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116 Pearl Street Then

116 Pearl Street Then
1920's Photo of Pearl Street

116 Pearl Street Today

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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The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, Inc.

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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Help Us Keep History Alive In Webster Parish

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 proud supporter of the Webster Parish Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum.

All contributions may be mailed to:

Dorcheat Historical Association Museum
PO Box 1094

Minden, Louisiana 71058.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2014 Night At The Museum Our German Heritage March 10th, 2014

2014 Night At The Museum Our German Heritage March 10th, 2014

The 41st “Night at the Museum” will take place Monday March 10th, 2014.  This event will feature several guest speakers, including Webster Parish Mr. John Agan, Mr. Otto Krouse, LeVerne Kidd and Susie Lester.  We will learn much about Minden’s German heritage and influences that are still here today.  Most Mindenites have grown up knowing that Minden has a sister city Minden, Germany and most are familiar with Germantown Colony.  Many are not aware of what it was like to be of German decent in the United States during WWII.  This subject will be the main feature of the talk.
 The Germantown Colony and Museum is an historical preservation project north of Minden. It was among three sites in Louisiana founded by former members of the Utopian Movement called the Harmony Society in the early 19th century. The original colonists came from Germany having first settled in Harmony, PA in 1803, then in New Harmony, IN in 1814, and finally in 1825 in Economy (now Ambridge, PA).
About 250 former members of the Harmony Society, many of whom left Economy, Pennsylvania, during 1832, decided to leave because of disagreements over the society's customs. They followed a visionary named Bernhard Muller, who called himself "Count de Leon". The Count called upon all the heads of Europe to relinquish their crowns in a "new world to come."
Some community members would eventfully follow Müller and his family down the Ohio River via flatboat. They later started up again at Grand Ecore, twelve miles north of Natchitoches, Louisiana. There Müller died and was interred in Natchitoches Parish. When the Count died, a congressman obtained passage of a bill donating a tract of land to the colonists and to Countess Leon, the Count's widow. The roots of the Germantown Colony were hence established.
In 1835, the group, then led by Müller's widow, the Countess, settled seven miles northeast of Minden in what was then Claiborne Parish.  For nearly four decades, the colony operated on a communal basis until it dispersed in 1871, when Webster Parish was created from Claiborne Parish. The Countess then moved to Hot Springs, AR., where she died in 1881.
The colony and cemetery thereafter was maintained by members of the Krouse family, including Dr. Francis Otto Krouse.  In 1954, then Governor Robert F. Kennon unveiled a still standing historical marker of the Germantown Colony. The sign is located at the intersections of Broadway, Elm, and East and West streets, across from the Webster Parish Library. Today the historic Germantown Cemetery holds the remains of many of the settlers. Tombstone information reveals that a number were born in Germany. In some cases, the cause of death is listed on the markers.
In 1973, Krouse descendants, including Chester Phillip Krouse (1899–1981) and his sister, Ruby Florence Krouse (1906–2005), donated an acre of land to the Webster Parish Police Jury.  Three of the original buildings, the Countess’ cabin, the kitchen-dining hall, and the Dr. Goentgen cottage, survive at the site. The buildings contain items used by the early settlers.  Some of the original wallpaper remains in the large room of the Countess' cottage, paper which she had ordered from New Orleans to cover the rough walls. A refined woman, the Countess gave piano instruction to girls and young women in her cottage. 
 The Germantown Museum did not open to the public until May 10, 1975, with then former Governor Kennon, a Webster Parish native and a descendant of Germantown colonists, in attendance for the observation.  In 1979, the colony was placed on the list of the "Cultural Resources Worthy of Preservation" by the United States Department of the Interior.   As Germantown, the village was listed in 1979 on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2008, the Louisiana State Legislature under Act 847 declared it appropriate for the state to operate the Germantown Colony and Museum.  On July 1, 2009, the museum switched from parish to state control. The Germantown Colony Museum temporarily closed on June 3, 2013, for the construction of a new visitor’s center. The museum expects to reopen in 2014. The new visitor’s center will provide a climate-controlled area to display artifacts used by the settlers. The renovation also includes restrooms and new office space.
 Don't miss your chance to hear about some of Minden's earliest families. 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 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.