Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Save the Dairy Barn Fundraiser

It's not post-war and it's not mid-century, but the Dairy Barn on the property of the Central Louisiana State Hospital overlooking Buhlow Lake is certainly worth saving.  If you can attend this event, you are encouraged to register early as seating is limited.  Doors will open at 6 p.m. and beverages and cheese will be served as folks gather.
What – Save the Dairy Barn Fundraiser
When – Tuesday, August 30 at 6:30 p.m.
Where - BrainSurge, 1260-G Texas Avenue, Alexandria 
(between Wildwood Pizza and Sylvan Learning Center)
Registration encouraged – seating is limited - www.brainsurge.biz/register
Cost - $12 (proceeds to Save the Dairy Barn Fund at Central Louisiana Community Foundation)
Dave Curry and Nathan Martin of the Save the Dairy Barn at Buhlow Lake Committee will provide an informative program you don’t want to miss.  Most everyone in CENLA is aware of the old Dairy Barn, an historic icon atop the hill on the property of the Central Louisiana State Hospital overlooking Buhlow Lake in Pineville.  But do you know the history of the barn, its current condition, progress, plans, and challenges to preserve it?  What may be the future of the barn?  Learn some answers and share dreams and ideas of what it could become.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Fred Barksdale Architecture

One of the great local architects, Fred Barksdale, designed two homes in the Post-War Suburbs, the exceptional contemporary house at 2829 Elliott and the quite unusual house at 3016 Elliott, with its great curving wall.

2829 Elliott
3016 Elliott

You may want to be a part of a very special function being sponsored by the Historical Association of Central Louisiana on 4/9/2016 for a one time only tour of the notable home of Harold Poole in Forest Hill. This nationally acclaimed home is the final work of the late Fred Barksdale.  Click here for more information.
For more information

Friday, January 30, 2015

Beyond the Bayou - January 2015

Here’s a little history about the development of the neighborhoods that are included in the Alexandria Post-War Suburbs.  Most of the following has been extracted from the narrative of the registration form resulting in the 2013 listing of the district on the National Register of Historic Places.

As is typical of post-World War II subdivisions, any given house is located roughly in the middle of the lot with a broad expanse of lawn in the front. The large lots with ample front lawns epitomize the escape-from-the-crowded-city concept that was much a part of the suburban rationale. In terms of designed landscape features, there are a notable number of period low planter boxes built of the same brick as the house.

City directories reveal the pace of construction in the district. In the immediate post-war years, twenty-three houses were built. Clearly the period of intense construction was 1951-56, when half of the district's houses were built. Roughly one-fourth were built in the late 1950s/early 60's.

If your home is in the Post-War Suburbs and you have a story to share, please email me at info@midcenturyalex.org 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Beyond the Bayou - December 2014

December is a busy month, but more importantly, it is a special month.  The community and our lives are full of activities.  It is the time of Hanukkah - celebrating the Festival of Lights, and Christmas - celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.  It is a time of sharing, giving, and bringing families and friends together.

Let us enjoy our neighborhoods, let us enjoy those who are in our lives, let us share, let us be thankful.  From our house to yours, may your Hanukkah and Christmas be very special.

Dave and Judy Curry

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Beyond the Bayou - November 2014

As you are headed west on Elliott Street coming out of town and you approach the bayou, you pass a beautiful gingko tree. When the leaves turn yellow around this time of year, it is a sight to see. But did you know that “beyond the bayou” in the Post-War Suburbs, there is another gingko tree? In the Post-War Suburbs, in addition to the mid-century architecture of our ranch style and contemporary homes, we are also blessed with an abundance of trees providing shade and natural beauty to enhance our neighborhoods.

Come on over; take a walk on the wild side and enjoy our neighborhood. Find the gingko tree. Enjoy the many trees. And if you are interested in the architecture of some of our homes, download a walking tour brochure.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Beyond the Bayou - October 2014

In our Post-War Suburbs National Register Historic District we find many homes with interesting architectural elements.  Lacey ornamental iron posts are sometimes found on more traditional looking ranch houses, while more modern-looking ranch houses might feature posts with striking geometrical forms.

On a cool Fall day, take a walk through the district and you will find much beauty in these historic homes.   Download walking tour brochures.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Beyond the Bayou - September 2014

In a historic district are historic homes, many with interesting architectural elements, and some with interesting stories.  The original owner, Dr. Malcolm Denley, still lives in this ranch house at 3015 Stimson Ave.
The National Register listing describes this home which was built in 1955 as “brick veneer ranch house with multiple low hip roofs; overhanging eaves; horizontal pane windows; and a decorative concrete block screen providing privacy for a front courtyard and entrance.”  Dr. Denley indicates that the original carport was enclosed as a rec room.

Dr. Denley’s stories
Malcolm and his late wife, Dee, moved to Alexandria in 1954 when he was 30 years old.  They raised three sons and three daughters in this house which was built in 1955.  He recalls that there were 5 or 6 other houses on the block when his house was built by Lloyd and Leon Desselle whose father bought part of the Petrus Plantation to develop the cotton fields.  Texas Ave. was a gravel road.

There were many children in the neighborhood, and they would be outside playing “kick the can” in the street or in the back yard playing basketball.  People stayed outside socializing in those days; there wasn’t that much TV, and the street was safe for the kids.  A neighbor, Mr. Wertz, would hail down any cars that would speed by.   Neighbors socialized and there were many dinner parties.

The Denleys stayed in this home over the years; one of the big reasons was “location, location, location.”  Being a pediatrician, Dr. Denley was close to both hospitals and his office on Jackson Extension.  For the children, Huddle Elementary School and Alexandria Junior High School were just a block or two away.  When Wayne Denley was in junior high, some of his friends (“Jock” Scott, Brenner Sadler, and Billy May) would ride their bikes  to the Denleys’, park the bikes and then walk to school together.  “They didn’t want the girls to see them on their bikes.  It was an image thing.” relates Dr. Denley.   “We always enjoyed living here.”

Friday, August 15, 2014

Beyond the Bayou - August 2014

In a historic district are historic homes, many with interesting architectural elements, and some with interesting stories.  The attractive ranch style home at 3011 Madonna Drive on the corner of Hunter Street has both.

Description (from the National Register listing)
Built between 1951 and 1956. Brick veneer “rambler” ranch house with multiple low hip roofs and overhanging eaves. Located on a corner lot, the house rambles to the rear at a roughly 45 degree angle from the main block, ending in a carport set at a 90 degree angle. Other features include lacey iron posts at the porch; a three-part picture window; numerous horizontal pane window units, grouped in twos and threes; and what appears to be an original door. The door features various molded vertical panels.
(Note:  The house was significantly damaged by the Christmas Day tornado of 2012.  During the restoration, the carport was replaced by a garage.)

A story about the house
Versions of this story were told to me by both the home owner and a neighbor, each of whom were provided with information by former neighbors.  Considering the sources, I believe the story to be true.
I was told that the house was built for former three time Governor Earl K. Long who lived in it with his wife, Blanche.  He suffered a fatal heart attack in 1960 while in the Baptist Hospital (later Rapides General Hospital) in Alexandria.  Some artifacts from the Governor’s mansion (or some other building) in Baton Rouge were found in the attic after the present owner purchased the house in 1986. There is more to the story than I have shared; let that be “the rest of the story”.