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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
Our Museum!

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, 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
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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!