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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.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

March 9, 2009 "Night For The Museum With Mr. Don Hinton"

Click on photos to enlarge

1950s Photo of Don Hinton and his Dairy Barn

Click to enlarge photos

Monday, March 9th, 2009, the third in the 2009 “Night for the Museum” series will be a night you don’t want to miss. Mr. Don Hinton longtime businessman and dairyman will be the guest speaker. “I know that Mr. Hinton is as excited about speaking as we are at having him, for this special night of history.” stated Dorcheat Museum Director; Schelley Brown.
Born south of Ruston in 1912, ninety-six year old, Mr. Don Hinton first came to Minden in 1935. During this time he worked for the Soil Conservation Service dealing with erosion and flooding problems in our area. In the late 30s Mr. Hinton went into the Dairy business renting Ferndale Farm Dairy until he was able to purchase it ten years later. He would be influential in the local dairy business until the early 1980s. Mr. Hinton has lead a busy life being involved in many aspects of Minden and Webster Parish history. He is very active in the First Methodist Church of Minden, was past president of the Webster Parish Fair Association, longtime member of the Chamber of Commerce and is still one of the regular attending Minden Lions Club members. Don’t miss you chance to hear how our town unfolded and became what it is today from a very active and longtime citizen.
“Night for the Museum with Mr. Don Hinton” will be held at Christopher’s located at 615 Main Street in Minden, Louisiana. Doors open at 5:30 P.M. with refreshments served from 6 P.M.-6:30 P.M. program will begin promptly at 6:30 P.M. with museum tour following the end of the evening. These events have brought in 200 plus attendees on a regular basis so arrive early for good seating or bringing your own lawn chairs are recommended. For more information about this special evening or the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, Inc. Contact Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192 or visit the Dorcheat Museum located at 116 Pearl Street. Make sure to visit the web site for all updates and current events at

Another successful “Night for the Museum”
The place to be was Christopher’s on Main Street was held on Monday March 9th, 2009.
Mr. Don Hinton, longtime business man and Webster Parish citizens kept the packed house of over 200 entertained and informed about the way things were in and around our area back in the 1930, 40’s and 50’s. Mr. Hinton’s event was expected to draw a large crowd. People began arriving as soon as the doors opened at 5:30.
Museum director Schelley Brown stated, “Every month you wonder how much bigger can our crowds get and every month they grow. The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum board is thrilled with the turnout every month. We are making great strides in saving and preserving our history with these monthly speakers. The museum is always changing and we are going to be a work in progress for a longtime. We encourage everyone to come to the events put on by the museum. The museum needs your support and this is something that the people of our area can be proud of. We also need your support in items, artifacts and old photos that people may have tucked away in an attic or trunk.”
The next speakers on schedule are “Chief” T.C. Bloxom, Jr. Monday, April 13th, 2009 followed by Mr. Richard Noles in May. We know that both of these will be standing room only so we encourage everyone to get to Christopher’s early. Doors open at 5:30. Speakers begin at 6:30. Lawn chairs are welcome.
For more information on the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, Inc you can call Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192 or visit the museum web site at

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rick Rowe and KTBS 3

It's a new year and time for our first Community Caravan of 2009. You may not realize it, but Webster Parish is a place with a lot of history. Rick Rowe's hanging out in a log cabin, but he's not in the wilderness! He's checking out a new museum in Minden, Louisiana. Click here to see the coverage of the Dorcheat Museum and Bayou Dorcheat.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

February 9th, 2009 "Night For The Museum" with Dr. Roy G. Phillips PhD.

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.

Click On Pictures To Enlarge Them
In Celebration of Black History Month the February “Night for the Museum” features local author and researcher Dr. Roy G. Phillips, PhD.
Monday, February 9th, 2009 will be the 2nd in the 2009 series of museum speakers. Held monthly at Christopher’s located at 615 Main Street in Downtown Minden, Louisiana. Doors open at 5:30 with speakers starting at 6:30. Admission is free of charge but donations are welcome. Get there early to get a good seat!
Don’t miss this exciting evening dealing with subjects from over 200 years ago through today. Hear about the struggles of one family from Africa through Slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow Segregation, World Wars, the Great Migration of black families out of the South and the tumultuous civil rights era of the 1960s, and beyond. Hear Dr. Roy G. Phillips tell of his travels to Africa and his exciting research on his own family. Hear how Dr. Phillips underwent DNA testing to find out what tribe his family came from. Find out about his remarkable close contact of the descendants of the plantation owners that had once owned his great grandfather and other relatives in the Shreveport and East Texas area. See a slideshow presentation of family and historical photos from the years of research done to complete his book “Exodus from the Door of No Return.”
This year marks a milestone year for African American citizens young and old, with the newly elected first black president in the United States. The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum is currently working on the Black History of Webster parish. The museum were recently awarded an Outreach Grant from Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities for up to $2,500 for research being done by help of Dr. Roy G. Phillips, PhD and Mr. James H. Smith entitled “The History of the African American in Webster Parish”.
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.
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. Museum designer, Larry Milford will design exhibits based on their research.
Thad Andress; Dorcheat Historical Association President said, "Having read Dr. Phillips book, which includes Mr. Phillips personal history, I have complete confidence this research is in good hands."
Phillips and Smith are beginning research for the African-American exhibits at the Dorcheat Museum. They are 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.
For more information about this and other museum functions visit the museum at 116 Pearl Street, contact Schelley Brown at 318-377-3002 or visit the museum site at .

Click on above album to see the museum event photos.
Understanding Slavery an Important Lesson to Learn
The 2nd in the 2009 series of “The Night for the Museum” was another big success. Schelley Brown; Dorcheat Museum Director commented, “This event in celebration of Black History month was a true learning experience for everyone that attended. Dr. Roy Phillips spoke about his research of his family, slavery and his roots back to Africa. Dr. Phillips became involved in his family research after speaking to Alex Haley of Roots fame many years ago and was later able to write his own family history in his book that will be available soon at the museum. I think everyone in attendance learned a lot about the origins of slavery and its effects.” Brown also commented that, “Both Dr. Phillips and Mr. James Smith have been a real asset to the museum, with their work on the Black History of Webster Parish. We are so lucky to have them doing this work for us. I am so pleased with the response from the community that the monthly events are creating. When history excites people that has a positive effect on what we are tying to do with the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum.”
One surprise for the evening was a $5,000 check that was presented to museum association President; Mr. Thad Andress from Cultural Crossroads President; Julie Vogel. Julie spoke of the importance in the community to support art and history projects. The evening was successful with donations from others at the end of the evening in support of preserving our parish history.
A tour of the museum was followed, with a look at the work being done on the Slavery and Reconstruction exhibit. This work is being done by local artist Larry Milford. Milford’s touch is seen throughout the museum with the layout and wonderful murals that are part of the overall look of the museum. The museum has 10 speakers scheduled for the 2009 series with Mr. Don Hinton in March, Mr. T.C. Bloxom Jr. in April and Richard Noles to speak in May. You will not want to miss these next three speakers. The events are held at 6:00 P.M. on the 2nd Monday of the month, at Christopher’s located on Main Street in Minden. If you haven’t been to 116 Pearl Street to see what Minden has to offer you need to make a point of dropping by and spending some time. Help the museum preserve our history for our future. For more information contact Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192 or go to the museum site at

John Stillmon Willis, Jr. Draws One Of The Biggest Crowds Yet

Mr. John Stillmon Willis, Jr.

Click on album above to see all pictures.
Monday January 12th, 2009, was the evening for one of the biggest crowds yet for a “Night for the Museum.” They came to hear Mr. John S. Willis the first guest speaker for the 2009 museum season. Museum Director; Schelley Brown stated, “I knew Mr. Willis was going to draw a large crowd from the amount of calls we begin receiving early last week. You could have heard a pin drop as Mr. Willis told of his many missions in such detail with twist of humor and through a few tears shared by the crowd. It is amazing to see someone with that kind of memory for detail share those moments in their life. I am so pleased with the response to these historic events. We had a crowd tonight of over 200, we had to go next door to get more chairs! People waited in line to get a chance to talk to Mr. Willis and thank him for what he did in WWII. It was a very moving night for everyone.”
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. Mr. Willis spoke of his amazing experiences. 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 35 missions. Mr. Willis even had a humorous encounter with the famous Lieutenant Colonel James “Jimmy Doolittle (Doolittle’s Raiders) that resulted in a surprise brand new B-17 for Mr. Willis. 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.
Black History Month will bring a very special “Night for the Museum”. In February we have a very special speaker on schedule Mr. Roy G. Phillips will be sharing his research of his family roots all the way back to Africa. This is an extraordinary journey that you don’t want to miss with more information to follow soon.
Many 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. DVDs are available for all of the museum speakers. The 2008 collection is now on sale for $75 for 9 speakers. Mr. Willis’s DVD will be available by the end of the week for $10 each. Contact the museum at 377-3002 for information. For more information on the museum you can visit the web site at or call Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Dorcheat Historical Museum

Written by John Agan
Friday, 02 January 2009
Published in the Minden Press Herald
The past year was bittersweet for me in many ways; however, the highlight of the year was the opening of the Dorcheat Historical Museum. In the past I have written about the struggles that were endured over more than a half-century to bring this museum into existence.
This week’s Echo of Our Past will be more an Echo of Our Present and Our Future.

Although they didn’t know it, I am turning this space over to a couple of guest columnists this week – President Thad Andress and Executive Director Schelley Brown of the Dorcheat Museum.
Recently a newsletter was begun for members of the Association and it the first edition much of the story of the great things that took place this year was related.
So, today I am going to reprint some of the things from that newsletter, so that those of you who haven’t yet had the chance to participate in our museum will be brought up to date. My hope is that by the time the next quarterly newsletter is released, you will be a member and be able to read the news first hand.
To give credit in advance, most of what you read was written by Schelley Brown, as she composes the newsletter among the myriad of duties she has at the museum. I will also be including Thad’s President’s message from the issue.
The lead story of the newsletter is titled: “Museum Open For Business. The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum opened the doors officially on June 10, 2008. This was after a year-long construction and work phase that is still not complete. We now have the much-needed roof. Our volunteers and workers have been busy and have much more to do in the coming months and years.”
“Our first portion of the museum is nearly complete with minor tweaks along the way to take place. We still need items for the O’Bier Cabin exhibit. We need Civil War and Reconstruction items donated. Our Black History exhibit is in the works with the help of Dr. Roy Phillips and Mr. James Smith. Every day people come in with new items to add to our museum’s collection. This is how museums start, slow and steady. We are on the way!Never Completely Finished
“Soon we will begin working on our Children’s Learning Center. This room will have a seating capacity of over 100. A stage area and large screen monitor will be installed as well as a sound system. This area will have exhibits along the walls to enhance the museum experience for our visitors.
“A museum is never a completely finished project. New items are continuously found and donated. New Ideas always pop up to make things better. Please help us and take part. Remember, this is your museum, too!”In her Director’s Message, Schelley wrote the following:
“It has been a challenging, but very rewarding year at the museum. Thanks to our remarkable exhibit designer, Larry Milford, our museum is something we should all take great pride in. With the help of Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau grant money we have made great progress in 2007 & 2008, and are looking forward to 2009 and all that it holds.
“Our monthly ‘Night for the Museum’ events at Christopher’s on Main Street are a huge success. Held the second Monday of every month except December, these have turned into a historic social gathering. These nights have brought people from all over the area and all walks of life to share their history and memories with us.
“One thing I think more people need to be aware of as we go forward is that amount of money this all costs. Without the help of a few very generous people, we would not be where we are today. My fear is, what happens these few can’t give anymore? It is up to all of us to join in this effort of financial support. It is so important that you support the museum in any way that you can. Financially as well as with volunteer hours are important and the lifeblood of a museum. Members are our most important and most treasured assets.
“Cora Lou Robinson is helping the museum with postcard invitations to our local schools. This important program will encourage our teachers to bring their students to the museum. We are very hopeful that this will take off in a big way all over the parish.
“Take time out and visit the museum or, better yet, plan your next meeting here. Let’s make history together in 2009.”President’s Message
This was Thad’s President’s Message:
“It’s been a great year for the museum. It’s truly wonderful that excitement that has been created in Minden. Can you imagine all those people talking about history? It wasn’t long ago that we were saying we had not history or at least not much. Then John Agan came along and let us know that we were almost the historical center of the world!”
“A new museum was a project waiting to happen. Several of us decided now was the time to do it and together, with a number of others, put up the money to begin the project. The opportunity to hire someone as talented as Larry Milford was a real Godsend. We hope you like what Larry has done. The exhibits are definitely his creations. We have a long way to go, but it will be done ‘right’.
“Our second Godsend was Schelley Brown. She is a workaholic with a new idea a day about how to raise money to support the museum. There are a lot of people with ideas for what other people should do. Schelley means to do them all herself.
“Our volunteer supporters are growing all the time. The same is true of those making donations to the museum. It takes a lot of money to keep going, around $60,000 a year. That doesn’t include new exhibits and renovations of our unfinished areas. We believe we are spending our donor’s money wisely. We hope that more will contribute and those that have will make additional and larger gifts.”An Asset
So now, you have had a little peak at what is going on at the museum. In case you didn’t know we are located at 116 Pearl Street in Downtown Minden, about one half block east of the Post Office, or, if you’ve been here a while, the old Major’s Office Supply building. Drop by and give the museum a look. We are open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Saturday hours are from 10:00 a.m. until 12 Noon. Special tours can be arranged by calling the museum a 377-3002. I hope many of you will be calling that number to volunteer, or to provide those precious artifacts of local history we need to tell the story of our parish.I’m going to conclude this article with a long list, like the “begats” in the Bible. You know those lists in the Bible are lineages that help explain what made an individual or a people special Well, what follows in the “begat” list for the museum. These are those who have been listed as benefactors to the museum from 2006, through the end of October 2008. These good people have either helped financially or through donations of time and work. Now, if you’re name is missing, and you have given, chalk it up to me turning 50 this year and growing blind and forgetful. However, if your name is missing because you haven’t given, wont’ you consider joining these good folks in helping tell our story at the Dorcheat Historical Museum:Notes of ThanksWebster Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau, Mr. & Mrs. Thad Andress, Mr. & Mrs. Miller Andress, Coca Cola Bottling Company of Minden, Ann Mays Harlan, Mrs. Pat Stephens, Mr. & Mrs. Marcus Wren, Dr. Richard Campbell, City of Minden and Mayor Bill Robertson, Mr. & Mrs. Duane Cloud, Mr. & Mrs. Rick Cloud, Webster Parish Police Jury, Minden Main Street, Larry Milford, Claire Drake Moore, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Odom, Mrs. Cora Lou Robinson, Ronnie Sale, Mr. & Mrs. C. O. West, Joan Andress Williamson, Woodard Walker, LLC, John Agan, Dr. & Mrs. Richard Baker, Durwood Blake, Mr. & Mrs. D. B. H. Chaffe III, Phil Demaline, Mr. & Mrs. Ed LaBruyere, Charlotte Martin, Minden Historical Residential District Association, Ty Pendergrass, Linda Pound, Benton & Brown, The Rev. & Mrs. William R. Bryant, Mr. & Mrs. James Bryant, Judge John C. Campbell, Mr. & Mrs. Jack Carroll, Mr. & Mrs. Bobby Evans, Virginia Fox, George French, Mr. & Mrs. Robert Gorman, Frank Griffith, Mr. & Mrs. Jud Hale, Dr. & Mrs. Carl Hines, Mr. & Mrs. Ben Hunter, Mr. & Mrs. John Irving, Mr. & Mrs. Loye Jones, Mrs. Allyson Hancock Kinzel, Bob & Earlene Lyle, Mr. & Mrs. James Madden, Mr. & Mrs. Rodney Mason, Mr. & Mrs. Harry McInnis, Mike Merritt Timberland Services, Dr. & Mrs. Carter Norman, Mr. & Mrs. Glen Pittman, Mr. & Mrs. Homer Purtle, Regions Bank, Mr. & Mrs. Henry Bridges, Waynette Sharon, Mr. & Mrs. Terry Snook, Woodard Investments, Sallie H. Anderton, Gerard & Cheryl Benit, Mr. & Mrs. Fred Berry, State Representative Jean Doerge, Fiberbond Corporation, R. O. Machen, Gibsland Bank and Trust, Jean Mendenhall, Jeannine & Dr. Mark Miller, Mr. & Mrs. Bobby Mourad, Mr. & Mrs. Carleton Prothro, Mr. & Mrs. Lonnie Simpson, Fant & Collier Smith, Dr. & Mrs. Webb Stewart, Mrs. Barbara Stewart-Shaffer, Mr. Andrew Walker, Wal-Mart, Dr. & Mrs. G. W. Willis, Mr. & Mrs. T. C. Bloxom, Jr., Dr. & Mrs. Ed Brown, Dr. & Mrs. Fred Cabaniss, Mr. & Mrs. Billy Chanler, Mr. & Mrs. Bruce Corley, Judge and Mrs. Harmon Drew, Jr., Harry Edwards, Mr. & Mrs. Larry Elkins, Marcia Gater, Mr. & Mrs. Larry Hock, Marilyn & Lea Miller, George Rolfe, Mr. & Mrs. Lynn Sinclair, Ronnie Veitch, Robert White and Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Woodard.
John Agan is a local historian, an Instructor at Bossier Parish Community College, and a published author. His column appears Fridays in the Minden Press-Herald.