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.”