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116 Pearl Street Then

116 Pearl Street Then
1920's Photo of Pearl Street

116 Pearl Street Today

116 Pearl Street Today
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Welcome To The Minden, Louisiana's Dorcheat Museum Blog

Thank you for visiting the Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum Blog. The Dorcheat Historical Museum is the only museum inside the city limits of Minden, Louisiana. The museum opened June 10th, 2008. Admission Free with donations welcomed. Our hours are, Tuesday - Friday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., closed for lunch from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m., open again from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday we are closed but open by appointment for special showings and meetings. We would like to invite you to visit our location at 116 Pearl Street in Minden, Louisiana. We look forward to sharing our history with you. For more information please contact museum director Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or 318-423-0192.

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The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, Inc.

This Minden, Louisiana Webster Parish Muesum is Funded in part by a grant from the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission.

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Help Us Keep History Alive In Webster Parish

In return for your support, you will receive not only a tax deduction, but also, invitations to all museum activities. Please give every consideration to helping with this endeavor. Be a part of Webster Parish history by becoming a proud supporter of the Webster Parish Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum.

All contributions may be mailed to:

Dorcheat Historical Association Museum
PO Box 1094

Minden, Louisiana 71058.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spend your summer as a History Pioneer

Be a History Pioneer at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum. The Webster parish museum located at 116 Pearl Street is offering free summer admission to everyone, beginning with the end of the school year. Tuesday – Friday special 30 minute to 1 hour tours will be offered for young and old. Each child will receive a special museum activity book when they visit plus everyone will learn a little Webster parish history. Schelley Brown commented, “I hope that all parents and grandparents will take advantage of our free admission programs this summer. With the high cost of summer activities for children we wanted to be the place you can come to for an hour or so without having to spend a dime. We want to be able to fill a void for our visitors and children on summer vacation in our area. I have several types of tours for all ages plus I plan on having antique cars and tractors on display throughout the summer in front of the museum. We hope to have our theater room finished before summer is over which will be a great bonus for everyone. The museum is a fun place to visit and I know that everyone will enjoy the history activity book that they will receive at the end of their tour.” For group tours it is suggested to call ahead. For more information call the museum at 377-3002 or visit .

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sometimes History Happens Right In Front Of You

Elshout and VandenOord Story
Click on album above to see all the pictures
A story right out of “A Band Of Brothers”
The Elshout and VandenOord Story

Sometimes you not only get to hear history but you get to witness it. So was the case at the May 10th, 2010, “Night For The Museum”. The remarkable story of WWII bravery in war torn Holland was told by Michael Elshout and Marcel VandenOord. A moving introduction these young men, by Cora Lou Robinson, set the tone for the evening.
First to speak was Michael Elshout, grandson of Leo Elshout. Michael started his talk with the phrase, “I once knew a man…” He spoke of his grandfather Leo’s bravery, courage, and dedication to his family and his country of Holland and his love for America. Leo Elshout and his relatives were heroes to nearly 50 allied soldiers during “Operation Market Garden” in September 1944. Hiding glider pilots from German soldiers for almost 2 months, this family risked their lives to save others from almost certain death.
Operation Market Garden was the code name of an operation planned by the allied forces to take control of three strategic bridges in Holland. The allied forces of Britain, the United States, and Poland sent gliders and paratroopers into the countryside of Holland, which was heavily occupied by German forces. September of 1944 would change many lives forever. Two soldiers, Tinsley Connell from Minden and Leo Elshout from Holland, crossed paths that September. This day would begin a journey that would become a life-altering event for both. Connell would later sponsor Elshout so that he could come to Minden.
One particular part of the story dealt with the 101st Airborne Division. The American soldiers were cautious and not as trusting as the British soldiers that had landed the day before. When Leo and his cousin, David arrived at the site of the glider landing, Leo showed the American soldiers the note that the British soldiers had written, saying that Leo was to be trusted to help. The American commander was Russell Vaught. Vaught at one point during the rescue held a gun to Elshout’s back and told him that if anything went wrong, he would kill him first. Fortunately for the soldiers and Elshout, all arrived safely to their hiding place.
For Elshout’s acts of bravery he received a Presidential Citation signed by then General Dwight D. Eishenhower and was presented with the King’s Medal for Courage by the British Counsel in New Orleans.
Next to speak was Marcel VandenOord cousin to the Elshout family. Marcel’s father was also a key participant in underground operations during WWII Holland. Marcel told of the hardships his parents endured in their native country before arriving in Minden. He also told of his mother’s arrival in New York and that she was quite surprised when she was told that she had not reached her final destination of Minden yet!
Schelley Brown commented, “The event that topped the evening was in the final minutes when all the members of the family were asked to take the stage for questions. It was during this time that funny events and stories were shared by members of the audience. It was then that two strangers, a man and a younger woman sitting on the front row stood up. As the gentleman choked back tears the room fell silent. He introduced himself as ‘My name is Joe Vaught and it was my father that held the gun to Leo’s back. I have been searching for this family for many years. Leo Elshout saved my father’s life.’ You could have heard a pin drop as the tears began to flow from everyone’s eyes. The young woman stood up and introduced herself as Kristi Vaught.”
This father, daughter team had come a long way to tell their part of this story. Kristi had flown in from Honolulu, Hawaii to ride from Houston, Texas with her father. Kristi had found the story on the museum web site several months ago. Brown said, “She had contacted me but never really said why she was interested in the story. We were all shocked to have this part of history played out right before us all at Christopher’s. The Elshout and VandenOord families were equally as surprised and pleased. Kristi also supplied all of us a diary that was written during this time by a possible Elshout relative. She has been doing research on this for 13 years or so. I think Joe and Kristi will be back soon. They were so taken with our town and our people that I feel sure they will be visiting us again.”
The May event was the last in the 2010 series of speakers before the summer break. The “History Pioneer Program” has now started at the Dorcheat Museum. Free admission to the museum all summer long. Special tours will be given Tuesday – Friday and by appointment. All children will receive a special history coloring book with their visit to the museum. Museum board members hope everyone will take advantage of the free summer programs. For more information contact Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Cruisin For A Cure Wheels Through Time Show & Shine 2010
Click on Album above for pics

Weatherman Reports Of Hail, Tornados and Rain Hampers 2010 Show

The “2010 Cruisin’ For A Cure Wheels Through Time Show and Shine” once again is hampered by weather. Schelley Brown show promoter stated, “We had great pre-registration of 79 vehicles. That is usually 1/3 or sometimes ¼ of the number that will actually show up for a show. I knew from the week long weather reports that we may have some problems. People started calling from Mississippi, northern Arkansas and south Louisiana on Tuesday and Wednesday about the weather and if we were going to postpone. You just can’t postpone this type of event because you have no way to contact folks after you do so much wide spread advertising. With the threat of hail and tornados you are going to lose a lot of folks. We ended up with 116 registered by the end of the day. People just can’t take the chance of coming out with these types of vehicles. They have too much money invested to risk any damage. Many still came to the show they just came in the everyday cars. We did still have one group of motorcyclist come from north Arkansas. They ended up trailering the bikes and unloading at the Holiday Inn to attend for the first time.”
The weather turned out fine with the exception of a little rain around 8 a.m. other than that the overcast day was fine for show goers. The silent auction was a big success and the R & V Works fish cooker raffle went over big this year. With the help of show volunteers over 1000 $1 tickets for the cooker were sold and over $3,000 was made with the silent auction. Total numbers are not in for the show with outstanding bills still to be paid but Brown reported that even with the weather issue they could still end up with around $7-8,000 to split.
David Barnhill was the lucky winner of the $500 vehicle prize money. David graciously turned around and presented $300 to Terry Gray the grandfather of Brock Haines Cassell a recent St. Jude patient. The Ark-La-Tex Antique and Classic Car Association was the $200 club winner for the most pre-registered cars with a total of 8 cars registered before the April deadline. Margaret Evan was the winner of the fish cooker. Margaret graciously donated the cooker to the Dorcheat Historical Association to use in an upcoming September event.
“I have so many people to thank this year. I could not have done this years show without all my corporate and individual sponsors and the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau. Without our money sponsors we could not even start to do a show. Besides sponsors I also have to thank the Hunters and Coca-Cola of Minden for their continued support from the very beginning in 2004, Durwood Blake and Billy Reeves help with sound equipment, Ronnie Sale for his help with the stage and electrical, the members of the Dorcheat Bottom Band with guest Aubrie Stahl and Hunt Powell these folks rocked the fairgrounds, Mike Spillers aka “Elvis” the King of Rock n Roll in Minden, the city of Minden employees, Larry Tims of Fairway Carts, Jimmy Hall and his crew from Party Express Catering with their great food, Wayne Hatfield of Hatfield Ice in Homer, members of the Ark-La-Tex Antique and Classic Car Association, members of the Dorcheat Historical Association museum for all of their volunteer help at various task and stations during the day, my good friends Debbie & Barry Warner and Pam Holley for their help with registration since 2004, Joe Morgan for his expertise in fish cooker raffle ticket sales, Mitzi and Mike Madden for all that they do in so many ways, Danny Francis for his constant help and support, John and Melinda Parnell, Eddie and Katie Sangid, Shawn Lewis, Lynn Dorsey, Lou and Terry Snook for lots and lots of extra hard working hours before, during and after the show. All of these people and many more are what make this show work and run smoothly. Without them I would never attempt to do this.”