It!
              The 58th “Night at the Museum” will take place Monday April 11th, 2016.  This event will feature Timmie McEachern. A nibble and a bite of history, fishing stories, and maybe a few tall tales is how to describe what you will be experiencing on this night.  This is your chance to hear a poet, songwriter, photographer, fisherman extraordinaire, and a heck of BBQ man.  McEachern will also be signing his new book “Rhymes without Reason” a collection of poems inspired by God, nature and the South!


“Not very long ago, I heard someone say; " Shake a tree in Minden and you're probably going to see a McEachern fall out of it!”  Many of the traditions of our Scottish ancestors still hold true today.  The roots of our goodly heritage still run deep and it is clearly evident that we are "clannish" and that can be seen by the large number of McEachern's, living in Minden and in the northern part of Webster Parish where our ancestors settled over 150 years ago..." Hard working, dependable and upright”, that’s how I'd describe my McEachern family, one that I’m proud to be a part of.” says, lifelong Minden resident, Timmie McEachern.

Don't miss your chance to hear about some of our local history. The museum events will be held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.

 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

“Night At The Museum” The Roberts and Madden Families In Webster Parish


“Night At The Museum”

The Roberts and Madden Families In Webster Parish

Doors Open at 5:30

Don’t miss this 2nd

 Dorcheat Historical Museum event for 2016!

The 57th “Night at the Museum” will take place Monday March 14th, 2016.  This event will feature several of our long time Webster Parish residents and family members.  The talk will be centered on the Roberts and the Madden families and the impact they had in the Webster parish area.

The Roberts and Madden families came to live in Minden in the late 1930s and mid-1940s.  The Minden Lumber Yard was purchased by Willard Roberts in 1938.  It later became Roberts-Brown, then Roberts Company.  J.G. Madden opened Madden Supply in the early 50s evolving into J.G. Madden, Contractor and later, Madden Contracting Company.

Today the last Roberts living in Minden is Lyda Roberts Madden.  Through the marriage of Lyda and James Madden there are today fifteen descendants living in Minden.  Eight of these are active members of the family corporation. 

Don't miss your chance to hear about some of our local history. The museum events will be held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.

 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

“Night At The Museum” The Rowland and Simolke Families In Webster Parish


“Night At The Museum”

The Rowland and Simolke Families In Webster Parish

Doors Open At 5:30

Don’t miss the first Dorcheat Historical Museum event for 2016!

The 56th “Night at the Museum” will take place Monday February 8th, 2016.  This event will feature several of our long time Webster Parish residents and family members.  The talk will be centered on the Rowland & Simolke families and the impact they had in the Webster parish area.

Almost 100 years ago, in 1917, Bunion Franklin Rowland brought a Greek Revival-styled dogtrot house, cotton gin, and 220 acres of farm land in Heflin, Louisiana for $2,800 cash.  Rowland purchased the property from Ambros Walker.  After leaving the logging industry in Kelly, Louisiana, B.F. Rowland with his wife, Ola Hood Rowland from Dubach, and five children developed one of the largest self-sufficient farms in Webster Parish.

The farm would later include a second large cotton gin, a saw mill, general store, blacksmith shop, numerous barns and farm animals: hogs, chickens, cows and mules.  Besides cotton, their harvest included corn, wheat, oats, soybeans, millet and many vegetables.

John Chris Simolke and his wife Mary Bauer Simolke moved to Webster Parish in the 1920’s with seven of their children to work at the “Dixie Nursery” located at the “Sunnyside Plantation” now referred to as the Shadows Estate in Dubberly, Louisiana. 

Today, 3rd and 4th generation Rowlands and the George Simolke family members maintain the historical buildings, farming of the over 200 acres of hay pastures and cattle on their Heflin, Louisiana historical old farm.  

 Don't miss your chance to hear about some of our local history. The museum events will be held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.

 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

2015 Holiday Hours


Dorcheat Historical Association Museum 2015 Holiday Hours

The Dorcheat Historical Association announces special 2015 holiday hours.

Closed for Thanksgiving November 26th-30th,    Open again on Tuesday December 1st

Closed for Christmas December 24th-28th     Open again on Tuesday December 29th

Closed for New Year December 31st- January 4th   Open again on Tuesday Jan 5th

            “We would like to accommodate any out-of-town visitors during this holiday season If possible.  The museum board members have asked that if anyone would like to see the museum to please give me call at 318-423-0192.  We want to show off the museum and may be able to do so during the holidays by appointment only.” stated museum director Schelley Brown Francis. 

The museum would also like to remind you of ways to help the museum under the Christmas tree this year.  Show your support and purchase one or all of the two very popular museum cookbooks, Cora Lou Robinson’s Christmas print, “Memories of Christmas” book and note cards make a great gift, Cora Lou Robinson’s “Hunter Playhouse” prints are still available, plus we have the popular “Night for the Museum” DVDs that make a great gift for anyone that loves the history of our area.  We also have the new John Agan book.  All of these items make a great stocking stuffer.  The museum offers shipping.  Don’t forget to shop early at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street.  Remember the museum is a 501c3 so you are urged to become a member or donate now for your 2015 deduction!  For more information please visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com

Thursday, September 17, 2015

“Night At The Museum” The Brown and Treat Family In Minden


“Night At The Museum”

The Brown and Treat Family In Minden

 

The 55th “Night at the Museum” will take place Monday October 12, 2015.  This event will feature several of our long time Minden residents.  Louise Baird Snook, Lucy Dickinson Adkins and Margaret Baird Evans.  The talk will be centered on the Brown / Treat families and the impact they had in Minden.

William Joseph Brown the great grandfather of the speakers for the evening, moved to Minden in 1902 from Arkansas with two of his children- Hubert and Helen.  Helen would become the grandmother of these three women that will be telling their family story.  W.J. Brown ran the Hicks Co Wholesalers and purchased the house on Oak Street near Academy Park.  Today that house is being restored by the 6th generation of family members. 

 Frank Burnett Treat moved to Louisiana after serving in WWI and finishing college around 1920.  He was a chemical engineer working for Ohio Oil Company.  He met and married W.J. Brown’s daughter Helen in January of 1923.  They had three children.  Four of their grandchildren still live in or have returned to Minden to live.  The Treat name has been associated with many types of businesses for many years in Minden.  The Brown / Treat Families have certainly left and important mark on Webster parish. 

 Don't miss your chance to hear about some of our area rich history. The museum events will be held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.

 

2015 Gala Update


  Big Turnout To Preserve Our History






 
            Monday, September 14, 2015, the Dorcheat Historical Museum hosted its 7th fundraising event since the 2008 opening of the parish museum. According to museum board members this year was another successful year, raising near the $30,000 mark with large turnout of guests.  Many new faces were in this year’s crowd, which was a welcome sight to board members.

              Becky Marvin, Janice Mourad, Cora Lou Robinson, Louise Snook, and Kay Elzen, Janet LaBruyere, Ann Harlan, Charlotte Martin, Dianne McGuire, Jo McCullough, Charlotte Jones and Mary Ann Hamilton are all board members and the female driving force behind the gala.  Not to be forgotten, for all their hard word to make everything run smoothly are fellow board members; Marcel Vandenoord, Richard Campbell, John Agan, Dr. Roy Phillips, Carleton Prothro, Lonnie Simpson and Ben Baldwain.  Guest seemed well pleased with the amount of items to bid on this year and the great variety of wonderful Louisiana cuisine. "We are so fortunate to have the support of so many people from far and wide.”We are pleased with our progress and we know we couldn't do any of it without so many generous friends and supporters of the museum." stated museum director; Schelley Brown Francis.

            Folk artist, Cora Lou Robinson’s painting was once again the big money maker for the museum.  Her newest painting called “Coming Home” was a depiction of the old L&A Depot and of the WWII soldiers coming home from war.  Robinson's paintings have been a highlight at the past auctions bringing in thousands of dollars each year for the museum. Everyone always looks forward to seeing her new creation.  It is a highly anticipated item for several months before the unveiling date. 

            Museum Director Schelley Francis stated; “We could not do this auction without the help of so many of our local businesses.  They just donate and donate every year.  It makes our job easier with the kindness of so many of our local folks.  This year we added a “Wine Pull” drawing for some extra fun and were able to raise even more money.  We had one family donate all the wine for that part of the evening’s activities.” 

               The museum has had hundreds of visitors this past year from all over the country. It is a showplace for our area and has received quite a bit of notice from the Shreveport area on local TV stations, magazines and newspapers. People are now seeing museum commercials on TV, large billboards and ads in area publications.

             The museum is something everyone should be proud of and is a jewel in our parish crown.  If you haven’t dropped by to see what the Dorcheat Museum has to offer you really need to do so.  Hours are Tuesday – Friday from 10-4 closed from 1-2 for lunch and open on Saturday during special downtown events. 

             To sign up for updates visit the website at www.museuminminden.blogspot.com  you can also find us on our Facebook group and page.

  

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Don't Miss The 2015 Gala


You Are Invited To Help Make History Happen

 



    Monday, September 14, 2015, the Dorcheat Historical Museum will be hosting its 7th fundraising event since the 2008 opening of the parish museum. Last year the fundraiser was a huge success, and raised over $30,000 and was attended by over 150 guests.

     Becky Marvin, Janice Mourad, Cora Lou Robinson, Louise Snook, and Kay Elzen, Janet LaBruyere, Ann Harlan, Charlotte Martin, Dianne McGuire, Jo McCullough, Charlotte Jones and Mary Ann Hamilton are all board members and the female driving force behind the gala.  Not to be forgotten, for all their hard word to make everything run smoothly are fellow board members; Marcel Vandenoord, Richard Campbell, John Agan, Dr. Roy Phillips, Carleton Prothro, Lonnie Simpson and Ben Baldwain.  These event organizers report that the 2015 fundraiser promises to be as exceptional as the past museum events, with the "History and Memories" theme set for this year. Guest will be thrilled with the variety of silent auction items and the great variety of wonderful Louisiana cuisine. "We are so fortunate to have the support of so many people from far and wide.”We are pleased with our progress and we know we couldn't do any of it without so many generous friends and supporters of the museum." stated museum director; Schelley Brown Francis.

     Folk artist, Cora Lou Robinson, is in the process of painting yet another new original painting for this event. Robinson's paintings have been a highlight at the past auctions bringing in thousands of dollars each year for the museum. Everyone is looking forward to seeing her new 2015 piece. Other artists have also contacted museum board members about donating original works; and museum members are thrilled with the response to help.

    We can’t have a successful event or a successful museum without your help.  If you would like to attend or donate a service or item for the 2015 Gala event contact Schelley Francis at the Dorcheat Museum  318-377-3002 or visit at 116 Pearl Street.  Cost to attend is $25 per person.  Please mail in response by September 1st, 2015.

     The museum has had hundreds of visitors this past year from all over the country. It is a showplace for our area and has received quite a bit of notice from the Shreveport area on local TV stations, magazines and newspapers. People are now seeing museum commercials on TV, large billboards and ads in area publications.

    Our expansion project is something we are looking forward to for the future.  We raised the money to purchase the building in 2013!  We have a new roof and front on this newest building!  Now our plans for our renovation and upgrading the building will take place as money is raised for this long-term project.  Many Minden residents will remember when the two buildings were connected as Major Office Supply with a door between the two sections. With the purchase of the building we will once again hope to have a doorway between the two museum areas at some point in time.

   When the Media/Theater room opened several years ago, it gave the museum an extra advantage of being able to offer the facility to others. We can now rent this part of the museum out for meetings, reunions and parties, plus we have the added benefit of the theater system for Power Point or video presentations." commented Schelley Francis.

    To sign up for updates visit the website at www.museuminminden.blogspot.com  you can also find us on our Facebook group and page.

  

Friday, May 8, 2015

Night At The Museum Marcus Wren May 11, 2015


4th “Night At The Museum” 2015

Marcus Wren speaks on The Wren/Spencer Family

 

May 11th, 2015 “Night at the Museum” will be a very special treat for history lovers.  Marcus Wren will be speaking on his mother’s side of the family the Spencers.  The Wren Family has history that dates back to before the Civil War in our area.  Marcus last spoke to the museum in April of 2008 on this grandfather G.L.P. Wren a Civil War soldier.  Marcus Wren has been a fixture in our town for over 90 years and has many, many stories to tell about the changes he has seen and the rich history of his family….he will be sure to draw a packed house at the May museum event.  The Wren/Spencer family history should be something everyone is interested in that loves to hear about the past and its importance.  

 Don't miss your chance to hear about one of Minden's long time families.  The museum events are held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.

 

 

 


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Third "Night At The Museum" 2015 with the Dietrich Family


The Dietrich Family

 

April 13th, 2015 “Night at the Museum” will be a special treat.  Hear the story of Warren and Sue Dietrich of Minden.  Sue and Warren Dietrich, affectionately known as “Sue Dee” and “Dee”, established their residence in Minden in the late 1930’s.  Sue was from southern Arkansas, and Dee from New Orleans.  Although they had no prior connections to Minden, they met here, and created a life together rich with lasting friendships and service to the community.  On April 13th, their daughters, Susan Dietrich Rolfs and Kristine Dietrich Keating will tell the story of their love for Minden and their contributions to the community.   

Don't miss your chance to hear about one of Minden's long time families.  The museum events are held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.

 

 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lost Minden with John Agan


2nd "Night At The Museum" 2015

"Lost Minden" Book Signing And Talk With John Agan

 
March 9th, 2015 "Night at the Museum"
Don't miss it
 

John Agan is a native and life-long resident of Minden. His love of history began as a small child during the Civil War Centennial of the 1960s and has been his passion ever since, eventually becoming his career.

He earned a B.A. , M.Ed. and M.A. in History from Louisiana Tech University and completed work toward his Ph.D. at both Louisiana State University and the University of Mississippi. After working in banking and government, he began a teaching career in the early 1990s. He has been an Assistant Professor of History at Bossier Parish Community College since 2004.

Agan is active in the Dorcheat Historical Association, the Minden Cemetery Association, and the Friends of the Germantown Colony Museum and serves as Chairman of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Board for the Germantown Colony Museum. He has been named the official historian for Webster Parish by the parish governing body, the Webster Parish Police Jury. For 10 years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column on local history for the Minden Press-Herald. He is the author of seven books on local history, including three previous works for Arcadia Publishing.

It is the author’s hope that this book will provide a lasting record of the people and places that shaped the community of Minden for its residents to enjoy and appreciate.

What lasting impact do you hope your book will leave?

My hope would be that this book will provide a place where these various images of what our community looked like and who shaped the community can be found without having to search. These people and places are not forgotten but in a small town sometimes there is no source where one can find images of those people and places. I hope that in the future it will allow local residents to see where we “have come from” so they can appreciate our heritage and use those lessons to shape our future.

Don't miss a chance to hear some great history and get your autographed copy of "Lost Minden" from John Agan.  The museum events are held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

First “Night At The Museum” 2015 The Jamieson & Life Families


First “Night At The Museum” 2015

The Jamieson And Life Families

 

February 9th, 2015 “Night at the Museum” will be a special treat.  Hear the story of the Jamieson and Life families of Minden.  Ann Mays Harlan and Bonnie Jamieson Culverhouse are first cousins.  Ann’s maternal grandparents and Bonnie’s paternal grandparents were Fielding and Sadie Jamieson.  Fielding Jamieson had a 40-year career working for Louisiana Power & Light Company.  Sadie Jamieson was an LVN in the nursery at Minden Hospital.   Ann’s mother was Elizabeth Jamieson Mays.  Bonnie’s dad was Pearce Jamieson, founder of the Jamieson, Wise, Martin C.P.A. firm.  Bonnie’s mother was Martha Life Jamieson.  Bonnie’s maternal grandparents were Will and Johnnye Life, owners of Webb Hardware.  Most everyone in Minden was touched in some way by some member of these families.

Don't miss your chance to hear about two of Minden's long time families.  The museum events are held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.

 

 

 

A Christmas Miracle "A Truck For Bobby"


The Christmas Gift

 

            When you work on a project you never know where it will take you and what will happen afterward.  “A Christmas miracle is what we call this,” states Cora Lou Robinson along with Schelley Francis.  Schelley comments, “The project of writing a Christmas memories book had been on my mind for years, especially since I began my job as director of the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum in 2007.  One of my favorite Christmas traditions that I have been doing for several years now is to read the book "Christmas Gift" by author Ferrol Sams.  This book takes me back in time and always makes me cry for the past.  It has become my special gift, for those like minded people that love the way things once were.” 

            Folk artist, Cora Lou Brown Robinson grew up in Minden.  Her artwork graces the cover of the new book.  A few years ago, her idea to write down her memories for her children and grandchildren gave birth to the idea to do a collection of stories from people here in Webster Parish.  Francis states; “This project began in February 2014, the memories began the day I was old enough to remember what Christmas was all about.  I think you will see from all of these stories recorded in this book, that feeling is shared by many.  We grew up in a time of feeling safe, of being sheltered from the harshness of the world outside our small town; we knew our neighbors and we cared about them.”

            Francis commented, “As the stories began to come in Cora Lou and I realized that some of the stories were not your typical feel good stories.  In fact many were about the harsh realities of life and how in a moment the smallest things can transform your life forever.”  The following is how this book evolved into more than just some stories but turned into a Christmas Miracle.

            This is just a part of Cora Lou Robinson’s story that she told that night at the October museum event to over 100 people and quotes from her about what has happened since the night she told this story in October of 2014. 

 

The following is an excerpt from my story that is in the Memories of Christmas Past book available at the Dorcheat Museum:

 

And then there was Bobby.  Bobby sat behind me in the second grade.  I don’t remember his last name, but I will never forget him.  I think of him throughout the year but I especially think of him at Christmas.  I remember stabbing him in the hand with a pencil one day but he never told on me.  He just kept holding on to his hand and I’m sure it was very painful.  He talked a lot and would tell me stories of what he and his cousins would do. 

 

At Christmas time in grammar school (that’s what elementary school was called back in those days) we all drew names and would bring a gift to our school party for the person whose name we drew.  Now each person was supposed to receive one gift, but there were a few girls in our class who got piles of gifts given by lots of children in class.  Our teacher stood at the front of the room and went on and on about how many gifts those girls received.  You can imagine how the rest of us felt.  I don’t remember what I got, but Bobby got a little wooden truck that he kept rolling back and forth across his desk.  I guess he must have sensed that I was somewhat upset over only getting one gift because he said, “You don’t need a lot of presents to be happy.  This little truck is all I need.  Don’t you see what a good time I’m having with one simple little truck?”  Those were his exact words and I won’t ever forget them.

 

One morning that spring I came to school and I was told that Bobby had wandered into a pond close to where he lived and drowned.  He and some of his cousins slipped off and were going swimming, but Bobby did not know how to swim. 

Now Bobby at seven or eight years old knew more than many, many adults about the important things in life and what you need to be happy.  What you need are the simple things.  As I’ve often said – God and Country – Family and Friends. 

 

That of course brings us to the real meaning of Christmas.  We must never forget the fact that we celebrate Christmas because of the birth of Jesus Christ.

 

The decorations, gifts, all the get togethers and fabulous food are wonderful and they all make for great memories, but the greatest memory of all is a baby born in a simple manger.  He grew up and led a very simple life.

 

To borrow a paragraph from a paper read by Schuyler Marvin at a fifth grade graduation several years ago…. “Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure for most of the human race.  All the armies that ever marched and all the navies that ever sailed and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon earth as powerfully as this One Solitary Life.”

 

So you see Bobby was right…. The simple things are what’s important.  The greatest gifts you can give come from within you.  Love….Hope….and Kindness.

 

With a few key dates in hand Schelley began searching the internet death records for Webster Parish.  The very next day after the talk she found the only Bobby that fit the dates and age requirements matching up with the story.  She called Cora Lou with the news that she had found out who Bobby was and where he was buried.  By the next day museum board member Ann Harlan was able to contact a friend that she felt sure was related to this little boy and sure enough this woman was Bobby’s younger Aunt.  So all the years of not remembering Bobby’s last name and where he was buried were finally put to rest for Mrs. Robinson.

A few days later Schelley asked Cora Lou if she would like to take a wreath out to Bobby’s grave for Christmas.  Schelley searched for the perfect wood truck to attach to the wreath.  “We wanted something similar to what Bobby may have received on his last school Christmas gift exchange in 1943.  We wanted it to be special for a special little boy that made such a huge impact with such simple words so long ago,” commented Schelley. 

The original plan for the visit to the cemetery was to be just a simple wreath placement for Cora Lou and Schelley a few weeks before Christmas.  Others soon heard about the plan and Ann Harlan contacted (Bobby’s Aunt) Janell Boyce Dickinson and she wanted to be included in the plan to meet at the cemetery.  Soon the plans were expanded to include some of Bobby’s Aunt Janell’s life-long friends.  So on a sunny but cold and windy December afternoon a group of friends stood in front a little boy’s grave.  For 71 years the unselfish, wise words of a nine year old little boy had made a huge impact in one of their lives. 



Left-Right: Mary Jo Kirkland, Jenny Kennon, Lyda Madden, Janell Boyce Dickinson, Cora Lou Robinson, Ann Harlan, Laverne Kidd, Joyce Carey

The fact that Bobby’s words never left Cora Lou’s mind is amazing.  The fact that Cora Lou went on to be the person she is today, I believe is a part of Bobby’s legacy to Minden and the world.  Cora Lou Robinson has blessed so many people with her simple acts of kindness, sweet spirit, art, and her teaching of children.  I feel that was her way of saying “Bobby I heard what you said to me that day.”

Friday, November 14, 2014

Museum Making Plans For 2015 and Beyond


Lou Snook presents Thad Andress a commemorative plaque for his years of service to the museum.  
Dorcheat Historical Museum has come a long way since opening its doors in 2008.  “The museum is changing all the time” stated Schelley Francis.  This upcoming year the museum will continue to grow, work on expansion projects and new exhibits.  Longtime president of the museum board; Mr. Thad Andress steps aside this year to welcome the new 2015 president Mrs. Louise Baird Snook to the helm of the organization.  Andress brought with him the knowledge of importance of preserving family history and the diligence of seeing the job done. 

During Andress’s time with the museum great strides have been made.  Foremost is that Webster Parish now has a museum that they can be proud of.  For many, many years a museum was only a hope and a dream to just a handful of people.  Under Andress nine years at the forefront of Dorcheat Historical Association, much money has been donated to get the Dorcheat Museum where it is today.  “Without all the successful fundraising efforts plus all the time and effort that have been made by so many that are working and have worked behind the scenes of this organization we would not be open today!” commented Mrs. Francis.    

The museum has special events, gives free tours to groups, and is a great source for finding out local history.  That is something that for many is a dream come true.  But the dream doesn’t stop here.  Last year the adjacent building was purchased with the goal of expanding at some point in the near future. 

Mrs. Snook…. like Andress has deep family roots in Minden, with her Treat and Brown family connections.  So many people that reside in Webster Parish have very deep family roots.  Having family history that dates back for so many generations is a big plus to any area and a great reason for the strong community involvement that Dorcheat Museum has seen. 

For many of these longtime Webster Parish families, that is where the importance of having a good museum steps in.  When those older family members are gone, many are faced with what to do with items.  The museum is a great place to donate family items and preserve the past for many future generations.     

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Christmas Morning" Now At The Museum










Don't wait....get your Cora Lou print "Christmas Morning" (8x10) $20, your "Glimpse of Christmas Past" Book for $25, "Christmas Morning" Christmas Cards pack of 8 for $10. We are also doing a give away on Nov 25th, 2014....for a $5 donation get your name in the hopper for a chance to win a beautiful tree decorated with handmade ornaments made by Lyda Madden plus a gift basket with the Cora Lou cards, prints and book.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Twas The Night At The Museum With Cora Lou Robinson


Twas The Night At The Museum With Cora Lou Robinson
A Glimpse of Christmas Past

Christmas Memories from Friends and Families of Webster Parish
is the title of our new project! And the theme for our October museum Event!


Come hear one of Minden's beloved teachers and artist read excerpts from our new book that has been months in the making. I promise that you will have a wonderful evening of Christmas memories. A very special silent auction item will be up for auction that evening.... CHRISTMAS IN OCTOBER will be our theme for the night!
We hope to have the books back by October and just in time for Christmas these will make a great gift for your family. It is a way to keep your family traditions alive for future generations. Call me if you have any questions or just need help.
This project has been on my mind for years, especially since I began my job as director of the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum in 2007. My favorite Christmas tradition that I have been doing for several years now is to read the book "Christmas Gift" by author Ferrol Sams. This book takes me back in time and always makes me cry for the past. It has become my special gift, for those like minded people that love the way things once were. The act of recording our memories is so important for our future generations. All of us have a special Christmas memory, tucked away in the back of our mind. This book was created in hopes of bringing those memories out of just our thoughts, to be put down in print and shared. Christmases are special to every one of us, but as a child I felt like they were more special here in Minden, Louisiana and North Louisiana.
My friend and folk artist, Cora Lou Brown Robinson grew up in Minden. Her artwork graces the cover of this new book. A few years ago, her idea to write down her memories for her children and grandchildren gave me the idea to do a collection of stories from people here in Webster Parish. This project began for me in February 2014, the memories began the day I was old enough to remember what Christmas was all about. I think you will see from all of these stories recorded in this book, that feeling is shared by many. We grew up in a time of feeling safe, of being sheltered from the harshness of the world outside our small town; we knew our neighbors and we cared about them.
I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I have enjoyed collecting the stories.

The cost of the book will be $25 dollars each and $5 shipping and handling if we need to mail you one. This book is over 250 pages long! Full of wonderful stories from people of our parish! Contact me at 318-377-3002 for when books will be available.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Museum Gala 2014 "Photographs and Memories"



You Are Invited To Help Make History Happen

    Monday, September 8, 2014, the Dorcheat Historical Museum will be hosting its sixth fundraising event since the 2008 opening of the parish museum. Last year the fundraiser was a huge success, and raised over $30,000 and was attended by over 150 guests.

    Becky Marvin, Janice Mourad, Cora Lou Robinson, Louise Snook, and Kay Elzen, board members and gala event organizers report that the 2014 fundraiser promises to be no exception, with the "Photographs and Memories" theme set for this year. Guest will be thrilled with the variety of silent auction items and the great variety of wonderful Louisiana cuisine. "We are so fortunate to have the support of so many people from far and wide. "We are pleased with our progress and we know we couldn't do any of it without so many generous friends and supporters of the museum." stated museum director; Schelley Francis.

    Folk artist, Cora Lou Robinson, is in the process of painting another new original painting for this event. Robinson's paintings have been a highlight at the past auctions bringing in over $8000 last year for the museum. Everyone is looking forward to seeing her new 2014 piece. Other artists have also contacted museum board members about donating original works; and museum members are thrilled with the response to help.

    The museum has had hundreds of visitors this past year from all over the country. It is a showplace for our area and has received quite a bit of notice from the Shreveport area on local TV stations, magazines and newspapers. People are now seeing museum commercials on TV, large billboards and ads in area publications.

   Our expansion project is in full swing.  We raised the money to purchase the building in 2013!  We have a new roof and front on our new building!  Now our plans for our renovation and upgrading the building will take place.  Many Minden residents will remember when the two buildings were connected as Major Office Supply with a door between the two sections. With the purchase of the building we will once again hope to have a doorway between the two museum areas at some point in time.

   When the Media/Theater room opened several years ago, it gave the museum an extra advantage of being able to offer the facility to others. We can now rent this part of the museum out for meetings, reunions and parties, plus we have the added benefit of the theater system for Power Point or video presentations." commented Schelley Francis.

    If you would like to attend or donate a service or item for the 2014 Gala event contact the Dorcheat Museum at 318-377-3002 or visit at 116 Pearl Street. To sign up for updates visit the website at www.museuminminden.blogspot.com you can also find us on Facebook.