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.
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.