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.
Description
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”.

Friday, June 6, 2014

1st Year Anniversary on National Register

It's been a year since our mid-century modern neighborhood was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Our district was the first mid-century modern district in Louisiana to be listed.  Happy anniversary!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

5/1/14 - Garden District Neighborhood Foundation Meeting - Tonight at the Jewish Temple

Our Post-War Suburbs Historic District is part of the area served by the Garden District Neighborhood Foundation (GDNF).  It was a productive meeting last night, attended by over 50 people.
http://us3.campaign-archive1.com/?u=427c1b86845aaa0c60c5f5e85&id=4634198c44
(Select image for newsletter and agenda)

More info about the GDNF on Facebook. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Historic House Fair on White Street

On a beautiful Spring morning, the Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission sponsored the Historic House Fair in the 1900 block of White Street in the National Register Garden District.  Booths along the street provided information about old homes, preservation, antique wood, historic Bolton High School, several non-profits, researching your old home, open houses, tax credits, and other topics. Hundreds of neighbors attended and enjoyed the festive occasion accompanied by jazz and period music and guided trolley tours of the historic Garden District.

View videos of a trolley tour guided by Jackson Sleet, member of the Historical Association of Central Louisiana: and a quick tour along the block (1:04).
Visit AHPC on Facebook for many photos.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Preservation Resources

The National Park Service provides some excellent and detailed resources for preserving, rehabilitating, and restoring historic buildings.

http://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs.htm
Preservation Briefs provides nearly 50 publications on topics such as roofing, windows, siding, architectural character, painting, exterior additions, and many more.



http://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/tech-notes.htm
Preservation Tech Notes provide practical information on traditional practices and innovative techniques for successfully maintaining and preserving cultural resources.  There are numerous case studies on categories such as doors, windows, masonry, finishes, and more. 



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Preservation continues in Alexandria

Bolton Avenue in Alexandria is being renewed by the city as part of the Special Planned Activities Redevelopment Corridors (SPARC) initiative as highlighted in a recent newspaper article.  Tomorrow, Friday 8/16, at 10 a.m. the city is holding a press conference in front of the Bolton Avenue Community Center.  Be there if you can.
Also, visit the Pill Box Pharmacy at the corner of Park Avenue and Bolton Avenue.  It is in the former Greyhound Terminal which was originally the Park Avenue Branch of the Guaranty Bank.  The building has been restored and was listed in January on the National Register of Historic Places.
 You may read a copy of the nomination to the National Register here.  This building is described as being highly influenced by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Celebration Photos and News

We celebrated in style with a great block party!  So many people from within the district and from the community enjoyed the morning.  We had great tours of the district on the A-Town trolley led by Paul Smith, preservation consultant; approximately 150 people had the opportunity to enjoy the guided tour, seeing the historic houses and learning of the architectural elements of the houses.   Self-guided walking tours were also available.  


Taking It 2 the Street provided outstanding entertainment by highly talented local artists
Young entrepreneurs provided lemonade and popcorn

Photos of the event - album
Article from The Town Talk - .pdf
Mayor Roy kicking off the celebration - video
Michelle Willis - Taking It to the Streets - video
Ashleigh Klein - Taking it to the Streets - video
Mackenzie Lynn - Taking it to the Streets - video

We thank the City of Alexandria, the Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission, Taking It 2 the Street and the talented performers, and all who helped make this celebration an event to remember!  We thank the residents of the historic district for preserving these very special homes.  We thank all who attended the event. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Celebration is History

What a special day it was as we celebrated the historic district.  If you were there, you  were a part of history.  Neighbors throughout the district came together, and we were joined by friends throughout the community and other parts of CENLA.  Thanks to all for being a part of it!  And special thanks to Megan Lord and the Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission for making it happen!

Watch for photos and videos of the celebration.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Post-War Suburbs Celebration presented by the Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission

The celebration will recognize the listing of the Alexandria Post-War Suburbs Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. Residents of the district and the Alexandria community will be celebrating Louisiana’s first mid-century modern National Register historic district.  Be a part of it!

When:            Saturday, 7/13, 10 a.m. to noon
Where:          In the district gathering on Kimball Ave. near the corner of Madonna Dr.
Activities: 
  • Welcome Remarks – The Honorable Jacques Roy, Mayor of the City of Alexandria
  • Guided tours on the trolley bus departing about every 30 minutes (approx. 25 passengers). The route starts on Kimball near Madonna, then west on Madonna, south on Pierson, west on Elliott, north on Maryland, east on Pershing, and south on Kimball.
  • Walking tours available – Self-guided throughout the district; brochures will be available or you may download.  For detailed descriptions of the houses on the tour, view or download here.   Use caution on streets.  Homes are not open; please do not go on properties.
  • Entertainment – Taking It 2 the Street will host a ‘block party’ 
  • News coverage - TV, radio, and newspaper
Coming to the celebration from outside the district?  To avoid congestion, consider parking outside the district as there will be trolley tours and self-guided walking tours within the district.  If driving into the district, consider turning from Texas Ave. on to Stimson Ave.


We expect to have traffic blocked (except to residents) in these areas:
  • on Kimball from the corner of Pershing to around the corner of Madonna and Pierson
  • on Elliott from Pierson to Maryland
View TV coverage from KALB-TV from July 5.
A-Town trolley