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116 Pearl Street Then

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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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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, December 31, 2008

We Made Minden's Top Ten For 2008

An eventful year in Minden, Webster
Written by Press-Herald Staff
Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Over the next two days, the Press-Herald will recap the 10 biggest news stories of 2008 in Webster Parish.As follows are numbers 10 through 6.

Dorcheat Historical Museum opens
The greatly-anticipated Dorcheat Historical Museum, located at 116 Pearl Street, opened to the public on June 10.
The museum houses relics of historical interest and significance collected from all areas of Webster Parish as well as family heirlooms, which have been passed down through the generations. Many of the items have been donated by life-long residents of Minden.
Museum tours start with the history of Webster Parish, beginning with a Native American exhibit. They then progress down a timeline depicting progressions seen and made during the life of Webster Parish.
The Museum began hosting “Night for the Museum”, an exciting and entertaining evening featuring guest speakers who recall stories of Minden’s past. Speakers for this monthly event have included George Turner, Dr. Steve Kirkikis and Marilyn Miller.
The highly attended events are held at Christopher’s, located at 615 Main Street and include refreshments.Museum Director Schelley Brown said Night for the Museum allows for the recording of these important stories for future generations.

Friday, December 5, 2008

2009 Season for “Night for the Museum” will be filled with History

Click to enlarge picturesJohn Stillmon Willis, Jr. To Be The First Speaker of 2009

The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, Inc announces the first “Night for the Museum” of 2009. These events were such a huge success in 2008 with 9 speakers’ total for the year. Each event was recorded and made into a DVD. These DVDs are a part of the fundraising efforts of the always expanding and progressing new museum.
Museum director Schelley Brown stated, “Last year with our June opening we wanted to get the word out about the museum and what better way to do that than to tell our parish history from people that have lived it or whose grandparents experienced it.” The events have included a wide range of subjects from the Civil War – the 1940’s and 50’s recreation at Hunter’s Playhouse. Each event was attended by 150-200 guests. Many of these people traveled a great distance to attend the monthly events.
Monday January 12th, 2009, Mr. John S. Willis will be the first guest speaker for the 2009 season. Mr. Willis a longtime Webster Parish citizen grew up in the Doyline area of the parish. John Stillmon Willis, Jr. was born on the Willis farm south of Doyline to Ada Kennon Willis and John Stillmon Willis, Sr. in June of 1919. Ada Willis would succumb to along illness when John was just 4 years old. John was then raised by his grandparents John Gladden and Anna Willis. He graduated with a degree in Agronomy from LSU. He farmed until Pearl Harbor. He spent four years in the service, the later three years in the Army Air Corps. His combat service was as a B-17 Pilot out of Deephen-Greene Airbase with the 452nd Bomb Group in England. The average casualty rate for the Bomb Groups was a staggering 77% with his unit having an 85% casualty rate. Willis flew amazingly over 30 missions. After leaving the service John spent 20 years in the family lumber business. The next 20 years many remember Mr. Willis and his late wife Mrs. Lillian Life Willis as a part of the Webb Hardware family. These two played important parts in the fabric of our community. They retired in 1988. Lillian died in 2006. Mr. Willis will be speaking on his early childhood days around Lake Bistineau as well as his amazing stories of WWII and life in our surrounding communities. Ms. Brown commented, “I know Mr. Willis is going to be a wonderful first speaker for 2009. We are so excited that he has agreed to do this for us. He has wonderful stories and I know that everyone is going to enjoy listening to him.”
Speakers are already lined up for an exciting and history filled 2009 schedule. The events will be held at Christopher’s located at 615 Main Street in Minden on the 2nd Monday of the month. Doors open around 5:30 refreshments are served at 6:00 p.m. with speakers to begin at 6:30. No admission is charged for the events but donations to the museum are welcomed. For more information on the museum you can visit the web site at or call Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holiday Hours

The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum Holiday hours. On December 4th we will be open until 8:00 p.m. for Wrap It Up Downtown In Minden. The Week of Christmas we will be closed for a week from December 24th Christmas Eve - New Years Day. We will open again on Friday January 2nd, 2009. We will be in town the week we are closed so if you have family in that would like to see the museum please call Schelley Brown 423-0192 or Thad Andress 377-7311. If we are able to we would love to come down and show you the museum.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We Start Them Early To Volunteer Here At The Museum

Volunteer Kristin Little is a seventh grade student at Webster Jr. High school. During her Thanksgiving vacation this young volunteer got in a days work at the Dorcheat Museum sorting and folding the Winter 2008-09 Newsletters. Kristin needed 10 hours of service for this semester for her Beta Club Service Project. The Dorcheat Museum was glad to have this help from a young person. It is important to start children out young to learn about the importance of volunteerism. We hope Kristin enjoyed her work here and will want to continue to help us in the future. We also hopes she gets an A+ on her work at school.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

2008 Season Finale

2008 Season Finale for “A Night for the Museum” A Big Hit
Monday, November 10th, 2008 was the 2008 “Night for the Museum” season finale. The monthly history events but on by the new Dorcheat Historical Association Museum have been a huge success and have increased awareness of the importance of Webster Parish history. Schelley Brown the director of the museum stated, “These events began to help promote the museum. We weren’t sure at first how they would go over, but we were thrilled when they kept growing in attendance every month. The people of Minden and surrounding areas are now looking forward to our next speakers. We not only created an interest in history but also stirred people’s memories of items and artifacts that they have tucked away in closets and attics. These items have now found there way to where they belong in the new museum.
Monday night’s speaker was the official Bossier Parish historian Clifton Cardin. Mr. Cardin has done extensive research about old Bossier Parish which at one time was part of what is now Webster Parish. He is the author of many history related books dealing with our area. Cardin donated one of his books to the museum on Monday night to be placed in the library reference section of the museum. Cardin also donated the same history book to be given away in the gift basket that was given away and was won by Sandra Sparkman.
Cardin told of some of the great leaders of our Parish and the huge influence they made on this area. One in particular was Judge John Watkins the man that had “Shed Road” constructed. Cardin talked on the importance and rarity of this type road and how he is looking for a picture of this structure. No picture exists of the old road to his knowledge and historians would love to find this in the future. Cardin also presented the museum with several pictures that were recently located dealing with the Yellow Pine area of Webster Parish.
All of the events have been recorded and are available for sale now as a complete set. You can save by getting the entire 9 DVD set which sales normally for $10 each. Now get all 9 DVDs for $75.00. These make a great gift for Christmas and the museum now has special old-time gift wrapping to make it a perfect gift of history. The museum has several items including prints and history books and the popular “Taste of Yesterday” cookbook series. All of these items are related to our area and are a great way to support the museum plus make great gifts for your holiday list.
The monthly events will continue in January 2009 with first speaker to be Mr. John S. Willis. Willis is a longtime Minden citizen and also a WWII Veteran with many heroic stories to tell. February will celebrate African-American History Month with Dr. Roy Phillips. Dr. Phillips has traced his family history to Africa and back. Dr. Phillips has published a book about his family and has done extensive research in Africa as well as the United States about African- Americans in our area. Dr. Phillips is also currently working with Mr. James Smith, long time educator in Webster Parish on the Black history for the museum. A grant has been applied for to help with this exhibit.
The museum has a lot to look forward to in 2009 as work continues on the Children’s Learning Center in the back room of the museum. The museum hopes to have classes come to the museum for tours and is encouraging local children’s club leaders, teachers and schools to call for tour times. This museum is not what you expect in a small town and you must get out and see it for yourself. For more information contact Schelley Brown at 318-377-3002 or 318-423-0192. To read more about the museum go to

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lunch Bunch At First United Methodist Church Minden, Louisiana

Dorcheat Historical Association Museum Director Schelley Brown spoke to the First United Methodist Church (Lunch Bunch Group) in Minden, Louisiana on Wednesday November 5th, 2008 at their monthly noon meeting. The topic was the importance of historic preservation in our area. The importance of now having the museum available to consolidate all the preservation efforts was relayed to the crowd. A invitation was extended to everyone attending the luncheon for a free tour of the museum following the program. Several lunch attendees took the museum tour offer and arrived at the museum for their free tour later in the day. All were most impressed with the quality of our Webster Parish Museum.

Cookbook Fair In Ruston, Louisiana

On Saturday November 1st, 2008, the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum was invited to attend the 2nd Ruston Parish Library Cookbook Fair. The new "Taste Of Class" Cookbooks were a great hit along with the recipe for Rene's Vacation Peanut Butter Candy. Our first cookbook also had good reviews. We are almost out of both of our cookbooks so hurry to get yours if you haven't already done so. These make the perfect wedding, Christmas, or birthday gift. We also have nostalgic gift wrapping available.

Friday, October 10, 2008

November Night For The Museum With Bossier Parish Historian Clifton D. Cardin

“Webster and Bossier Parish our Connections from the past”
“The November 10th, 2008 “Night for The Museum” promises to be one of our most informative evenings to date” stated Museum director Schelley Brown. Clifton D. Cardin the official Bossier Parish Historian will be on hand for a very special evening of history. Mr. Cardin will be speaking on Old Bossier Parish, now western Webster parish and other historic events shared by Minden, Webster and Bossier Parish.
Mr. Cardin is a Louisiana native with close ties to Webster parish having lived in Dixie Inn from 1984-1996. Since retirement he now owns Nike-Hercules "Cold War" Missile Base in Bellevue. He gladly answers all questions in regards to his knowledge of our parish history.
He is an accomplished author of five books on Bossier Parish history. He is currently working on several other history related books.
1. Bossier Parish History 1843-1993 the first 150 years.

2. Proud to be in Bossier for Willis Knighton-Bossier's grand opening.

3. Images of Bossier Parish

4. Bossier Parish Headstones, a complete list.....

5. No Pardons to Ask, Nor Apologies to Make… Aka William King Civil War diary
The topic of Mr. Cardin’s talk will be about how Bossier parish was formed from Claiborne Parish. Until 1871, Bossier Parish included what are now Webster and Red River parishes. Its boundaries were originally Loggy Bayou to Lake Bistineau to Bayou Dorcheat to the Arkansas-Louisiana state line to the Red River back to the mouth of Loggy Bayou.
The monthly event will again be held at Christopher’s located at 615 Main Street in Minden, Louisiana. Refreshments will be provided by Dorcheat Museum and sponsored by Ty Pendergrass of Argent Financial. Refreshments will be served at 6:00 P.M. and an opening welcome from Mr. Thad Andress; President of the Dorcheat Historical Association & Museum, Inc. and introduction by Webster Parish historian; John Agan. Program will begin at 6:30 with a special gift basket to be given away to a lucky attendee at the end of the evening! A two night stay with a value of $378 at the McKay House in Jefferson will also be raffled off at the end of the evening. A special tour of the Dorcheat Historical Museum located at 116 Pearl Street will follow these two drawings. “These events are growing in attendance every month. The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum is proud to be able to offer the citizens of Webster Parish a glimpse into the past. We will not be having an event in December so this will be our last event for 2008. We have a great lineup of speakers already booking for our 2009 events which will begin in January. 2009 is going to be filled with exciting museum events.” stated Ms. Brown. For more information on “A Night for the Museum with Mr. Clifton D. Cardin” please contact Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192 or visit Reservations not required first come first serve seating.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Women's Department Club 2008

Click on photo to enlarge.Tuesday October 7, 2008 Dorcheat Museum director, Schelley Brown spoke to over 100 women for the quarterly meeting of the Women’s Department Club. The well attended luncheon was held at 12 noon in the Fellowship Hall of First United Methodist Church in Minden.
The Women’s Department Club of Minden has been an honored tradition for women since 1924 with the first president being Mrs. S.W. Brown. This group of women has formed an organization long steeped in tradition and good works. As was evident by the attendance, this group is dedicated to their causes and mission.
A wonderful lunch provided by B Rose Catering was enjoyed by everyone. The Pledge of Allegiance followed by an opening prayer by Carolyn Raley got the program started. Mrs. Glenda Toms current president of the organization introduced the guest speaker.
The subject for this meeting was historic preservation. What better woman to speak than Ms. Brown. Brown currently is the director of the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, current president of the Minden Historic Residential District Association and board member of the Minden Cemetery Association. Her love of preservation in all respects was evident by her passion in her speech. Brown opened with a comment about herself that she has said really is what she is all about. “It has been said that if it is old, rusty, paint peeling off, will not crank, or buried I probably have something to do with it!”
Brown emphasized how important the telling of family history from generation to generation is. She stressed the importance of writing down or recording your memories and your grandparent’s memories for the future generations of families. “Everyone knows how important the knowledge of medical history from generation to generation is but the other history and stories are just as important. If we don’t remember our history chances are we will make some of the same horrific mistakes that have taken place in the past.” One shocking detail of this was evident to the ladies, as Ms. Brown told about speaking to a high school group where several in the class had no idea what the Holocaust was!
The goals of the Dorcheat Historical Museum, the Minden Cemetery and the Minden Residential District Association were told to the crowd, with a request for support and volunteers from the members of the Department Club. Many signed up for the upcoming “Taste of Class” cookbook that will be on sale within the next few weeks. An invitation to come to the museum following the luncheon was extended to the group with several making the tour of the museum their next stop for the day. For more information on the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum you can contact Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192 or visit the museum web site at

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bring Your Class To The Museum

The Dorcheat Museum encourages the teachers of Webster Parish to bring your class rooms to the museum.
Click on pictures below to enlarge.
Please call us for more information and to book your class trip today!

Monday, September 1, 2008

1933 A Year Of Devastation For Minden

Click to enlarge

“A Night for Remembering So Much”
Many came together Monday night at the Dorcheat Historical Association’s monthly “Night for the Museum” to remember not only the event theme but to remember Mrs. Juanita Agan. The unexpected death of scheduled speaker John Agan’s mother was a shock to many in the Minden area. Museum director, Schelley Brown began the evening by urging everyone to sign cards for the family that were placed on each table and by telling everyone about the frequent calls shared with Mrs. Agan and how they always left you with a smile.
As the program began Thad Andress described the Juanita he knew as a child. Andress explained how Mrs. Agan and her beloved J.C. were an Andress Motor Company romance that would last a lifetime. Richard Campbell would continue with his memories of growing up in Minden and how loved and cherished Mrs. Agan was to so many. He also spoke of how priceless she was to those that love history.
The theme for the October event was the disasters of that year and the toll it took on Minden and Webster Parish. Dr. Campbell then began the program with a reading of a 1933 newspaper to set the tone. Webster Nation was the first one from the crowd to get up and tell his story. He was a young boy just wanting to play a game of baseball that day after school. He was stopped from leaving the house by his father. This act possibly saved his life. He described the scene with such emotion that you could feel the fear that was felt that day. He described in detail the sights and sounds of that terrible day. He said as long as he lives that he will never forget that day of having to go down into a crowded storm cellar with family and neighbors. Mr. Nation was also a classmate of Mrs. Agan and he spoke of her with the affection of lifelong friends.
Betty Lowe was next in line and she told how she and her family saw the storm approaching from Cotton Valley. Neighbors gathered in their large home that would later be almost totally destroyed by the cyclone. She told how they lived with neighbors and in two tents supplied by the Red Cross until a home was rebuilt for her family.
Joan Willey Luck, Eugene Allen, Dr. Steve Kirkikis, Marcus Wren and Faye Gordon all took the stage to tell of the death and destruction that followed the worst tornado to ever hit the state of Louisiana so many years ago. They also shared memories of what Mrs. Agan had meant to them. A tour of the 1933 museum exhibit was taken at the program’s end.
The 2nd Monday in November “Night for the Museum” will be an evening with the Bossier Parish Historian Clifton D. Cardin. Mr. Cardin will be speaking about the connections between the two parishes. For more information on the Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum contact Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192 or visit the web site at . A DVD of each event is available at the museum located at 116 Pearl Street.

Large Turnout Expected Again For “A Night for the Museum” with Mr. John Agan
Monday, October 13th, 2008, “A Night for the Museum” will be a special night for history lovers. John Agan, lifelong resident, local author, newspaper columnist, history teacher and the official Webster Parish Historian will be the guest speaker at The Dorcheat Historical Association’s “A Night for the Museum”. John is a 1976 graduate of Minden High School and earned a B.A. in History, a M. Ed. in Social Studies Education and a M. A. in History from Louisiana Tech. He did work toward his Ph.D. at both the University of Mississippi and LSU. He is currently an Instructor of History at Bossier Parish Community College . He has written three books on local history and since 2000 has written a weekly column on local history for the Minden Press-Herald. He is a member of the First Baptist Church where he has served as a Deacon and Sunday School Teacher and currently serves on the Board of Trustees. John is also am a member of the Minden Cemetery Association Board, the Germantown Colony Museum Commission, the Advisory Board of Cultural Crossroads and the Board of the Dorcheat Historical Association. Mr. Agan was appointed by the Police Jury as the designated official historian of Webster Parish.
Don’t miss this exciting and entertaining evening of hearing our history. This informative night dealing with Webster parish history during the 1930s should be another huge success. The monthly gatherings of history fans have been held to a packed house almost since it began over six months ago. Museum coordinators are again expecting a large turnout, so you may want to bring your lawn chairs just in case of a shortage of seating! “John Agan and his mother Juanita Agan have such a keen memory for detail. Minden is so lucky to have them both and we should be so appreciative of their work and knowledge. I don’t know where I would be with some of my projects without them. “Ghost Walk”, that benefits the Minden Cemetery , would never have happened without John helping me every year with scripts and information. The Dorcheat Museum would be in the same shape, I am afraid, without John’s knowledge.” stated Brown.
Our Webster Parish historian will be speaking on the subject of the new museum exhibit “The Disasters of 1933”. That year was especially tragic for Minden and the entire parish, as well as many other parts of the country. The “Great Depression” was in full swing for many, with droughts and flooding not much help to farmers. Banks failed and people struggled. Hear how Minden citizens survived bank failures, tragedy of fire, floods, and tornado. Minden later would triumph over all these events to become what we know and love today.
For this event museum director, Schelley Brown is encouraging everyone that remembers the 1933 disasters to come and have your story recorded. “This is a rare opportunity to get our oral history of this year down for posterity. Phil Demaline will be on hand making this recording possible. We want those that remember stories that were told to them, as well as those that were actually there, to stand up and tell us what happened to them. All of this will be a huge help with our new exhibit. We have an actual news reel from 1933 that shows live footage of the tornado of 1933 damage and the aftermath of the storm, but it has no sound. These real accounts can greatly enhance this exhibit.” stated Ms. Brown.
Mr. Agan will be speaking at Christopher’s located at 615 Main Street in Minden , Louisiana . Refreshments will be provided by Charlotte Martin and sponsored by Ty Pendergrass of Argent Financial. Refreshments will be served at 6:00 P.M. An opening welcome will be given by Mr. Thad Andress, President of the Dorcheat Historical Association & Museum, Inc. Everyone is encouraged to arrive before 6:00 P.M. for seating. Program will begin at 6:30. A large gift basket with a value of over $200 will be given away to a lucky attendee at the end of the evening! Also a raffle drawing for a two- night stay (value $378) at the McKay House B & B in Jefferson, Texas will be held.
Admission is free of charge and everyone is welcome. For more information on “A Night for the Museum with Mr. John Agan” please contact Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192 or visit . Reservations not required. First come, first served seating

The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum Needs Your Help with The Disaster of 1933 Exhibit !

The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum is currently working on its new exhibit “The Disasters of 1933”. “This exhibit is a very important element in the museum timeline.” stated museum director Schelley Brown. This new exhibit is the work of local artist Larry Milford and includes not only a Tornado and Fire display but will also include sound effects and a live footage news reel that will be played on a small screen TV. “What we are working on now are the stories from the people that lived through this time in our history. We want to get these stories recorded at our next “Night for The Museum” which will take place on October 13, 2008 at Christopher’s on Main Street. We are encouraging everyone that remembers these 1933 events to please come out for this evening of history. We also are looking for pictures and artifacts from 1933. We hope that people will remember that they have old photos or items that were saved from the tornado or fire to come forward and help us make this new exhibit something we can all be proud of. Minden suffered a great many disasters that year with failing banks, fires, floods, and then the worst tornado on record to hit the state of Louisiana. To come back from all of that says a lot about the type people Webster Parish citizens were and still are.” said Ms. Brown. For more information about the museum you can contact Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192 or visit the museum blog at Remember this is your museum!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

African-American Research Project in Webster Parish

Dr. Roy Phillips Mr. James Smith

Phillips and Smith to Begin Research for African-American Exhibit at Dorcheat Museum

Dr. Roy G. Phillips and James H. Smith are to begin research for African-American exhibits at the Dorcheat Museum. They will be contacting persons throughout the parish who have knowledge of this particular part of our history. Where practical and with the permissions of the persons involved, Phillips and Smith will make audio-video recordings of their interviews. This oral history will be valuable for future researchers as well as making interesting exhibits. All periods from 1800 to the present will be covered. Broad spectrums of topics of historical significance are covered including, slavery, reconstruction, occupations, churches, education, etc.

In addition they will attempt to find printed information, manuscripts, pictures and artifacts that are of historical importance.

Dr. Roy G. Phillips, PhD, is a retired campus president at Miami-Dade College, Homestead campus. After sixty years, he returned to his native home in rural Webster Parish outside of Minden. Encouraged by a conversation with renowned author Alex Haley, he researched his own family history back to their native land in Africa and published a book on his findings. Thad Andress said, "Having read the book, which includes Mr. Phillips personal history, I have complete confidence this research is in good hands."

His co-researcher is James H. Smith, a well-known longtime educator, principal in the Webster Parish Schools system, advisor, and volunteer in many youth programs in the parish. Mr. Smith is quite knowledgeable about the Minden area where he has been a life-long resident.

Historian John Agan will assist them in their work. Larry Milford will design exhibits based on their research.

The Museum has applied for a grant from Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities to support this project. The outline for the project was prepared by Pattie Odom and Charlotte Martin and presented to them. President Thad Andress said that this very important project will move forward even if the grant is not received.

Schelley Brown, Executive Director, encourages all persons that have artifacts, pictures, manuscripts, books, that you want to share with Dr. Phillips and Mr. Smith to contact her at 319-423-0192. Copies can be made of any pictures and the original returned.

This program is funded under a grant form the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the state affiate of the
National Endowment for the Humanities.

The opinions expressed in this program do not necessarily represent the views of either the Louisiana Endowment for
the Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Vist From The Secretary of State, Jay Dardenne

August 8th, 2008
Click on Pictures To View Larger

A Vist From The Secretary of State, Jay Dardenne

The Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum was honored with some of Louisiana's state representatives. The Office of the Louisiana Secretary of State, State Representative Jean Doerge, and the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau had a special press conference at the Germantown Colony & Museum on Germantown Road in Minden. This event was held with distinguished members of the Webster Parish Police Jury, the Germantown Colony Commission and Parish Historian John Agan. The excitement was generated by the State of Louisiana taking over the Germantown Colony as a state site. This will help protect and preserve this valuable piece of local and state history. A reception followed the press conference at Christopher's in downtown Minden. After the well attended reception. Secretary of State; Jay Dardenne along with assistant; Cathy Berry as well as Louisiana State Representative; Jean Doerge, Webster Parish Tourism Director; Lynn Dorsey and members of the WPCVB and other distinguished guest toured the new museum to see the tremendous amount of progress that has been made in one year's time.

State Representative Jean Doerge, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne and Secretary of State Assistant Cathy Berry in front of Overton scene in Dorcheat Historical Association Museum.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Memories Of Hunter's Night For The Museum

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“Night for the Museum Memories of Hunter’s Playhouse Era” with an All-Star Cast!

The September 9th, 2008 “Night for the Museum” was “A Sentimental Journey” to remember. Dorcheat Museum’s director; Schelley Brown stated, “We have never had a crowd this large before, folks having been calling me for weeks in anticipation about this night. People started to arrive at Christopher’s around 4:00 P.M. for the 6:00 P.M. historic venue event. These events just keep growing. In fact we have now officially outgrown Christopher’s. I am telling people to bring lawn chairs because of the limited number of chairs that we do have plus we did not set up tables and added more chairs just for this occasion. It is great that people have made this monthly event a must do! This era of time was so special to so many folks. Many of those that took part in Monday night’s event traveled back to their old hometown for the weekend and spent time with family and friends. It is wonderful to know that now we have people traveling a great distance to come to Minden once a month just to hear our speakers and take part in the museum activities.”

Monday night’s trip down memory lane included the legendary Harmon Drew on keyboard; The Minden Melodies singing group, a Playhouse skit on what it was like back then (with the boys seated on one side of the room and the girls sitting on the other in anticipation for that question of “will you dance with me”?). Master of Ceremonies; Lamar Pace kept the program moving with each introduction of the next speaker. A list of locals and those that experienced a wonderful time in Minden’s history made their way toward the stage, to tell stories and relive how important this time in their lives was. At one point a popular dance from the era “The Paul Jones” was brought back to life as a few couples were drawn from the crowd to form the two circles required.

Brown stated, “This was a moving and an emotional night for many as were evident by the smiles and tears seen in the crowd. This tribute to Larry and Gladys Hunter and what they did for Minden youth for over 30 years was a true testament that showed how important it was and how many lives were touched by their generosity. I don’t think they had anyway of knowing that over 50 years later crowds would gather in honor of what they did for children and young adults in our area. They made a lasting impression that will live on forever in the memories of so many. I am so glad that we will now have the new museum exhibit to showcase this as well as the DVD that captured so many memories for other to share. Their legacy will live on with this new exhibit.”

If you missed last night, a DVD is available for $10 at the museum. The next “Night for the Museum” is scheduled for October 13th, 2008. A night remembering the disasters of 1933 with historian John Agan will be a great history lesson for all of us.
Admission is free of charge and everyone is welcome. For more information on “A Night for the Museum” please contact Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192 or visit . Reservations not required first come first serve seating.

Don’t miss the next Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum Event on Monday, September 8th, 2008. Christopher’s, located at 615 Main Street in Minden, La. will be the place to have those poodle skirts on and your duck tails slicked back. That’s right, we are going back more than 50 years in time to when rock-n-roll was here to stay and chrome was blinding on your new ‘57 Chevy.
For those who grew up in the 1940s, 50s and early 60s in Minden when you said the words “I’m going to Hunter’s”, everyone knew what you meant. It meant you were going to go swimming, play ball or just hang out with friends at the Playhouse. It was a simple time, it was the best of times, it was the good ole’ days!
Artist Cora Lou Robinson described her teenage years as wonderful in part due to the generosity of the Hunter family. The Hunter family has owned the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Minden since 1901. Back in the 1940s the Hunters became the recreation hub for all of Minden and the surrounding area. Everyone swam in their pool, played in their playground, danced in their playhouse, and watched countless ballgames in their park. No other town has ever seen the likes of the Hunter family in Cora Lou’s eyes. The 1940s, 50s and early 60s were a special time in Minden, Louisiana because of the generosity of Gladys and Larry Hunter. Cora Lou’s love of the special times and memories of the 1950s and Hunter’s Playhouse is depicted in one of her first paintings of a dance at the Playhouse. This painting has recently been recreated in prints and Giclee’ canvas reproductions as a fundraiser for the all new museum located on Pearl Street in Minden.
This trip down memory lane will feature stories from several longtime citizens of the area, songs and dances from this special time in so many privileged people’s lives. This night will be recorded and everyone will be given the opportunity to tell their Hunter’s memory. Museum director; Schelley Brown stated, “Larry and Gladys Hunter devoted their lives to the children of this area and that love for them still shines in so many that it is only fitting that we have this special night of memories. We will not focus so much about what they did because everyone knows they were the reason for it all. This night is more of a tribute to their work by hearing how it changed lives. We will hear stories about what it was like to grow up and be able to enjoy what was offered to Minden’s youngsters.”
For more information on this special evening please contact Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192 or . Don’t forget to visit our museum blog at . If you would like to be placed on our mailing list please give us a call. You don’t want to miss what is happening with the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum. Let’s make history in 2008!