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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.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The West Family “Night At The Museum”

The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum will hold its 2nd “Night at the Museum” for the 2012 series of speakers on the second Monday night in March, 2012. Siblings, Mrs. Gloria West Evans and Mr. Claude O. West will speak at the Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum on March, 12th, 2012, about The West Family history, why they came to Minden, growing up in Minden, the days of West Brother’s Department stores and West Gibson's.

Both Evans and West graduated from Minden High School.  Mrs. Evans graduated Louisiana College, did graduate work at Louisiana Tech to earn her certification to teach computer literacy.  Mrs. Evans would later teach at Glenbrook School.  Claude West graduated LSU, worked two summers at New York University School of Business.

Gloria married her high school sweetheart, David Evans, and the couple will celebrate their 50th Anniversary in 2012.  They have lived in Pineville, La., Mobile, Alabama, North Little Rock, Ark., before moving back to Minden in 1966.  Gloria and David have 3 children and 9 grandchildren.

Claude married his high school sweetheart, Leatrice David, and celebrated their 65th anniversary in 2011.  They have lived in Baton Rouge, Springhill, Bastrop, Homer, De Ridder, Louisiana and Stuttgart, Arkansas before moving back to Minden in 1955.  Claude and Leatrice have 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren with two more on the way.  Both families are members of the First Baptist Church Minden.

Don’t miss your chance to hear about one of Minden’s well known families. The museum events will be held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish’s rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday 10 a.m. - noon. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stagecoach Days In Minden

click on pictures to see larger

Dorcheat Historical Association Museum has several new exhibits to highlight the recent work being done in the Military and the Religion section of the museum and a new temporary exhibit showcasing the Chaffe family in Minden during the 1800s.  Museum director, Schelley Francis would like to invite everyone to see the museum and the new exhibits located at 116 Pearl Street.  Admission is free, Tuesday - Saturday.  Francis encourages people to book group tours by calling the museum at 318-377-3002.   “You get so much more out of your museum experience if you plan the guided tour!” stated Francis.  

The following description of the Chaffe family is from the Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana printed in 1890; Christopher Chaffe, proprietor of Minden foundry and livery stable, Minden, La.  Among the enterprising, pushing, thoroughgoing and public spirited citizens of Minden and Webster Par., Louisiana the above mentioned gentleman ranks among the first.  He is a native of England, born in Devonshire County on January 8, 1818, and his parents, John and Johanna (Skelton) Chaffe, were natives of the same country.  

John Chaffe was a blacksmith and farmer, and carried on a prosperous business until his death in 1848.  His widow survived him several years, and died in her native country when eighty-two years of age.  Christopher Chaffe learned the blacksmith's trade with his father, and remained with him until twenty-nine years of age, at which time he started out for himself.  He remained in his native country until 1840, and then immigrated to the States, locating at Minden, La., where he has since resided.  Here he has met with varied success. 

He built a shop and started in business here in 1851, but an enemy burned his shop in the same year.  He soon bought out a foundry, established himself here, and also built a barn in 1854 in order to engage in the livery business.  He has been carrying on a successful business here for years.  In 1880 he met with another loss by fire, his gin house being burned.  In 1887 his residence was burned.  He rebuilt the house the same year, but this too, was destroyed by fire in 1888, together with his livery barn and office.  

At no time has Mr. Chaffe been discouraged, but began anew with renewed energy and determination, being better fixed to-day than at any past time.  He has a large, new, substantial residence, a farm of about 500 acres with 300 acres under cultivation, the gin is kept busy and he is doing a fair livery business.  In 1854 Mr. Chaffe took a mail contract and started a mail line to Monroe from Minden.  In 1856 he also took a mail contract from Shreveport to Vicksburg, and established a daily line.  He had several mail contracts during the war, and is still in the Government service as a mail contractor.  

Mr. Chaffe was married in England on May 29, 1848, to Miss Jane Farley, a most estimable lady, who died here in 1867.  She was his devoted wife and helpmate for nineteen years, and was a faithful and consistent member of the Episcopal Church.  To his marriage were born six children, viz.: Charles (married, resided in Texas), Arthur (married and resides in Minden), Clarence, Jeanette, Lizzie and Trebly.  Mr. Chaffe and family are members of the Episcopal Church. 

To learn more about the museum you can visit the web site at  or find Dorcheat Museum on Facebook. The museum is the perfect place to learn a little about Webster Parish.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

“WWII War Stories” with Jack Holman

“WWII War Stories”

The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum held its 1st “Night At The Museum” for the 2012 series of speakers on Monday night, February 13th, 2012.  The event highlighted the WWII memories of Mr. Jack Holman.  The evening began with opening comments and welcome by museum director Schelley Brown Francis.  Dorcheat Museum Association President, Mr. Thad Andress then introduced the guest speaker. 

Holman told of his journey from the halls of his college days at Ole’ Miss to going into the Navy soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Hobson Holman attained the non-commissioned rank of Fire Controlman Second Class Petty Officer onboard the destroyer USS HOBSON, the lead ship for the Utah Beachhead at Normandy on D-Day. HOBSON took Holman to Utah Beach in Normandy on D-Day, southern France for the invasion, the sinking of U- 571 and to Okinawa, Japan in the Pacific Theatre where his ship was under daily Kamikaze attacks. Holman’s vivid memories mixed with a little humor made the night special to everyone in attendance.  Holman has also written several books about WWII that anyone interested in the subject would enjoy.   

Even with the cold and rainy weather, the museum was standing room only with a little over 100 people attending the evening.  “I am so glad I was able to attend tonight.” commented one of the guests who had never been to a museum event. 

The museum is open free of charge Tuesday-Saturday.  The next museum event will be held Monday, March 12th,  with Gloria West Evans and Claude O. West as guest speakers.  The Nights At The Museum events are something that anyone interested in history and the Minden area will not want to miss.

If you would like to hear the story as told by Mr. Holman or any of the other speakers you can contact the museum for your copy of the DVD for $10 each.  For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit .  You can also find the museum on Facebook.