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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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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.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Juanita Agan

Juanita Agan succumbs
Written by Press-Herald Staff
Monday, 13 October 2008
She always had the words.
She always had the smile.
And Minden will always have the memories.
Mrs. Juanita Agan, a fine writer and even finer friend to anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her, passed away Sunday afternoon.
She was 85 years old.
Funeral services are tentatively scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church. Arrangements are being handled by Rose-Neath of Minden.
Agan wrote a weekly column, “Cameos”, which focused on “older times” or “Americana”.
To say she was a big part of the Minden Press-Herald is an understatement.
“Mrs. Agan was one of a kind,” Press-Herald Publisher Josh Beavers said. “We will never be able to replace Mrs. Agan.
We wouldn’t even be able to try. Minden has lost one of its best citizens."
“I cannot express to you how much she will be missed,” he continued.
With her tales of memories past, Mrs. Agan was a popular columnist for the Press-Herald.
“I have always written stories, mostly about our family’s experiences — things that my mother told me and then my own life experiences. I have written volumes of pages about my mother’s family and about her life. This was just for my children and grandchildren,” Mrs. Agan said during a previous interview with the Minden Press-Herald. “Some of my writing was just about my feelings — joy, sorrow, happiness, funny experiences and so on. Only in the last few years have I written about other people and events. I am not a story writer. I am just an old lady with lots of happy memories that I write about.”
Mrs. Agan was born June 28, 1923, in Shreveport to Louannie Longino Murphy, who would have been 40 on her next birthday, and James Allison Murphy, who was in his early 50s.
Mr. Murphy died of a heart attack when Mrs. Agan was just three years old.
“My mother devoted her time to me and told me the stories that her mother had told her of the Civil War and life after the war,” Mrs. Agan said. “My grandmother was 11 when the war was over, and her two brothers that had fought in the war never came home.”
In the early 1930s, Mrs. Agan and her mother moved a lot, going wherever a woman of nearly 50 could find work. In 1936, when Mrs. Agan was almost 13 and her mother was 52, they moved to Minden.
“Many of my mother’s friends were older than she was, and many knew much about the history of this area,” Mrs. Agan said. “We listened as they told us of their forbearers and about many funny incidents in the history of this area.”
Many of those friends were descendants of the original Germans who settled the Germantown area. Mrs. Agan was able to put those accounts into stories.
Mrs. Agan finished high school in 1939 at the age of 15. Due to the generosity of friends, she was able to borrow money from the Women’s Department Club to further her education.
“This was just a continuation of the love that Minden has shown me since I was the little girl of 13,” she said.Mrs. Agan’s interest in history was inherited by her children, Suzanne and John, and shared by her husband J.C.“My mother, who was very intelligent, instilled a love of history in my heart that was also passed on to my son and my daughter,” she said.
As soon as Suzanne was old enough to travel, the family began visiting historical sites in Louisiana, eventually traveling across the South, with trips planned to include historical stops.
When Suzanne was in fifth grade, her teacher, Ruby Salmon, announced that the class was about to begin a new subject — history, promising her students they would love it.
“Mrs. Salmon was a gifted teacher who instilled a love of history in these students, especially in my daughter Suzanne,” Mrs. Agan said. “Suzanne shares our love of history and especially this history of this area.”
Cameos of Minden was published in the Minden Press-Herald on Wednesdays.





FROM 2 p.m. UNTILL 4 p.m.



Friday, June 6, 2008

The Long Awaited Dorcheat Museum is OPENING!

Dorcheat Historical Association Museum Open June 10th, 2008
Dorcheat Historical Association Museum is making history happen in 2008 for not only Minden put for everyone that has an interest in our community known as Minden, Louisiana and Webster Parish. The dream for a state of the art historical museum to collect, preserve, and exhibit the history of our parish is now a reality.
Under the leadership of President Thad Andress the absence of a local museum has finally been remedied. The Association has been doing serious fundraising drives to turn the building on Pearl Street into a museum that will not only preserve our heritage, but also be something the community can be proud of and show-off to all visitors.
This past year has been a busy year for the Dorcheat Museum. This year the museum has spent over $175,000 in building renovation and exhibit design. The facility at 116 Pearl Street not only boasts a new façade and roof, it has undergone a complete renovation in the front area. Much more is still to come with the renovation of the back area to be known as “The Children’s Learning Center”. This area will house a stage with seating for 80 plus people to enjoy talks, films and documentaries. This learning center will be a huge asset to our children in our community. “This museum is not just a few people’s museum it is all of ours and we want everyone in the parish involved and taking part in making it the success that we know it will be! We will always need funding and support from our community. Preserving our history is something I am passionate about. If we don’t’ teach our children where we have been with our parish history we are doing a terrible injustice to future generations!” stated Museum Director, Schelley Brown.
This museum will be financed through pledges, private donations and grants. We project that the operating budget will be in the neighborhood of $60,000 a year. Your partnership is vital during this exciting time in the life of the museum. Your membership is important not only to complete this project but also to maintain the day-to-day operation of the museum.
With a large grant in 2007 from the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau large dioramas were built by local artist Larry Milford depict life from the early Indians along Dorcheat Bayou to present day Webster Parish with the story line researched by local historian John Agan.
The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum is the culmination of a dream that began in the fall of 1974, when, under the leadership of Mrs. Beth Drew White, this organization was formed to preserve the history of Webster Parish. Through the ensuing years the organization suffered many setbacks and trials, but the museum you will see today will represent a triumph over these difficulties.
Perhaps the best glimpse of life in our area comes through the photographs and written records that will be on display. The museum will have photographs of businesses, government buildings, homes and schools from our past. These photographs give a glimpse into life as it once was here in our area. With the help of everyone the museum will constantly be adding objects and modifying our displays for years to come.
The history begins with Dorcheat Bayou, the namesake of the organization and the stream that brought European settlement to our area and today ties our parish together. It will trace the story of local life from those years when European and Native Americans first met, on through the many trials and tribulations, along with the good times that make up local history. As you progress through the museum you will move forward through time and see how communities evolved.
The Dorcheat Historical Association wants to make sure it is clear to everyone that this museum is for “all of us.” It will chronicle as much as possible the entire historic experience of Minden. You will find the story of your heritage there if you are a member of the “first families” living in an antebellum mansion, or you are a descendant of the railroad families who came here in the 1920s. The story will include the record of the African American families and their fight to move from slavery, through the Civil Rights struggles of the 19th and 20th Century. It will include the unique contributions made by local residents in areas such as sports, music, industry and education. In short, for those of you who find Minden and Webster Parish a wonderful place to live, the museum will provide a picture of all those things that make this that place you love.
The contributions made by local residents in areas such as sports, music, industry and education will also be highlighted. The early businesses, churches, schools, and architecture and history of the antebellum homes will be highlighted.
The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum President, Mr. Thad Andress and wife Oneta Andress recently represented our new parish museum at the Louisiana State Capital building in Baton Rouge, during the annual Louisiana Association of Museums Conference which was held this year in the rotunda of the Louisiana State Capital Building. State dignitaries were on hand with a visit by Louisiana Senator Robert Adley, State Representative Jean Doerge and Malcolm G. Myer of the Louisiana Attorney General’s office.
Many visitors were quite impressed with the local museum’s display and what Minden and Webster parish will have to offer with the Tuesday, June 10th opening of the museum located at 116 Pearl Street. For the month of June the admission price will be waived. Normal admission price is $4.00 adults and $2.00 for children under 12. Museum hours will be Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-1 p.m. closed from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. for lunch and opened again from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.; Saturday hours will be 10 a.m. – 12 noon and for special showings and meetings, appointments can be set up in advance by calling 318-377- 3002 or 318-423-0192.
The museum in the past three months has hosted wonderful nights of history for everyone to enjoy, free of charge. Mark you calendars now and keep the second Monday of every month open for “Night for the Museum Historic Events”. Museum coordinators are again expecting a large turnout for the June 9th with “Greatest Generation Member” Mr. George Turner. You may want to bring your lawn chairs again just in case of a shortage of seating! The last three months performances by Mr. Frank Griffith, Marcus Wren and Webster Nation were both held to packed houses. These types of events are something the museum wants to offer on a regular basis as entertainment and a living history lesson. July’s event will feature Dr. Steve Kirkikis and several other families that came to Minden via Ellis Island. This informative night dealing with the immigrant families that had such a huge and important influence on Webster Parish should be another big success.

Be a part of something BIG!
Membership Dues and Contribution Levels for 2008:
· Individual - $20.00
· Family - $40.00
· Sustaining - $75.00
· Patron – $125.00
· Benefactor – $250.00
· Corporate Member - $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
· We also have a stock transfer plan for your contributions; see Thad Andress for details

In return for your support, you will not only receive unlimited admission to the museum, 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 donations for 2008 may be mailed to PO Box 1094, Minden, Louisiana 71058.
For more information on the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum you can call museum director, Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192 or visit

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Look At Minden's International Branches

“Night for the Museum” with a Dr. Steve Kirkikis “A Look at Minden’s International Branches”
The July 14th, 2008 “Night for the Museum” will be a night to remember. Dorcheat Museum’s director; Schelley Brown, announces another special historic venue event. Monday, July 14th, 2008, Dr. Steve Kirkikis one of Minden’s past citizens will be the guest speaker at The Dorcheat Historical Association’s “Night for the Museum”. Don’t miss this exciting and entertaining evening of hearing our parish history as told by a member of one of the many immigrant families that had such a huge and important influence on Webster Parish. This informative night dealing with Webster parish’s families that made it to Minden via Ellis Island is sure to be well received by all those attending. Dr. Kirkikis’s parents were Gust A. Kirkikis, and Malamo Papanastas, of Greek ancestry whom came from Turkey to America and to Minden in the early 1920s following displacement by World War I. They were married in Minden on October 25, 1925. Ms. Brown exclaimed, “Ellis Island is a symbol of America’s immigrant heritage. It is hard to imagine, that in the time between 1892 -1954, nearly twelve million men, women and children landed there in their search of freedom of speech and religion, and for economic opportunity. Imagine arriving on a huge ocean liner and seeing the Statue of Liberty and the New York sky line for the first time! To see Minden and the United States through their eyes will be a different perspective of history for our parish. These families changed our parish and brought a cultural flair to our area that didn’t exist until they arrived. At the end of Dr. Kirkikis’s talk, several other invited guests such as; Tony Elzen and members of the Michael and Mourad families will be asked to come forward and hopefully speak about their families experiences.”
A bronze plaque inside the Statue of Liberty speaks volumes, to those that take time to read its message. It is a strong reminder of how fortunate we as Americans are to live in a free country.
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,With conquering limbs astride from land to land;Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall standA mighty woman with a torch, whose flameIs the imprisoned lightning, and her nameMother of
Exiles. From her beacon-handGlows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes commandThe air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame."Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries sheWith silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"Emma Lazarus, 1883

The new museum members are glad that they are able to capture, this important aspect of our community. These stories need to be recorded and remembered for future generations. Everyone will enjoy hearing the wonderful cultural and inspirational stories that Dr. Kirkikis has to tell; about his life in Minden and his knowledge of the other families from faraway places that came to call Minden their home!
Mark you calendars now and keep the second Monday of every month open for “Night for the Museum Historic Events”. These type events will eventually be held in the museum, when the area to be known as the “Children’s Learning Center” is completed. Museum coordinators are again expecting a large turnout, so you may want to bring your lawn chairs again just in case of a shortage of seating! The last four months performances by Mr. Frank Griffith, Marcus Wren, Webster Nation and George Turner were held to packed houses. These types of events are something the museum wants to offer on a regular basis as entertainment and a living history lesson. July’s event will be held 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. 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 with items from the Ellis Island Museum to be given away to a lucky attendee at the end of the evening!
Museum director Schelley Brown stated, “With the help of Phil Demaline, these speaking engagements are being recorded so that we will have a digital record for the museum of all our local history. Our last three DVD’s featuring Mr. Griffith, Mr. Wren and Mr. Nation are still available for $10. Sound system will again be provided by Durwood Blake allowing everyone the opportunity to not miss a single word. A tour of the museum will be available to everyone following the program. This will give everyone the chance to see the museum just one day before its official opening on June 10th at 10 a.m. “Even though the museum is a long way from completion we are going to open so that people can appreciate what we are doing and where we are going with this project. It is always going to be a work in progress. A museum changes daily as people bring in artifacts and documents. For anyone that has taken a tour they know that this museum is so far beyond what people expect. It is going to be a huge asset to Webster Parish”, stated Ms. Brown.
Don’t miss your chance at hearing some exciting stories of Minden’s past from people that remember many important events and families that changed our community and are forever markers in time for Minden. 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.