Friday, January 30, 2009
City Of Abbeville
Abbeville Louisiana is located in the South Western part of the state. It is center of government for the Parish of Vermilion. Founded in 1850 we have a proud Cajun heritage of living close to our coastal environement. It's an area where family, faith, and friends are priority.
C.S. Steen Syrup Mill Complex, 105-119 N. Main St.
The C.S. Steen Syrup Mill Complex consists of the Old Abbeville Waterworks Building, an office building, a processing plant, and three distinctive holding tanks.
The Old Abbeville Waterworks Building is a circa 1906 building that was remodeled by the city in 1922. All that remains of the original building's character are the round arch windows. The building housed the City of Abbeville Waterworks until the mid 1950's. It was acquired in 1975 by C.S. Steen's Syrup Mill and was renovated to house the Syrup Mill's packing plant. Packing operations in the building began in 1982.
The three large holding tanks, which are used to store Steen's Cane Syrup prior to the packaging process, have been there for ten years. In 1996 the tanks received their trademark appearance. When full the tanks hold a collective total of 16,000 gallons.
The Mill's main office is a one-story brick building which was built in 1956. The mill has operated since 1910 and is one of the largest open kettle syrup mills in the nation. All phases of the syrup making process- grinding, cooking, packaging- were performed at the mill complex, located behind the office building, until 1998. At that time, the grinding process was discontinued leaving the cooking and packaging processes on site.
Residence, 307 N. Main St.
This is a large, rambling circa 1890 Queen Anne Revival cottage with imbricated shingled gables, Eastlake brackets under the gables, and oversized dormers. The porch with its arbor is a circa 1920 addition.
Abbeville Meridional Newspaper, 318 N. Main St.
This location is the last of many from which The Meridional-a newpaper-has been published.
Valcourt Veazey, who came to Abbeville in 1843 with Father Megret, pubished Abbeville's first newspaper, The Independent, in 1852. In 1856 he sold the newspaper to Judge Eugene Isadore Guegnon, who changed the name of the paper to Le Meridional and published the first issue under the new name in December of that year. According to an article published in a December 1983 anniversary issue of The Meridional, "Judge Guegnon expressed himself freely in the columns of his paper, and , as a result, was challenged to several pistol duels, in two of which he was wounded".
The Meridional, one of the state's oldest newspaper, began in 1856 as a four-page handset periodical and was published in both French and English until the late 1800's. Over the years it progressed to a semi-weekly and then to a daily.
ABBEVILLE WALKING TOUR
Abbeville boasts 119 properties within its twenty block Commercial Historic District. Of these, 75 contribute to the district's historic classification. Abbeville's 2 block Residential Historic District contains 19 properties, 16 of which are contributing elements. No matter which walking tour you choose to take through Abbeville's Historic Districts, the architecture and design of our historic area will capture your heart.
Walking Tour 1-You will begin your tour in Abbeville's central park square and proceed west down Pere Megret St.
1. Magdalen Square
Abbeville's central town square, know to all as simply "The Square", is the focal point of Abbeville's downtown district. The appearance of the square you see today has changed over the years; however, its primary purpose as a gathering place for community events remains unchanged.
Through the years it has served as a grazing pasture, a venue for street fairs, band concerts, and medicine shows. At one time it was the site of one of the town's water wells that supplied water for fighting fires.
As the gazebo indicates, The Square is still used for community events including fairs, concerts, and the occasional wedding ceremony.
The brick wall, which surrounds The Square, was designed by renowned Louisiana architect A. Hays Town and constructed through the efforts of the Abbeville chapter of Kiwanis International. The water fountain was constructed in 1974. The Italian carved memorial statue of Father Megret was purchased in 1976 and placed facing the water fountain as a symbol of his arrival here by water. Local contributors paid for its design and purchase.
The three live oak trees, which dominate the south side of The Square, are registered with the National Live Oak Society.
Walking Tour 2-You are now on S. Main St., formerly known as Quai des Francais.
2. St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church Rectory, 300 Pere Megret St.
The rectory, a National Register property, was built in 1921 at a cost of $15,000. It features a two-tier porch that extends across the front and down one side of the building. In 1967 the rectory underwent renovation which closed in the balconies. In 1987 the walls enclosing the balconies were removed and the building was restored to its original state.
Walking Tour 3-You are on S. Washington St., formerly known as Rue de Bas de Ville. Proceed north to continue the tour.
3. St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church, 300 Pere Megret St.
The church, also a National Register property, was built in 1911. The large brick church with Romanesque Revival details and soaring spire is the most commanding presence in the downtown district and is the last of six churches which have stood on this site. It is one of many of Abbeville's landmark structures that were designed by George Honold, a resigent of Abbeville and well-know area architect.
The first building to serve as the church was the renovated home of Joseph LeBlanc, the person from whom the property for the establishment of Abbeville was purchased. As the congregation grew, existing church buildings were replaced with larger structures. In 1848 a building was erected to replace the LeBlanc home. In 1855 a thrid church was built. This structure was destoryed in 1856 by a hurricane. It was replaced with St. Mary Magdalen number four. In 1884 a fifth church was erected and utilized until it was gutted by fire in 1907.
It was replaced by the present church, which, despite its incomplete interior, was put into service in 1911. The interior was completed in 1918. The church was renovated in 1960. In 1981 fire once again swept through the church. The original outer wall held, but the sacristy was destroyed and the interior badly smoke- damaged. An extensive restoration and renovation was undertaken and completed in time for Easter, 1982.
The church cornerstone (white marble tablet near the front left side door) lists the name of the church as St. Anne's. The pastor at the time of the new church construction wanted to change the name of the church, and it was indeed known as St. Anne's from 1911 until 1918. However, the Bishop denied permission for a permanent name change and the name that had been given to the church sixty-six years earlier was restored.
The church tower houses six bells which bear names chosen by their donors. The church interior features:
A pipe organ of classic German design constructed in 1972 by Otto Hoffman of Texas.
Ten amber-hued stained glass windows of American design and manufacture(five on each side)Stained glass transept windows, also of American design and manufacture, depicting the birth of Christ and His ascension into heaven (one on each side).
Walking Tour 4-You are at the coner of S. Magdalen Sq. and S. Jefferson St. Proceed south down Jefferson St. to continue the tour.
4. St. Mary Magdalen Cemetery
The cemetery located behind St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church is the city's first cemetery. Located in the cemetery are 357 graves, some more than a hundred years old. A stroll through the above ground tombs and aged head stones will reveal many French inscriptions.
Walking Tour 5-You are at the corner of Railroad Ave. and S. State St. After viewing the first property listed, turn left and proceed north toward the Courthouse Sq.
Walking Tour 6-You are at the intersection of S. State St., Concord St., and Peace St. After viewing the first two properties, turn left and proceed west down Concord St. toward The Square.
5./ 6. Piazza Office Supply/Radio Shack, 301-305 Pere Megret St.
The building located at the corner of Pere Megret (formerly know as Port Street) and Washington (formerly know as Rue du Bas de Ville) were originally three separate structures. The first, the corner building, was constructed in 1900 and at one time served as a general merchandise store run by Irwin Heimendinger.
The second, a clothing store run by Jacob Weill, was constructed in 1907.
The third building, constructed in 1920, was a furniture store run by Jules Weill.
The dividing wall between the second and third building was opened in 1928. The dividing wall between the first and second building was opened up later leaving one large building with three distinct areas.
Piazza Office Supply now occupies buildings one and two. The shopfront of these merged buildings has been altered extensively.
The third building is a one-story stuccoed commercial building with stepped parapet and prominent, multipaned windows above the shopfront level.
Walking Tour 7-You are on N. Main St. opposite the C.S. Steen Syrup Mill complex. After viewing the first three properties you will proceed north.
7. Beverly Sellers Interiors, 307 Pere Megret St.
The building, circa 1940, is a one-story stucco and black carrera glass commerical structure. It was originally a general merchandise store, In 1946 the building was converted to a jewelry store and served as such until 1999.
Walking Tour 8-You are at the intersection of W. Vermillion St. and N.State St. Properties 89 and 90 are located across N. State St., on the left. You may cross the street to view these two properties. After which , you will proceed south down N. State St. toward the Courthouse Square.
8. Beverly Sellers, 309 Pere Megret St.
Built in the 1940's, the building served as a pharmacy from 1949 until 1993. It was purchased for its present use as a retail store in 1995.
Walking Tour 9-A-h-h. You have found your way back to the Meridional so you are at the intersection of N. Main St. and Cherry St. and you can see to your right the intersection of Fairview St. After viewing the first two properties, you will walk north up Fairview to its intersection with Oak St.
9./ 10.Commercial Property, 311 Pere Megret St.
This commerical building, which consists of two adjoining buildings, was built in 1957. However, the location has been the site of a commerical establishment since well before that time. During the early 1900's Joseph "Joe" Vitello ran a barbershop in the west side building. From 1941 until 1980, after the death of Joe Vitello, his son, Roland, operated a radio and TV repair shop from the west side location. An ice cream parlor and short order restaurant occupied the east side building.
In those days oysters sold for 10 cents a dozen and if you wanted an ice cream cone you visited the grocery store or ice cream parlor and asked for a"sayso".
However, if you tried asking for an ice cream cone in that way anywhere outside of "Cajun Country" the only thing you were most likely to receive was a stange look as the term was strictly colloquial.
Wilton "Black" Bourque operated Black's Restaurant and Oyster Bar in the east side building from 1967 until 1980. In 1980 he purchased both buildings and converted the west side building into additional seating for the restaurant. The restaurant was run from this location until 1989 when the business was moved to its present location at the corner of Pere Megret and S. Main St.
11. Black's Oyster Bar & Restaurant, 319 Pere Megret St.
This structure consists of two buildings, which at one time shared a common interior wall. At some point in time the dividing wall was taken down, forming one large building. The smaller building to the left, circa 1920, is a plain one-story stuccoed commercial building that retains it transoms. The larger building on the right is a two-story stucco over brick commercial structure which was remodeled in the 1920's or 30's.
The original building, built in 1893 for Solomon Wise, was an elaborately articulated brick building whose only exterior decorative elements remain are its segmented, second story arch windows and the bartizan-like corner elements. The interior of the building retains much of its original character, most notably, its distinctive cast iron pineapple motif columns.
The building served as a general merchandise store owned by Eli Wise and Ludwig Sokoloski from 1893 until 1907 at which time Eli died and ownership of the store changed to Ludwig and Maxie Sokoloski.
In 1920 a fire destoryed the first floor of the building which has recently been occupied by the Frederick brothers-Frank, Joe, and Ignace. The fire damage was repaired and the general merchandise store re-opened. In 1922 the name of the business was changed to Frederick Brothers, Inc.
In 1926 A. O. Landry, Sr. who operated a general merchandise store, leased the building. The general merchandise store was operated under the name Landry's Store until 1988 when the building was purchased by Black's Restaurant.
ABBEVILLE ANNUAL EVENT
Krewe of Vermilion, downtown Abbeville- Concorde Street, call 337-893-2310 or 337-652-2292 for more information
Vermilion Parish Junior Livestock Show, Cecil McCrory Exhibit Building, call 337-898-4335 for more information
Carousel of Arts, Downtown Abbeville-Magdalen Square, call 337-898-4114 for more information MC-VC May Festival, Mt. Carmel/Vermilion Catholic School Grounds, call 337-989-0859 for more information.
The Daylily Festival and Garden Show in Magdalen Square,call 337-898-4100 for more information
13-15 yr. old Boys Babe Ruth World Series, A.A. Comeaux Youth Inc., call 337-898-4272for more information.
Annual Cattle Festival Downtown, call 337-893-6328 for more information.
The Giant Omelet Celebration call 337-893-9647 for more information.
Les Lumieres du Village d' Abbeville, thousand of white Christmas lights.
The Christmas Stroll, call 337-898-4110 for more information.
A La Bonne Veillee
Sturdily built of heavy hand-cut cypress timbers, mortised and pegged together this one and one-half story cottage measures 26 feet by 30 feet, and typifies mid-nineteenth century domestic architecture once so common throughout southwest Louisiana. Its steep gable and wood shingled roof, front gallery, four-room hall-less floor plan centered around an interior double wood-burning fireplace, sturdy beaded, batten shutters, wide cypress plank floors, exposed beam ceilings, and
wavy handmade window glass are all features which denote its Louisiana French style, as well as the charm of this example. Leaning toward more sophisticated Neo-Classic tastes seen in this modest structure would be its rectangular colonnettes with molded capitals as well as its Adam’s type pilastered fireplace mantels.
Another refinement surprising to some is the use of wallpapers throughout. Paint coloration is based on original paint layers on the interior and exterior - four colors on the exterior and four additional colors on the interior. Reproduction wallpapers installed in the restoration were chosen to match in style those fragments found in the house.
ITEM 7 ADDENDUM BY STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
In 1983 the "A La Bonne Veillee" House was moved from Iberia Parish approximately fifteen miles ("as the crow flies”) to its present location on the grounds of the LeBlanc House (N. R.) in Vermilion Parish. The setting has changed from urban to rural, although the original setting was semi-rural before the town of New Iberia grew up. The house retains its National Register eligibility
because it has not been moved out of southwestern Louisiana, which is the context of its architectural significance. Because the house retains virtually all of its vital architectural features, it is in a good state of integrity.
Note from SHPO: Minor alterations to the house include the replacement of the foundation piers (necessitated by the move), the replacement of the front and rear
steps, and the installation of air conditioning.
Specific dates early 19th century
Statement of Significance (in one paragraph)
The "A La Bonne Veillee" is significant for its status as a rare survivor and as a classic example of an early 19th century Louisiana French cottage.
At one time, many such cottages existed in southwest Louisiana, as well as in New Orleans.
It typifies size and style of structure built as a principal dwelling for a modest income family or a second home away from home for a more prosperous family - i.e., "a Maison Dimanche." Because of this cottage's original position on the St. Peter's Church square in New Iberia, as well as the social and economic prominence of several of its 19th century owners, one would be encouraged to believe it may have functioned as a "Maison Dimanche.” Few structures of this type and age survive.
In New Iberia, only three similar structures survive; in St. Martinville, only two survive.
Though originally built as a residence of modest size, today our 20th Century eyes see it as an artistic achievement of a 19th century man's creativity guided by his French heritage and traditions, and tailored to southwest Louisiana's environmental forces and materials available Reason for relocation: The building was sold to a demolisher in 1983, and was in the early stages of demolition when it was purchased from the demolisher to be moved and restored.
ITEM 8 ADDENDUM BY STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
The "A La Bonne Veillee" House is locally significant in the area of architecture within the context of southwestern Louisiana It is an example of a small Creole cottage, a type which is rapidly disappearing in the region. At one time there must have been many hundreds of them, but relatively few remain. For example, the Louisiana Historic Standing Structures Survey reveals that in all of
Iberia Parish there are only seven remaining examples, most of which are either dilapidated or have suffered considerable loss of integrity -- i.e., replaced columns, replaced windows, etc. The "A La Bonne Veillee" House is in good condition and is thought to retain more of its architectural integrity than the majority of surviving examples in the region.
Abbeville Residential Historic District
The Abbeville Residential Historic District is a late nineteenth-early twentieth century neighborhood of nineteen houses. It is located at the confluence of the Valcourt Coulee and the Vermilion River just north of the historic central business district. Styles in the district run the gamut from Queen Anne Revival to Colonial Revival to Arts and Crafts. The intrusion rate is 16%, and few of the contributing elements have been significantly altered.
Abbeville Historic District
The district is characterized by large lots and numerous mature trees. The Valcourt Coulee meanders through the area adding to its pastoral character. Despite the generous lot setbacks and the many trees, the district is fairly cohesive, and it is possible to take in many of the houses in a single view.
Although the houses are fairly large, only two of them exceed a story and a half.
Most are large rambling galleried cottages of the kind familiar in the Deep South.
Although they partake of elements "from the Queen Anne Revival", Eastlake, Colonial Revival, and Arts and Crafts styles, they retain their regional character. Most have fully developed garrets with large dormers, gables, or both.
Favorite elements include curving or polygonal galleries, multiple decorated gables, and polygonal bays. In two cases (#s 7 & 13) the dormers are very large and give way to impressive rooftop balconies. Number 7 is particularly noteworthy owing to its ogee molded balcony roof which resembles a howdah. Another noteworthy house is #10, which has a gallery terminating in an open turret.
As previously mentioned, these horizontal rambling houses do not entirely resemble their stylistic counterparts in the eastern states. The exception is Grey Friars (#1), a three story shingle and clapboard mansion with twenty-eight rooms. Resembling pattern book designs of the early 1880s, it relies upon massing and texture for its effects rather than applied ornamentation. It has an open wooded setting on Valcourt Coulee which provides a park-like anchor for the district.
As in most turn of the century communities in Louisiana, virtually all the residences in the Abbeville district are of wood construction with some form of wood skin. Most, though not all, have sash mounted windows with large pane plate glass. For the record, no historic outbuildings survive.
Abbeville Historic District
Note: The buildings were dated based upon the architectural evidence.
1. Grey Friars, 337 W. State Street, (c.1890). Three story frame house influenced by the Shingle style. Single story gallery with plain columns. The third story polygonal porch has been sensitively glazed in and a side carport has been added. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
2. 202 W. Oak Street (c.1910). Large single story Colonial Revival cottage with floor-length windows on the front. The gallery curves to its terminus on the east end. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
3. 206 W. Oak Street. Intrusion. Low scale brick ranch house.
4. 210 W. Oak Street, (c.1900). Queen Anne Revival cottage with side polygonal bay and Eastlake details. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
5. 300 W. Oak Street, (c.1920). One-and-a-half story pyramidal roof house reflecting the Arts and Crafts movement with pillars on bases, heavily textured clapboarding, and shallow arches. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
6. 509 Fairview Drive, (c.1900). One-and-a-half story rambling Queen Anne-Colonial Revival cottage with Eastlake brackets under the forward-facing gable corners. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
7. 508 Fairview Drive, (c1890). One-and-a-half story massive symmetrical cottage with galleries on the front and side which round the corners in a curve. The chamfered gallery columns have Eastlake brackets with spindle drops.
The roofline culminates in a great central balcony under an ogee roofed pavilion. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
8. 505 Fairview Drive, (c.1890). Single story Queen Anne Revival cottage with forward-facing gable featuring Eastlake brackets at the corners and a "carpenter's lace" apron. Front porch extended and columns replaced. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
9. 502 Fairview Drive, (c.1900). One-and-a-half story rambling Queen Anne Colonial Revival cottage with elaborate roofline and "carpenter's lace" in the gables. The Doric gallery has a polygonal protrusion at one end and a curving terminus at the other. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
10. 501 Fairview Drive, (c.1905). One-and-a-half story rambling Queen Anne Revival cottage with an open turret on the gallery; plain details. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
11. 308 Greenwood Street, (c.1910). Single story Colonial Revival cottage with Doric columns. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
12. 426 Fairview Drive, (c.1925). Large pyramidal roof bungalow with diamond pane windows. Part of front porch sensitively enclosed with louvered shutters. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
13. 425 Fairview Drive, (c.1920). Massive one-and-a-half story pyramidal roof house with Colonial Revival gallery on three sides. Enormous front dormer has built-in balcony. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
14. 419 Fairview Drive, (c.1920). Large cottage with heavy brick Arts and Crafts pillars on the front galleries. Brackets and diamond pane casement windows set in dormers. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
15. (No address) Fairview Drive. Intrusion. Small stuccoed ranch house.
16. 408 Fairview Drive. 1940s Intrusion. Plain frame cottage with aluminum siding.
17. 300 Cherry Street, (c.1890). Queen Anne Revival cottage with Eastlake brackets under the forward facing gable and Eastlake columns. Side addition c.1920. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
18. 400 Fairview Drive, (c.1890). Two story Queen Anne Revival house with two story Eastlake gallery on front and side. House has imbricated shingle gable and elaborate gallery column brackets. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
19. 307 N. Main Street, (c.1900). Large rambling Queen Anne Revival cottage with imbricated shingled gables, Eastlake brackets under the gables, and oversized dormers. Porch with arbor added c.1920. CONTRIBUTING ELEMENT
BREAKDOWN BY PERIOD
c.1890-1910 12 63
1911-c.1925 4 21
Intrusions 3 16
The Abbeville district is significant as a superior grouping of late nineteenth and early twentieth century residences (c.1890-c.1925). Thus any residence which falls into this period category and is not altered significantly is considered a contributing element.
There are only three cases in which contributing elements have received noteworthy
non-historic alterations (#s 1, 8 & 12). These account for only 18% of the district's overall stock of contributing elements, and so numerically the Abbeville residential district is in a good state of integrity. More importantly, altered contributing elements still retain most of their original exterior features and thus still convey their significant architectural character.
Abbeville Historic District
The district contains three intrusions, all of which are low in scale and comparatively small.
Abbeville Historic District
In addition, the overall intrusion rate is 16%, which is well within the normally acceptable range.
There is no question that the visually stronger historic residences easily dominate.
Note regarding general view photos: It will be noted that general view photos are
concentrated in the northern part of the district. The southern portion is not covered because it is impossible to take good general views there because of the large lots and dense foliage. The district's buildings are well represented in the individual views.
Specific dates c.1890-c.1925
Statement of Significance (in one paragraph)
The Abbeville Residential Historic District is locally significant in the area of architecture as easily the finest historic residential area in Vermilion Parish.
Abbeville Historic District
The large rural parish of Vermilion was created in 1844 and the parish seat of Abbeville was incorporated in 1850; however, the comprehensive historic structures survey reveals that there are very few buildings in the parish dating from before about 1880. In the late nineteenth century the parish received an influx of midwestern immigration due to a boom in the rice industry. Undoubtedly this rice boom caused a good deal of construction activity, and in a general sense, the grander
houses in the Abbeville district reflect this period of prosperity.
Today the vast majority of the parish's older buildings date from the bungalow era or even later. One finds little in the way of Queen Anne Revival or Eastlake architecture. Examples generally occur as isolated specimens in a sea of bungalows or nondescript buildings. Of the many older neighborhoods in Vermilion Parish, the Abbeville district is the only one with a significant concentration of pre-bungalow era architecture. In fact, fully 70% of the district's contributing elements reflect the Eastlake or Queen Anne Revival influences. In addition, the district contains the
parish's only example of East Coast Queen Anne Revival architecture (Grey Friars, #1). Finally, most of the historic residences are distinguished from other examples in the parish by their size and usually complex rooflines. 508 Fairview (#7), with its "howdah style" rooftop pavilion, is particularly noteworthy in this regard.
Caldwell House, 105 E. Vermilion St. Abbeville, LA
The Caldwell House (c.1907) is a large two-story transitional residence displaying elements of the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles. It stands on a large, irregularly shaped parcel in an older, mixed use neighborhood near downtown Abbeville. Its original exterior brick walls received a stucco covering during the 1920s, and the roof was resurfaced in tiles at that time, giving the house the overall character of a Mediterranean Revival villa. Despite these and other, later alterations, the house remains eligible for National Register listing.
The Caldwell House is rigidly symmetrical, with its facade anchored at each corner with a turret-like projection. Each projection is surmounted by a low pitched roof.
Despite the symmetry, these should be viewed within the Queen Anne tradition. Also
indicative of the Queen Anne influence is the home's first floor wraparound gallery.
The gallery wraps across the front and part way down one side. (Originally, as shown on a Sanborn map, it was symmetrically articulated, wrapping part way down both sides.) The building's Colonial Revival elements consist of its gallery columns and the balustrades outlining twin second floor balconies (one on the front and one on the west side). The gallery columns are in two sizes -- thicker columns defining the front and side entrances and slender columns elsewhere. The balconies are reached through large single doors surmounted by transoms and flanked by sidelights. Other exterior features include overhanging eaves; segmentally arched windows piercing the upper story of the mock turrets; tall shutters; a tripped roof; concrete quoins (now stuccoed over) emphasizing every angle of the facade; concrete lintels and sill; a molded cornice; and the front entrance, which features a transom and sidelights
surmounted by a jack arch with a keystone.
The defining feature of the interior is its central hall/cross hall configuration. Three rooms stand on the east side of the central hall, while two rooms separated by a cross hall occupy the home's west side. This plan is repeated on the second floor. The home's stairway rises to a large landing in a single flight from the point where the central and cross halls meet, then reverses upon itself to rise in two parallel flights to the second floor. Other interior features include two working sets of pocket doors, vertical beaded board wainscot in the downstairs and upstairs hallways, molded baseboards and chair rails, a built-in cabinet in the dining room, transoms above all doors, pressed metal ceilings in three downstairs rooms, wooden floors, and possibly, one surviving original mantel.
As noted in the summary paragraph, the house was stuccoed in the 1920s and received a
tile roof reflecting no doubt the popularity of the Mission and Mediterranean Revival styles. One also suspects that the portion of the gallery on the eastern side of the house extending beyond the turret was removed at this time. Other alterations from the 1920s include the attachment of a frame kitchen to the rear of the structure, the construction of a bathroom behind the rear east room and
beside the newly attached kitchen, the covering with panels of the beaded board ceilings in several rooms, the replacement of several mantels, and the truncation of the chimneys at the roofline.
Additional changes, for which dates are unavailable, include:
1) modifications to the gallery. Although the columns are the same as those
appearing in a historic photo of the house, there have been some adjustments.
The photo, taken of the west side of the house, shows a pair of thick Tuscan
columns on each side of the entrance. Today, one of the four is missing. Today the
front entrance is marked by one thick column on each side. Whether there were
originally a pair on each side is uncertain. Also, it appears that the slender gallery column immediately beyond the right thicker entrance column has been moved.
The spacing here is irregular. Finally, the gallery's balustrade has been lost.
2) the removal of one upstairs mantel,
3) the alteration of one dining room window on the west elevation,
4) the addition of three bathrooms on the second floor and the attachment of a small
frame porch and carport behind the kitchen/bath addition.
Work completed to date as part of the current restoration includes:
1) the covering of the original plaster walls in all but one room with sheetrock, the
exposure of the underlying brick wall in the remaining room, and the removal of the
damaged ceiling in the lower floor central hall. The latter will be replaced.
2) the replacement of the bathroom located behind the rear east room (originally
added during the 1920s) due to termite damage.
3) the restoration of the Colonial Revival balustrade on the facade's second story
balcony and the in-progress restoration of the balustrade on the west side balcony.
Approximately 90 percent of the original materials are being reused in these
Although this list of alterations at first seems lengthy, the changes have had little impact upon the features which make the home architecturally significant. Most importantly, the unusual massing created by the turret-like projections on the facade survives intact. Known locally as the "castle" or the Caldwell Mansion, the house is an architectural landmark within Abbeville to even the
most casual observer, due principally to its distinctive massing and grand villa-like appearance.
A small frame outhouse with a metal roof stands near a rear corner of the property. Its two doors feature half-moon cutouts. The outhouse is being counted as a contributing element to this nomination because it appears to be contemporary with the Caldwell House.
Significant dates c.1907, 1920
Architect/Builder Builder: Caldwell Contractors (c.1907)
The Caldwell House is locally significant in the area of architecture as a landmark in the early twentieth century residential heritage of the parish seat of Abbeville. It derives this distinction largely from its size and massing.
Located on the Vermilion River, the town of Abbeville is much older than its present historic building stock would indicate. It traces its founding to 1843, when Father Antoine Desire Megret purchased a tract of land on the river for construction of a chapel. The town that developed was incorporated in 1850, and in 1854 it became the parish seat of newly created Vermilion Parish.
Apparently the town was very small and grew slowly until the coming of the Iberia and Vermilion Railroad (soon to be the Southern Pacific) in 1892. With the coming of the railroad, Abbeville emerged as a major rice processing center. Like other southwestern Louisiana towns such as Crowley and Jennings, Abbeville benefited enormously from the "Great Louisiana Rice Boom" of the turn of the century in which mechanized agricultural techniques previously used in the Midwest for wheat production were brought to the prairies of Acadiana for the largescale production of rice.
Because of the railroad and the rice boom it made possible, Abbeville grew rapidly and prospered greatly, as can be seen in its historic building stock. Despite its early founding, there are believed to be no buildings in the town which predate c.1890. An almost comprehensive survey, combined with SHPO knowledge, reveals that there are 250-300 extant historic buildings in Abbeville, the vast majority of which are residences. The residences that have the greatest visual impact on the overall character of the town are in the Queen Anne/Eastlake styles, reflecting the frenzy of building that occurred at the height of the rice boom (c.1895-1910). There are about 50 to 60 of these, some 18 of which have been identified by the SHPO as worthy of Register consideration. The remainder of Abbeville's historic residences are mainly low-key examples of the bungalow style. There are a sprinkling of houses from the 1930s that could best be described as watered down versions of the Tudor Revival style and a few examples of the Colonial Revival taste, almost all of which lack architectural distinction. Finally, there are various simple unstyled houses in
It is against this background that the local landmark status of the Caldwell House emerges.
In terms of residences, the only architectural “flowering" in Abbeville was the Queen Anne Revival (with its associated Eastlake ornamentation). Although the Caldwell House evolved during the historic period to its present appearance, it is obviously rooted in the Queen Anne style, despite the symmetry. And when compared to the town's Queen Anne landmarks, it is in the forefront because of its prominent twin turret-like projections which dominate the facade. The tower or turret was in
some respects the ultimate Queen Anne device; however, it is very rarely found in Abbeville (mainly because all but seven examples of the style are one story). In fact, of the 50 or 60 Queen Anne houses in Abbeville, only two sport a tower or turret. Also, two one-story examples have turret-like projections. With its twin turret-like projections framing a symmetrical composition, the Caldwell House is one of Abbeville's most visually distinctive historic residences. Also, the sheer size of the house -- over 5,000 square feet -- makes it a landmark within the community.
It has the presence of a villa or mansion when compared to virtually all other houses.
The Caldwell House is named for its owner/builder, Vernon Lee Caldwell. Along with his father and one brother, Caldwell was part of a brick making business which expanded into a general construction company known as Caldwell Brothers Contracting Company. In addition to the house, examples of buildings constructed by the company include schools in Abbeville, Kaplan and Gueydan. Vernon Lee Caldwell was also a civic leader who was involved in the establishment of the Bank of Erath and the Erath Sugar Company. He also served in the legislature as a member of both the House and the Senate.
Written by: Lisa LeBlanc-Berry
Within the heart of Abbeville’s downtown community is the Caldwell House, one of the city’s largest older homes, built in 1908 for local contractor Vernon Caldwell. It was reportedly the first brick residence in Abbeville and is significant in the area of architecture as a landmark in the early 20th-century residential heritage of the parish.
Known locally as the “castle” or the Caldwell mansion, the house is an architectural landmark to even the most casual observer, due principally to its distinctive massing and grand villa-like appearance.
The two-story, five-bedroom residence, which earned a listing on the National Registry of Historic Places, displays elements of the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles. The façade is anchored at each corner with a turret-like projection. Guests take their morning coffee and evening cocktails on the deep, graceful porches with their wicker armchairs and cast-iron bistro sets. The Caldwell’s original exterior double-layer brick walls received a stucco overlay during the 1920s, and the roof was resurfaced in tiles, giving the house the overall character of a Mediterranean Revival villa.
The defining feature of the interior is its central hall and cross hall configuration; this plan is repeated on the second floor. The home’s stairway rises to a large landing in a single flight from the point where the central and cross halls meet, then reverses upon itself to rise in two parallel flights to the second floor. The graceful, welcoming front entrance features a transom and sidelights surmounted by a jack arch with a keystone.
The interior of the home retains the decorative etched metal ceilings, doors, and wooden wainscoting. Another interior feature of interest includes two working sets of pocket doors, designed for prime ventilation. Photos of the original owners adorn the graceful, wide center hall, which is flanked by an elegant parlor surrounded by bay windows and a dining room on one side, and a master suite with a double Jacuzzi bath and a fireplace on the other.
Over the past ten years, the Caldwell has been magnificently restored and renovated to recapture its former glory, with classic gardens enhancing the property. The old-fashioned frame kitchen (which was added to the rear of the structure in the 1920s) has been updated with a six burner Thermidor, two ovens, two dishwashers, and a Sub-zero refrigerator and freezer. Outside the back door, which leads to a garden, gas lanterns flicker over the lawn as the sun descends.
Last year the residence was transformed into a bed and breakfast and a place for exclusive rentals and special events. It is especially popular for weddings and pre-bridal gatherings, but has also been used to house a New Orleans law firm for a week and for class reunions. If you are in the area, this is a good month to visit the Caldwell, which will be open for tours during Christmas celebrations that include a festival of lights and special activities surrounding the town square (call the Caldwell at 337-892-6735 for the tour schedule). Abbeville is especially festive during the holiday season; there is a Christmas shop downtown near the courthouse worth perusing.
Owners Mark and Darlene Frederick, who live in Rhode Island and were married at the Caldwell in November, decided to purchase the property and open it up to the public last year. Mark is originally from Abbeville; Darlene grew up in the New York area. “We fell in love with the beauty, the detail, and the quality of the house,” explains Becky. “We were visiting for the weekend in honor of Mark’s mother’s 70th birthday, and were just on a walk through the town when we saw the for sale sign on it. We had been speaking of contributing to the rejuvenation of downtown Abbeville post-Katrina,” she says.
Instead of furnishing the Caldwell with antiques, the couple decided to go with French Provincial-style furniture. “I liked going towards a modern, classical look because I think that the house, with the changes it underwent, is not so Victorian.” Other minor changes the Fredericks have made include the enhancement of the gardens.
“On the east garden, which is a long, rectangular open lawn, we extended a serpentine brick pathway that now forms the processional for the weddings that are held. We have added additional lighting so that the evening ceremonies are in a cozy glow.” Brides enter the pathway through an arbor strewn with lights and follow the serpentine path fragrant with flowers.
On the west side is a small wooden arbor with twinkling lights and a swing, the perfect place to relax and reflect. When standing on the second floor balcony overlooking the arbor and swing, there is a lovely view of the historic Episcopal chapel next door, with its stained glass windows illuminated at night. You can hear the church bells peal and look out over the quiet streets of Abbeville in the moonlight.
“One of the features we added was to make one of the upstairs bedrooms a bridal dressing suite,” Darlene says. A large standing floor mirror, a nook for the wedding gown, and a deep daybed for the bridesmaids enhance the airy room. “A couple can return to stay in the bridal suite; they don’t have to have their wedding here. We consider ourselves a complement to other businesses,” Darlene comments.
“We are constantly having people thank us for reviving the Caldwell. There are many people involved in the historic preservation and the revival of downtown Abbeville. Buildings are being restored,” Darlene says. “Now, we are seeing decorators and artists and boutiques slowly coming back into town. We consider ourselves a part of that.”
The Chauviere House (c.1904) is a one-and-a-half story frame Queen Anne Revival
residence located in an older residential neighborhood east of downtown Abbeville.
Exterior alterations have been confined largely to additions at the rear. Also, although there have been modifications, the interior survives with its original character largely intact.
The house's Queen Anne character is evident in its complex, multi-plane roof. The tripped roof features a gabled projection in the front, one on each side, and one at the rear in addition to a large gabled dormer. The "busy" silhouette, as viewed from frontal or three-quarter views, is enhanced by two of the original three prominent chimneys. Queen Anne influence can also be seen in the house's two polygonal bays with forty-five degree corner cuts (one on the front and one on the side).
The Chauviere House's Eastlake gallery begins at the front projecting polygonal bay,
extends across the facade, and sweeps around the corner to connect with the previously mentioned side gabled projection. It features turned columns and brackets pierced with a floral motif. The cutout work balustrade is of a type common at the time and should not be pigeonholed into a particular style category. Originally there was a small Eastlake porch on the side to shelter the entrance to a cross hall (see interior below). Only a remnant of it survives (see alterations below).
The house has a wide central hall with a narrower hall extending from it at the rear to form an L shape. On the northern side of the central hall are three rooms, the last of which, the kitchen, extends partly beyond the main building mass. On the southern side of the central hall are two rooms, the previously mentioned side hall, and a third room extending completely beyond the main building mass. Originally there was a porch between these two rear projections.
Although the attic was historically unfinished space, there is a prominent decorative
staircase. It begins in the side hall and turns the comer to ascend via the central hall. The staircase is a striking visual element because of the three almost over-sized, turned posts with a ball ornament at the bottom marking the corner landing.
The newel posts are similar in character. Other noteworthy interior features are window and door surrounds with bull's eye cornerblocks, movable transoms over doors, a window seat following the lines of the side polygonal bay, and three of the home's original five mantels. Fairly simple for the period, two feature fluting and a bull's eye motif while the third has bull's eye motifs and incised stylized plant forms. The house retains some of its original four panel doors intact, although most have been cut in two to form double doors.
The following alterations were made by the current owners when they acquired the house in 1973:
(1) A one room addition was made to the rear which engulfed and extended beyond the old rear porch. Off of it is a deck with a balustrade which replicates that of the front gallery. What was presumably a window or door off the southern rear room was changed to a large opening to provide access to the deck. Also affecting the rear elevation was the extension of the kitchen to provide for a utility room and the addition of a porch with a replicated balustrade.
(2) The southern rear room received a bathroom/closet extension on its side elevation. Extending off it is a carport. A portion of the old Eastlake side porch was incorporated into this addition.
(3) As previously mentioned, doors were cut in two to make double doors.
(4) The present kitchen space was originally a butler's pantry and kitchen. The wall between the two was partially removed to provide for more space in the kitchen.
(5) The previously unfinished attic was converted into bedrooms.
Changes occurring earlier in the house's history include the removal of 2 corner fireplaces and their chimney; the installation of the present beveled glass doorway with a transom and side lights (a historic alteration); and the addition of wide columnar openings between the hallway and parlor and the parlor and dining room.
Given the look of the columns, one strongly suspects that this was a c.1920s alteration.
Assessment of Integrity:
Fortunately, the above mentioned exterior alterations have been confined largely to the extreme rear of the house. And the interior still has a strong historic character despite the modifications. Most importantly, the frontal and three-quarter views of the house are unchanged, with the exception of the side carport and the front door. In terms of the carport, it should be noted that it is located toward the rear, with the result that the original house is visually dominant. Most important, the house's character-deeming features ( its complex, multi-plane roofline and its wraparound Eastlake gallery) survive intact.
Significant dates c.1904
The Chauviere House is locally significant in the area of architecture as a superior example of the Queen Anne Revival style within the parish seat of Abbeville. It derives this distinction from its massing and wraparound gallery.
Located on the Vermilion River, the town of Abbeville is much older than its present historic building stock would indicate. It traces its founding to 1843, when Father Antoine Desire Megret purchased a tract of land on the river for construction of a chapel. The town that developed was incorporated in 1850, and in 1854 it became the parish seat of newly created Vermilion Parish.
Apparently the town was very small and grew slowly until the coming of the Iberia and Vermilion Railroad (soon to be Southern Pacific) in 1892. With the coming of the railroad, Abbeville emerged as a major rice processing center. Like other southwestern Louisiana towns such as Crowley and Jennings, Abbeville benefited enormously from the "Great Louisiana Rice Boom" of the turn of the century in which mechanized agricultural techniques previously used in the Midwest for wheat
production were brought to the prairies of Acadiana for the largescale production of rice.
Because of the railroad and the rice boom it made possible, Abbeville grew rapidly (from a population of 1200 in 1895 to 2500 in 1907) and prospered greatly, as can be seen in its historic building stock. Despite its early founding, there are believed to be no buildings in the town which predate c.1890. Queen Anne Revival residences such as the Chauviere House reflect the frenzy of building that occurred in Abbeville at the height of the rice boom (c.1895-c.1910). In fact, from the
standpoint of residences, the town has a strong Queen Anne heritage. Based upon an almost comprehensive survey and extensive SHPO staff knowledge, it is estimated that there are 50 to 60 houses in the town which reflect the Queen Anne/Eastlake style, ranging from the extremely plain to the very elaborate. Put in perspective, these 50 to 60 houses represent about one-fourth to one-fifth of the town's overall historic building stock.
A review of these 50-60 examples by the State Historic Preservation Office revealed that roughly 18 were of sufficient quality to merit Register consideration. These 18 emerged as superior examples within Abbeville because of their massing and/or ornamentation, both of which are hallmarks of the style. The Chauviere House is noteworthy because it exhibits the elaborate massing characteristic of the Queen Anne style -- in this case, a complex, multi-plane roof with various projections, two of which take the form of polygonal bays with forty five degree comer cuts,
and a wraparound gallery. This is in contrast to the more typical example in Abbeville, a simply massed cottage with a front projecting polygonal bay and a three bay Eastlake porch to the side.
The Chauviere's gallery is particularly noteworthy when compared to other examples in town. It is among the most visually prominent because it is seven bays in length, extending across the front, curving around the corner, and extending down the side.
Of the 50-60 examples of the Queen Anne style in Abbeville, only about 10 feature wraparound galleries.
The Chauviere House is named for the family who owned and occupied it from the 1920s
until 1973, when it was acquired by the present owners, Mr. and Mrs. J. Byron Hebert. It is believed to have been built in 1904 when Eugenie Young, married to William R. McHenry, mortgaged her family property for $3000. It is not on the 1899 Sanborn map for Abbeville but is on the 1907 map.
Downtown Abbeville Historic District
The boundaries of the Downtown Abbeville Historic District encompass 119 buildings and one small non-contributing cemetery. The nominated district includes a small commercial district already on the Register as well as another individually listed Register property, St. Mary Magdalen Church and Rectory. Contributing elements include commercial buildings, residences, institutional buildings, and industrial facilities along the railroad corridor. They range in date from c.1890 to c.
1940. Despite a fairly high non-contributing rate of 38%, the district easily retains sufficient historic character to merit National Register listing, as explained below and as is evident from the photos accompanying this submission.
Abbeville Historic Map
Located on the Vermilion River, the town of Abbeville traces its founding to 1843, when Father Antoine Megret purchased a tract of land on the river for construction of a chapel. This developed into the settlement that would be incorporated as Abbeville in 1850. In 1854 it became the parish seat of Vermilion Parish. Apparently the town was small and grew slowly until the arrival of the Iberia and Vermilion Railroad (soon to be the Southern Pacific) in 1892. With the coming of the railroad, Abbeville emerged as a major rice processing center. Like other southwestern
Louisiana communities (for example, Crowley and Jennings), Abbeville benefited enormously from the "Great Louisiana Rice Boom" of the turn-of-the-century in which mechanized agricultural techniques previously used in the Midwest for wheat production were brought to the prairies of Acadiana for the large-scale production of rice. Rather remarkably, the two large brick rice mills that appear on a 1907 Sanborn map of Abbeville survive. They, along with other businesses which relied
upon the railroad, are an important component of the nominated district.
Because of the railroad and the rice boom it made possible, Abbeville grew rapidly (from a population of 1200 in 1895 to 2500 in 1907) and prospered greatly, as can be seen in the district's building stock. Despite its early founding, there are believed to be no buildings in the town that pre-date c.1890. The nominated district to a great extent reflects the frenzy of building that occurred in Abbeville at the height of the rice boom (c.1890-c.1910). Also, much of the old wooden downtown
burned in 1903 and was rebuilt almost immediately.
While the inventory below provides a description of each building, a general statement can be made about the overall character of the district. At its southern edge is the previously mentioned industrial/railroad corridor, whose components include a freight depot, two large turn-of-the-century brick rice mills, a wholesale grocery warehouse, and a large, well-preserved early twentieth century lumber shed.
At the northern edge and extending down State Street to the railroad corridor (see
map) is a mainly party wall brick CBD. Anchored by the impressive twin-towered Bank of Abbeville (1904, #119), the CBD has a two story scale along Concord. Along State Street, the scale is one story. Several of the commercial buildings have elaborate brickwork, with the predominant style being a vernacular, small town version of Italianate. Also at the northern edge, in the heart of the CBD, is Magdalen Square, a park shaded by oak trees. This urban oasis was part of the original plan for the community. Adjacent to the park is the St. Mary Magdalen Church square previously
mentioned. The district's 25 or so contributing residences are located on and beyond Lafayette Street on Main, Washington and Jefferson (please refer to map). Essentially, they are between the CBD and the industrial/railroad corridor. Most of the residences reflect the Queen Anne Revival style, with the second most predominant style being the bungalow. With but very few exceptions, the
residences are one story (or one-and-a-half) in scale.
Note: The district's buildings were dated mainly from Sanborn maps (1895, 1899, 1907, 1912, 1923, 1929, and a 1949 update) and the architectural evidence when Sanborn maps, for whatever reason, were not of use. (For example, a significant portion of the district was not mapped until 1907.) In a few instances, there were date tablets on buildings. Of invaluable use in determining alterations were various historic photographs of individual buildings.
Buildings 74, 102 and 104-119 are in the existing downtown Register district, which was listed for its architectural significance. St. Mary Magdalen Church and Rectory (#s 23 & 24) are also Register listed.
1. Abbeville Rice Mill/Mill #3 of Louisiana State Rice Milling Company. Contributing element. Large two to four story brick industrial facility with segmental arch openings built c.1900 adjacent to railroad. This section of Abbeville (the railroad/industrial corridor) does not appear on Sanborn maps until 1907. The two story section of the building is shown as a rice warehouse while the mill occupied the four story section. By 1912 map, mill is shown as partly dismantled; facility used as rice warehouse and for storage. On 1929 map, the two story section is labeled rice warehouse on first story and miscellaneous storage on second story; four story section labeled offices.
2. Iberia and Vermilion Railroad Depot (later Southern Pacific). Contributing element. One story frame freight depot missing its freight platforms. Built sometime between 1892, when the railroad arrived, and 1894, when it appears in a publication. Originally closer to Vermilion River and had extensive freight platforms. Moved to its present location (still on railroad line, same side about 50 feet from its original location) sometime prior to 1949 Sanborn map update.
3. Non-contributing element. Modern one story hardware store.
4. Non-contributing element. Modem one story tin-sided building.
5. Non-contributing element. Modern one story frame commercial building.
6. Contributing element. One story frame plain residential looking building which appears on Sanborn maps between 1923 and 1929; labeled oil warehouse.
7. 212 S. Main. Contributing element. One and a half story frame galleried house. Although the house has an older Greek Revival looking character, one suspects that it dates from the turn of the century. One also suspects that the present dormers are not original.
8. Contributing element. 1920s one and a half story house in the bungalow style with
porte-cochere. Small one story brick side addition.
9. 204 S. Main. Non-contributing. Less than fifty year old frame residence.
10. 200 S. Main. Non-contributing. Less than fifty year old frame residence.
11. Contributing element. E. Wise Residence (per photo in 1894 publication). c.1890 large two story residence with two story polygonal bay on facade and northern side elevation. The windows on the bays are defined by prominent pilasters. Historic photo shows that house originally had two story Eastlake gallery that extended from the bay, across the front, and curved to wrap around the corner by a few feet. Presently house has a partially enclosed one story porch. Its Eastlake columns were undoubtedly salvaged from original gallery. Besides aforementioned bays, house's other character-defining original feature is a tall opening on the side elevation crowned with a round arch window with muntins in a radial pattern.
12. 130 S. Main. Non-contributing element. 1940s asbestos clad commercial building with plain stucco front. First appears on 1949 Sanborn map update. Because it is likely that the building is not fifty years old, it is being labeled as non-contributing.
13. 128 S. Main. Contributing element. 1930s one story frame residence with steeply pitched side gabled roof; prominent front gables and a gabled porch -- a very watered down version of the so-called Tudor Revival style. Porch columns and balustrade replaced with wrought iron.
14. 118 S. Main. Contributing element. Wells-Fargo Office. One story double brick store with decorative brickwork cornice built in 1897, per mention in local newspaper. 1899 Sanborn map has "agricultural implements" notation. By 1907 map, the southern portion is labeled as an express office and the northern, a hardware warehouse. 1912 map shows southern portion as express office and northern as furniture store or warehouse. Southern portion continued as Wells Fargo office until c.1915. During 1920s building was used as a garage, at which time the northern portion received a garage opening. Southern portion retains its original segmental arch openings. Building was converted to a residence in 1970s.
15. 114 S. Main. Contributing element. 1920s one story stuccoed commercial building;
16. Contributing element. 1920s one story stuccoed commercial building; shopfront replaced, although transom windows visible. May be remodeled older building.
17. Non-contributing element. Historic one story stuccoed commercial building that has been too altered to be considered contributing -- modern picture window at shopfront level. Unlike #16, it no longer retains the basic rhythm and configuration of a historic building at the shopfront level.
18. Non-contributing element. Historic frame commercial building that has been too altered to be considered contributing -- vinyl siding and new shopfront.
19-20. Non-contributing elements. Modern small one story concrete block automotive buildings.
21. Non-contributing element. Modern one story brick office building.
22. Contributing element. Abbeville Water Works. Earlier water works building remodeled by city in 1922. All that remains of the original building's character are the round arch windows. Per historic photo, roofline originally featured quite elaborate Romanesque Revival detailing, including blind arcading. This all removed in 1922 when building acquired its present tile roof. Present stucco most likely dates from remodeling.
23. Contributing element. National Register. St. Mary Magdalen Church (1911). Large brick church with Romanesque Revival details. Because of its size and soaring spire, it has a commanding presence in downtown Abbeville.
24. Contributing element. National Register. St. Mary Magdalen Rectory (1921). Two story stuccoed building with a two-tier porch extending across the front and down one of the side elevations. The second story of the porch features arcading.
25. Non-contributing element. Modern one story brick and wood commercial building.
26. Contributing element. 1920. One story stuccoed commercial building with stepped parapet and prominent, multi-paned windows above the shopfront level. Shopfront replaced.
27. Contributing element. c.1940 one story stucco and black carrera glass commercial
28. Non-contributing element. One story historic commercial building too altered to be considered contributing.
29. Non-contributing element. One story modern commercial building.
30. Contributing element. c.1920 plain one story stuccoed commercial building; retains transoms, although shopfront level replaced. Historically a separate building, although now used by building #31.
31. Contributing element. Large two story, stucco over brick, comer commercial building. Present building is a 1920s or '30s remodeling of an older very elaborately articulated brick building, per historic photographs. Only exterior decorative elements it retains of older building are segmental arch windows on second story and bartizan-like elements at the comers. On the interior the building retains much of its original c.1890 character, most notably, very distinctive cast-iron columns with a pineapple motif. Shopfront level replaced on present building, but transom windows remain.
32. Non-contributing element. Fairly small one story tin support building to #31.
33. Non-contributing element. Small one story altered older commercial building.
34. Non-contributing element. One story frame historic house with unsympathetic porch
enclosure/extension across the front.
35. 123 S. Main. Non-contributing element. Modern two story brick residence.
36. Non-contributing element. Small one story brick ranch house looking building.
37. 135 S. Main. Contributing element. c.1915 one story stuccoed commercial building with decoratively shaped parapet and round head windows.
38. 203 S. Main (also 311 W. Lafayette). Non-contributing element. Non-historic one story commercial building.
39. 211 S. Main. Non-contributing element. One story non-historic frame commercial building.
40. 213 S. Main. Contributing element. 1920s stuccoed bungalow. 217 S. Main. Contributing element. 1920s frame residence with bungalow detailing.
42. 219 S. Main. Contributing element. Early twentieth century brick residence; porch enclosed.
43. 221 S. Main. Contributing element. 1890s one-and-a-half story frame Queen Anne Revival house with front-facing polygonal bay, wraparound Eastlake gallery, and shinglework in the gables.
44. 222 S. Washington. Contributing element. 1920s frame bungalow.
45. 220 S. Washington. Non-contributing element. Per Sanborn maps, present house is a one story version of what was originally a two story Queen Anne Revival house.
46. 218 S. Washington. Contributing element. Plain two story frame house. Sanborn maps indicate that this house may have evolved over time during the historic period. A house of the right shape (i.e., the polygonal bay on the first story ) appears on the 1907 map (the first for this section of town). By 1923, the house had grown to two stories and is shown with a two story porch. The second story porch is now gone; the first story porch is now wrought iron; and an addition has been made on the side toward the rear.
47. 212 S. Washington. Contributing element. 1920s frame bungalow.
48. 210 S. Washington. Non-contributing element. One story brick ranch house.
49. 208 S. Washington. Contributing element. 1920s frame bungalow; partial porch enclosure.
50. Contributing element. One story frame 1890s Queen Anne Revival cottage; front polygonal bay features shinglework and prominent brackets with a fan-like design. Porch replaced in bungalow style.
51. Contributing element. c. 1915 raised frame house with Colonial Revival posts resting on brick bases; prominent tripped roof dormer.
52. 306 W. Lafayette. Contributing element. Plain early twentieth century galleried frame cottage.
53. Contributing element. One story plain frame bungalow.
54. Non-contributing element. Theatre built sometime between 1929 Sanborn map and 1949 update. It may be over 50 years, but is being considered non-contributing because of serious alterations at the ground floor level and its generally deteriorated state.
55. 106 S. Washington. Contributing element. One story plain frame shotgun-like building which has historically been in commercial use.
56. Non-contributing element. Non-historic fairly small one story warehouse set inside the block to service #25.
57. "GET" Service Station-now a private residence. 1930s. Contributing element. Second GET service station on the site. Named for original owners, Gooch, Edwards and Theall; GET name prominently displayed in panels. Concrete structure located on corner in heart of downtown. Drive through gasoline section partially enclosed (low brick wall and iron grilles) and a small one story wing has been added; however, it still is clearly a historic filling station.
58. Non-contributing. Historic two story auto dealership with facade completely reworked in the last few years.
59. Contributing element. 1890s one story frame cottage with prominent projecting polygonal bay with panels above and below windows and pilasters between. Simple Eastlake columns on porch.
60. 205 S. Washington. Non-contributing element. Rambling one story frame residence.
According to owner, it is a remodeled older house.
61. 207 S. Washington. Contributing element. 1890s one-and-a-half story hipped roof frame Queen Anne house with projecting polygonal bay featuring large distinctive pierced work brackets. Porch has Eastlake columns with small pierced brackets. Prominent gabled dormer.
62. 211 S. Washington. Contributing element. 1890s Queen Anne cottage with projecting
polygonal bay featuring pierced work brackets with a star motif. Side extension to left in place by 1912 Sanborn map. Porch replaced in bungalow style and extended to form a porte-cochere.
63. 213 S. Washington. Contributing element. 1938 one story brick gym and auditorium for Abbeville High School. Low-key neo-classical detailing on facade (facing Washington). Complementary one story brick classroom wing added to rear in 1949.
64. Non-contributing element. Small frame residential-looking building which is part of Vermilion Parish School Board complex.
65. Contributing element. Huge brick rice mill built in 1900 on railroad corridor ranging from two to four stories. Shown as Planters Rice Mill on 1907 Sanborn map; by 1912 was Louisiana State Rice Milling Company Mill #2. On this map, four story section was the mill. The large two story section was labeled "rough rice warehouse" on the first floor and "polish and clean" on the second; also an office on first floor. By the 1949 update the mill had acquired
the present tin sided six story rice dryer (east corner). For a rice mill, the building is very nicely detailed, including segmental arch openings and elaborate decorative brickwork. Now owned and operated as a rice mill by Riviana Foods, the mill has received some modern additions at the rear, but it easily retains sufficient integrity.
66. Contributing element. Built in 1941 -- Louisiana State Rice Milling Office. Large two story stucco over concrete block office building with restrained Modernistic styling on slightly projecting central portion. Now the offices of Riviana Foods.
67. Non-contributing element. Modern one story brick building (part of Vermilion Parish School Board complex).
68. Contributing element. Former Abbeville High School (1902) -- how headquarters for
Vermilion Parish School Board. Three story brick school featuring segmental arch windows and square head windows. Some of latter have jack arches. Windows have received bend-like coverings on exterior that make them appear boarded over.
69. Non-contributing element. Modern one story brick building (part of Vermilion Parish School Board complex).
70. 212 S. Jefferson. Contributing element. One story frame cottage with bungalow porch (1920s).
71. 212 S. Jefferson. Contributing element. One story blacksmith shop with board and batten false front facade. A blacksmith shop appears at this location as early as 1912, but the building on the map is not long enough to be the present one. By the 1929 map the building shown is long enough to be the current one. Labeled as blacksmith shop on subsequent maps, up to and including the 1949 update.
72. Contributing element. 1920s frame bungalow.
73. Contributing element. c. 1940 plain two story apartment building (asbestos sided).
74. Frank's Theatre. Contributing element. c.1925 two story stuccoed brick building with bas relief panels and a parapet designed to suggest a Mission style roof. The building's present appearance is probably the result of a c.1925 alteration of an earlier building. Small single story side wing that appears to be over fifty years old.
75. Non-contributing. Small drive through bank, probably from the 1950s or '60s.
76. 115 W. Lafayette. Contributing element. Large two story frame house built between 1899 and 1907 Sanborn maps; features Queen Anne two story shingled projecting bay with decorative brackets and two-tier Eastlake gallery that wraps around the corner. Small room built out onto gallery on second story.
77. 201 S. Jefferson. Non-contributing element. One story brick ranch house-looking building.
78. 203 S. Jefferson. Non-contributing element. One story non-historic stucco commercial building.
79. 205 S. Jefferson. Contributing element. 1930s frame one-and-a-half story cottage with steeply pitched front gable and steeply pitched entrance gable -- watered down version of so-called Tudor Revival style.
80. 207 S. Jefferson. Contributing element. One story frame house with bungalow style porch.
81. 209 S. Jefferson. Contributing element. Early twentieth century one-and-a-half story frame house with prominent tripped roof dormer.
82. 211 S. Jefferson. Contributing element. Early twentieth century one story house with bungalow style porch across the front.
83. 217 S. Jefferson. Contributing element. 1900-1910 one story side gable frame cottage with projecting polygonal bay on facade; present porch which extends to form a carport and addition is most likely from bungalow period.
84. Contributing element. Early twentieth century one story frame house with bungalow style carport.
85. 223 S. Jefferson. Non-contributing element. Small one story modern brick building.
86. Non-contributing element. Non-historic long metal sided building with curving roof.
87. Contributing element. Large and long frame one story wholesale grocery warehouse on railroad corridor dating from 1920s; clipped gables; decorative ventilators along roof ridge.
88. Contributing element. 1930s one story false front frame building.
89. Contributing element. Built between 1923 and '29 Sanborn maps -- shown on '29 map as a bakery. One story stucco over brick building with corner entrance and stepped parapet.
90. Contributing element. 1930s one story stuccoed Modernistic commercial building adjacent to railroad.
91. Contributing element. L. H. Summers Lumber Shed. Large one to two story frame lumber shed adjacent to railroad built sometime between 1912 and 1923 Sanborn maps. Shown on '23 map as L. H. Summers Lumber Shed with a sash and door warehouse in the partial second floor; stacked lumber elsewhere -- also an office. By the 1949 map update, it is the Abbeville Lumber Company shed.
92. Non-contributing element. Quonset hut long building built originally for a movie theatre -- opened in 1948 (appears on 1949 map). Marquee gone.
93. Contributing element. 1930s commercial building with tin clad sides and stuccoed
decoratively shaped false front.
94. Non-contributing element. Small modern one Story brick office/commercial building.
95. Non-contributing element. Small modern one story brick office/commercial building.
96. Contributing element. 1930s one story brick commercial building with geometric decorative brickwork.
97. Non-contributing element. Small modern one story brick office/commercial building.
98. 216 S. State. Contributing element. c.1905 one story brick commercial building with decorative brickwork, cast-iron columns defining its shopfront, and name (O. J. Chauvin) displayed in raised panel at top.
99. 214 S. State. Contributing element. c.1920 plain one story brick commercial building.
100. Non-contributing element. Less than fifty year old one story office building.
101. Contributing element. c.1940 one story brick Modernistic building with curving front and large glass block window.
102. 200-202 S. State St. Contributing element. Single story c.1910 brick Italianate commercial building with three-tier decorative parapet, multiple brick cornices, numerous brick panels, segmentally arched openings and a corner entrance. Shopfront largely original.
103. Contributing element. Early twentieth century plain one story false fronted stuccoed brick building.
104. 124 S. State. Contributing element. c. 1905; first appears on 1907 Sanborn map. Single story brick Italianate commercial building with decorative brick panels, round arch openings, and a corner entrance. Shopfront largely original.
105. 122 S. State. Contributing element. c.1905; first appears on 1907 map. Single story brick Italianate commercial building with decorative brick panels. Cast-iron columns survive from original shopfront.
106. 120 S. State. Contributing element. c. 1905; first appears on 1907 Sanborn map. Single story brick Italianate commercial building with decorative brick panels and original cast iron shopfront details. Windows have been covered with shutters and the central doorway has been replaced.
107. 118 S. State. Contributing element. Built between 1895 and 1899. Single story brick Italianate commercial building with multiple brick cornices and a decorative parapet culminating in a central pedimented tablet.
108. 114-116 S. State. Non-contributing element. Older single story brick commercial building stuccoed and completely modernized c.1960.
109. 112 S. State. Non-contributing element. Older single story brick commercial building stuccoed and completely modernized c.1960.
110. 110 S. State. Non-contributing element. Small two story Italianate commercial building stuccoed and completely modernized c.1960.
111. 108 S. State. Non-contributing element. Older single story commercial building stuccoed and completely modernized c.1960.
112. 104-06 S. State. Contributing element. 1914. Single story brick commercial building with step gabled front. Shopfront completely modernized below transom level.
113. 102 S. State. Contributing element. c.1910. Small single story Italianate commercial building with brick cornice and decorative paneled parapet.
114. 100 S. State. Contributing element. 1904. Beauxis Building. Single story Italianate commercial building with corner entrance, brick pilasters, panels, and a name-date tablet.
115. 107 Concord. Non-contributing element. Older single story brick commercial building, stuccoed, completely modernized c.1960.
116. 111-113 Concord St. Contributing element. c. 1925. Two story classical commercial building with four Tuscan pilasters supporting a full entablature. The building is surmounted by a shaped gable parapet. The shopfront has been completely modernized, which involved the removal of the bottom portion of the two central pilasters.
117. 115-17 Concord. Contributing element. c. 1905; first appears on 1907 Sanborn map. Two story brick Italianate commercial building with multiple brick cornices, brick panels, and segmentally arched windows. The shopfront has been replaced.
118. 119 Concord St. Contributing element. 1903. Two story brick Italianate commercial building with a bracketed cornice, decorative keystones, and an ornamental date tablet. Shopfront replaced.
119. Bank of Abbeville (1904). Contributing element. Two story brick Romanesque Revival building with an arched corner entrance flanked by towers. Each tower terminates in a conical metal top with a finial. The building also features rock-faced cast cement "stonework" and a blind arcade. Two relatively modern shopfronts have been added. These account for about half of the length of the ground story elevation.
120. Non-contributing element. Small cemetery that does not meet the criteria consideration generally excluding cemeteries from the Register.
BUILDINGS PREVIOUSLY LISTED ON REGISTER:
#s 23 & 24 (St. Mary Magdalen Church and Rectory) Abbeville Commercial Historic District: #s 74, 102, 104-119
Assessment of Integrity
The contributing elements in the district are in a fairly good state of preservation for the most part; those with serious integrity problems were counted as non-contributing. Most of the commercial buildings have been modified at the shopfront level, but such is the norm across the state and in other National Register districts.
Upon first glance, a non-contributing rate of 38% would lead one to question whether the district retained sufficient historic integrity (although it should be noted that there are other districts in Louisiana on the Register with similar non-contributing rates). Of course, one must look beyond mere numbers and instead examine the size and scale of the non-contributing elements and their impact upon the adjacent historic buildings, or vice versa. All but four of the non-contributing
elements are one story in scale, and most have a small footprint. (The four larger buildings are two stories.) Also, most of the non-contributing buildings are altered historic buildings and hence do not disrupt the rhythm of a given streetscape. As can be seen in the representative streetscape views accompanying this submission (the most important evidence), Abbeville has a strong historic character, despite a 38% non-contributing rate. Such is the case because the district's historic
buildings are usually larger and almost always more visually distinctive than the non-contributing elements.
Significant dates 1892 (coming of railroad)
The Downtown Abbeville Historic District is locally significant in the following respects:
(1) It is significant in the area of commerce because it was the focus of commerce for a large rural area. The period of significance under commerce spans from c.1905, the date of the earliest commercial buildings, to 1945, the fifty year cutoff.
Downtown Abbeville continued to be a major supplier of goods and services into the modern era when downtowns were supplanted by strip development.
(2) The district is significant in the areas of industry and transportation because its railroad/industrial corridor survives surprisingly intact to illustrate the economic foundation of the community. The period of significance in this regard spans from c.1894, the date of the freight depot, to 1945, the fifty year cutoff.
The buildings in question continued in industrial use up to and past the fifty year cutoff, and the industrial corridor remained the foundation of Abbeville's economy.
The two rice mills are also individually eligible as rare surviving examples of their type within southwestern Louisiana.
(3) The district is significant in the area of architecture because its CBD is easily the finest in the parish, exhibiting elaborate brickwork and a range and quality of commercial buildings not found elsewhere. The period of architectural significance spans from c.1905, the date of the earliest contributing elements in the CBD, to c.1940, the date of the youngest.
(4) Finally, the district is significant in the area of community development because in it one can read much of the story of Abbeville's development. Here the period of significance spans from c.1890 (the earliest buildings in the district as a whole) to 1945 (the fifty year cutoff).
As the seat of a large rural parish, downtown Abbeville obviously was a center of
commerce. It provided goods and services not only to its citizens (population of 4500in 1912) but also to the numerous rice farmers and other agriculturists in the area.
Downtowns such as Abbeville's provided virtually all the goods and services a person could need. General mercantile stores of the type once found in various extant buildings in the CBD carried everything from clothing, to furniture, to patent medicines, to buggy harnesses. Sanborn maps and other sources reveal that Abbeville had the usual range of more specialized commercial establishments one would expect in a good size town, as represented in the present building stock: furniture stores, hardware stores, drugstores, a bakery, the GET filling station, grocery stores, a
bakery, a blacksmith shop, a Wells-Fargo freight office, a lumberyard, a jewelry store, and the very important Bank of Abbeville, which obviously provided invaluable services.
Abbeville's role as a commercial center for the surrounding agricultural area, of course, increased immeasurably with the automobile age. In this respect the CBD represents a shift that occurred in rural Louisiana's commercial history. Prior to the automobile age, the focus of commercial history in rural areas was the ubiquitous country store. Although cars were in use in Louisiana in the first decade of this century, it was the 1920s that witnessed the full-scale arrival of
the automobile age, due largely to creation of the state's highway system in the early years of the decade. The comment of one rural housewife in another state on the importance of the automobile to farm folk is equally true for Louisiana. When asked to comment on the report that Americans owned more automobiles than bathtubs, she repined: "Well, you can't drive a bathtub to town." And increasingly, to town was where rural folk wanted to go. Even small towns, and certainly large ones
like Abbeville, offered far more in the way of shopping amenities and other services than could the isolated country store.
Among the most important resources in the district is the railroad/industrial corridor, which graphically represents the foundation of the town's economy -- the railroad and the large-scale rice industry that it made possible. The original freight depot survives to represent the critical importance of the railroad in shipping agricultural products to market. A photo appearing in an 1894 publication
shows it surrounded with agricultural freight. An accompanying chart shows the huge volume of what it labels "produce" that was shipped from Abbeville in the preceding year (1893). Included were sugar, cotton, rice and cotton seed.
The most important of these was rice, which, as noted previously, was the foundation of Abbeville's economy. Amazingly, the town's two rice mills survive, with one still in operation (although, one suspects, with new equipment). It should be noted that these mills were central factories which purchased rice from area farmers, processed it, and shipped it to market. Abbeville's two mills were originally independently owned and operated -- the larger known as the Planter's Rice Mill and the smaller, the Abbeville Rice Mill. In 1911 they became part of an amalgamation of 30 rice
mills in southwestern Louisiana known as the Louisiana State Rice Milling Company.
The present 1941 Modernistic office building was the headquarters for the firm (Whether Louisiana State Rice Milling Company was headquartered in Abbeville from the beginning is uncertain.) In addition to the two surviving rice mills being important because they illustrate the foundation of Abbeville's economy, they are important as rare surviving examples of a type within the southwestern Louisiana
rice belt. While there are numerous rice mills surviving in the area, it is exceedingly rare to find historic examples with any degree of integrity, much less two large brick facilities, one of which is elaborately detailed for an industrial building. The only other historic rice mills with any degree of integrity known to the SHPO are in the Crowley Historic District (NR), and in New Iberia, the Conrad
Rice Mill (NR). These, however, pale in comparison to the two in Abbeville in terms of representing the large scale of the rice industry during the boom years.
Also along the railroad corridor are a wholesale grocery warehouse and a lumber shed,
which obviously were built where they were to take advantage of the transportation advantages brought by the railroad.
The Abbeville CBD is locally significant in the area of architecture because it is by far the finest grouping of historic commercial buildings in Vermilion Parish. In fact, it is the only CBD of any size in the parish. The handful of other towns, all fairly small, have only a scattering of historic commercial buildings.
Factors that distinguish the Abbeville CBD within Vermilion Parish, besides its size, include:
(1) In contrast to the other CBDs in the parish, the majority of the commercial buildings in Abbeville are well detailed (particularly in terms of brickwork) and exhibit a recognizable architectural style (albeit a vernacular interpretation). Other CBDs in the parish are characterized almost exclusively by false front commercial buildings with little or no stylistic detailing. In this regard the
district's commercial vernacular Italianate buildings are particularly important because they constitute the only such collection in the parish.
(2) The CBD's centerpiece, the Bank of Abbeville, is easily the most architecturally
impressive commercial building in Vermilion Parish, and arguably, in a several parish area. It is the only commercial building with towers in the parish and one of only two non-ecclesiastical examples of the Romanesque Revival style.
The nominated district is also of local significance in the area of community development because it tells the story of much of Abbeville's development. And in so doing, it illustrates one of the various ways in which the coming of the railroad changed the face of towns in Louisiana. Many towns were literally created by the railroad, and in these towns the railroad corridor is the heart of the CBD, with a predictable pattern of commercial and residential development. In other instances,
towns actually relocated to be on the railroad. The particular pattern of mixed development found in Abbeville is peculiar to towns which were already well established when the railroad arrived. That portion to the north, the CBD proper (with its commercial buildings and church -- the heart of "old Abbeville") was the sole focus of the town until the coming of the railroad in 1892. The railroad was
built south of the CBD, and the area in between developed as largely residential, with the exceptionof the school and the fact that the commercial buildings on State Street expanded down the street tojoin the railroad corridor. Hence the nominated district is of special importance because it epitomizes a critical chapter in the town's development. And it should be noted that towns which developed along these lines (hybrid towns, so-to-speak) have a varied and complex building scape not found incommunities created by a single mode of transportation (for example, a railroad town).
The Gordy House (c.1888) is a two-story Queen Anne Revival style dwelling with notable Eastlake ornamentation. It stands on the corner of a busy intersection in a mixed-use neighborhood a few blocks from downtown Abbeville. Despite a 1920s remodeling which involved the enclosure of its double gallery and some later alterations, the house retains its National Register eligibility.
Although there is no one left in Abbeville who remembers how the house originally looked, Sanborn fire insurance maps and surviving architectural evidence indicate that it began as a two-story residence with prominently projecting rooms and a two story Eastlake gallery. This gallery had its own small attached entrance pavilion on the first level. The floorplan appears to have included an entrance hall from which a central hall extended toward the rear. This hall connected to a side porch which was located adjacent to the rear projecting room. Not including the entrance hall,
the first floor contained four rooms, with one located on the west and three on the east side of the structure. Most of the house's original exterior character survives intact, as noted below.
The stylistic elements which give the house its Queen Anne character include:
1) a marked verticality,
2) an asymmetrical footprint, as previously noted. The house has a linear, gable end,
main building mass with a boldly projecting polygonal bay with forty-five degree
corner cuts on the front and a squared off gabled projection on the rear. The west
side of the main building block is also articulated as a polygonal bay with forty five degree corner cuts.
3) a busy roofline created by the presence of cross gable massing and chimneys with
4) the front door, which features a large pane of glass outlined by small panes of
The home features vertical and horizontal boards emphasizing all its angles, thus
suggesting the influence of the Stick style.
The home's surviving Eastlake features include:
1) at least two mantels:
a) one featuring paired, reeded pilasters rising from corbelled bases and
surmounted by brackets instead of capitals
b) one featuring reeded pilasters, bull's eye and floral motifs on its corner
blocks, and geometrically incised lines on its entablature
2) a staircase with two large turned newel posts,
3) the above-mentioned front door, which features Eastlake ornamentation in addition
to its Queen Anne glass treatment,
4) brackets ornamented by plant motifs marking the 45 degree corner cuts of the
polygonal bays, and
5) very elaborate ornamentation within the peaks of three of the home's four gables.
Two are identical (those on the sides), and all three feature the same basic
patterns. These motifs include spindle screens crowned by radial designs formed
of small turned members, dowel rods, ball drop ornaments, and various cutout
designs, including four leaf clovers, circles, and other geometric shapes.
As noted previously, the house originally had a two story Eastlake gallery, as is clear from the architectural evidence and Sanborn maps. The gallery began at the front gable, extended probably three bays across the front, and turned the corner to meet the side polygonal bay.
According to the Sanborn maps, the loss of the gallery took place between 1923 and 1929.
Architectural evidence indicates that various other changes were part of this 1920s remodeling project.
This work included:
1) the joining of the entrance hall to the parlor, which was accomplished by removing
all but about the top three feet of the wall between the two, and the enlargement of
the dining room, completed by removing all but about the top three feet of the wall
between it and the central hall. Defining the edges of these newly created
openings are Eastlake columns undoubtedly salvaged from the front gallery and
split lengthwise to serve as pilasters.
2) the reconfiguration of the staircase. It is located in the former central hall (now part of the dining room), but is oriented toward the latter. This alteration necessitated the closing of a door between the hallway and west projecting room, and the replacement of the original back door with a large window.
3) the previously mentioned enclosure of the two-story front gallery. This was done
sensitively (or at least as sensitively as a porch enclosure can be done) because
the clapboards match and original windows were re-used. The Eastlake entrance
porch was reworked, and the old Eastlake door was moved forward. The newly
created space on the first floor was added to the enlarged parlor, while the second
floor space was used to create a small study and a large closet.
4) the replacement of all door and window surrounds in the original parlor, entrance
hall, and west projecting room. These newer surrounds feature reeded vertical and
horizontal members, and bull's eye corner blocks. The original surrounds, featuring
floral corner blocks, survive in the dining room.
5) the conversion of the door connecting the west projecting room to the former
gallery from a single door to double glazed doors.
6) the installation of a wall containing double glazed doors between the former
entrance hall and central hall, and the construction of built-in shelves on either
side of a new parlor mantel.
7) the construction of a downstairs bath at the rear (northwest) corner of the home
and a shed roof breakfast room adjacent to the rear projecting room.
8) the attachment of a carport next to the new downstairs bath. It apparently
connected to the lower story of the rear porch, but the porch's second floor
remained open. Much later, this second floor porch was converted into a modern
Few changes have been made by the current owners. They have replaced the carport,
moved the steps leading to the now totally enclosed former rear first floor porch, and modernized the kitchen.
Although the 1920s remodeling was admittedly extensive, the house retains sufficient
integrity from its original period of construction to merit Register listing. Of course, the most notable integrity issue is the removal of the Eastlake porch. But despite this regrettable loss, the house, from the principal exterior views, looks much as it did originally. Very importantly, it retains the majority of those features that establish it as a significant example of its style and period within Abbeville (its striking verticality and asymmetrical composition, with a boldly projecting front polygonal bay, and its quite elaborate gable peak ornamentation). In short, it is a very important example of the Queen Anne taste within Abbeville even without its gallery. As one of the town's most significant examples of the Queen Anne and Eastlake styles, the Gordy House is a strong candidate for Register listing.
A one-story frame guest house also stands on the property. Although its appearance is
historic, it was in reality constructed only within the last two years.
Significant dates c.1888
The Gordy House is locally significant in the area of architecture as a superior example of the Queen Anne Revival and Eastlake tastes within the parish seat of Abbeville. It derives this distinction largely from its striking verticality, complex massing and the elaborate and profuse ornamentation in its gable peaks.
The Lyons House (c.1890) is a two story dwelling featuring Queen Anne styling and
Eastlake trim. It stands on a large lot facing a busy through street within one of Abbeville's older neighborhoods. Although it has experienced some alteration since construction, it remains a strong candidate for National Register listing.
The home's original floorplan was asymmetrical. Its first floor contained a central hall and four rooms beneath cross gable massing (see attached sketch). Two of these rooms were located north of the central hall, while a third within this northern range projected toward the rear alongside a porch which extended the line of the central hall. The fourth room was located on the opposite, or southern, side of the hall. The second floor had a similar plan. The facade featured a double gallery.
On the rear a gallery extended along the main block to connect with the previously mentioned porch of the rear projecting room. Most of the home's original floorplan survives, with changes being confined mainly to additions at the rear. These will be addressed in the alterations section below.
The stylistic features which give the house its Queen Anne character include:
1) the above mentioned four projecting rooms and their accompanying cross gable
2) a polygonal bay located on the first story of the northern projecting space. This bay is highlighted by 45 degree corner cuts. In addition, the front projecting space has a curving front.
3) the presence of texture on some exterior surfaces. This texture is created by the
use of shingles in three different patterns upon the home's large curved front
facing projection and within its southern gable.
The home's Eastlake motifs include:
1) a front double gallery featuring cut-work gallery brackets with a Greek key motif,
abacus-like screens outlining the roofs, and boldly turned columns with unusual
abacus-like carving on their lower ends.
2) the front door, which features Eastlake motifs above and below a large glass pane
3) large solid brackets with floral motifs and ball drop ornaments decorating the 45
degree corner cuts and the front curving projection
4) two mantels
a) The more ornate of the two features paired elongated consoles, each of which is surmounted by a spindle which connects with an overhanging shelf bracket. This mantel's decoration also includes an abacus-like screen and an arcade motif displaying floral patterns within its spandrels.
b) The second mantel exhibits slender pilaster strips culminating in boldly
formed brackets. Each bracket is surmounted by a platform shelf which is
connected to the main mantel shelf by a pair of turned members.
5) door and window surrounds with both bull's eye blocks and blocks with floral
6) the interior staircase, which exhibits heavy turned and squared newel posts.
Other period features found on or within the home included molded cornices and
baseboards, beaded board wainscot in the central hall and within the stairwell, transoms above some doors, a set of pocket doors, small segmentally arched windows in three of the home's four gables, an entablature encircling the house at roof level and vertical boards emphasizing each corner of the building.
Sanborn maps indicate that alterations occurred on the rear elevation between 1923 and 1929. These appear to have included the enclosure and possible outward extension of part of the back porch to create a downstairs bathroom and a hallway leading to it. This change gave the first floor's plan a cross hall configuration. A later owner added a breakfast room and utility closet to the corner where the rear room meets the main block. This addition included the small side porch space which had remained after creation of the downstairs bath and cross hall. At some point, the home's chimneys were cut off below the roofline.
Alterations made by the current owner include the installation of a denticulated cornice and ceiling medallions in the parlor and dining room, the removal of the more dramatic of the home's two original mantels from the front projecting parlor to the side projecting den and its replacement by a mantel made of marble, the addition of a wainscot and construction of built-in cabinets in the den, the replacement of the ceramic tile around the fireplaces, the insertion of a stained glass window in
the downstairs bath, the modernization of the kitchen, the conversion of one upstairs room into a large bathroom and closet, the construction of another large closet adjacent to the rear bedroom and above the breakfast room, the insertion of antique French doors recycled from another Abbeville building into the breakfast room's exterior wall, the construction of a covered deck attached to the rear elevation, and the placing of canopies over several windows. In addition, the
owner re-installed the original staircase, which had been removed and stored for a number of years.
Because they have occurred at the rear or in the interior of the home, none of the above outlined changes have impacted the Queen Anne and Eastlake details which give the Lyons Home its architectural significance. Both its facade and three-quarter view survive virtually intact. The home's shingle treatment, unusually fumed gallery columns and Greek key motif brackets make it a stand-out among the period houses within Abbeville. Therefore, the Lyons House ranks as a prime candidate for National Register listing.
At a rear comer of the property stands a small frame building with French doors. Although its gallery brackets match the Greek key motif found on the home's double gallery, this structure was built relatively recently by the current owner. Thus, it is being counted as a non-contributing element for the purposes of this nomination.
Significant dates c.1890
The Lyons House is locally significant in the area of architecture as a superior example of the Queen Anne Revival style within the parish seat of Abbeville. It derives this distinction largely from its unusual and elaborate ornamentation.
Ovide Broussard House
The Ovide Broussard House (c.1899) is a one-story frame Queen Anne Revival style
cottage with profuse Queen Anne and Eastlake trim The dwelling stands on a large corner lot within one of Abbeville's older residential neighborhoods. Although it has experienced some alteration since its construction, the home remains eligible for National Register listing.
The home's floorplan is organized around a central hall with two rooms on the west side and three on the east. The rear east room and part of the middle room fill an ell attached to the home's northeast corner, giving the structure an "L" shaped footprint (see attached plan). Originally, a rear gallery paralleled this elf, extending the line of the central hall. Most of this gallery has been incorporated into an addition to the rear elevation. The small remaining area of the former gallery is now enclosed beneath a shed roof (see below).
The house displays its stylistic features on two sides and is meant to be viewed from a three-quarter angle. Queen Anne characteristics found on the home include:
1) complex massing. In addition to gables on the front and rear, the roofline features a front dormer with a flared roof suggesting an oriental influence and a faceted roof above one of the home's polygonal bays (see below).
2) a gallery which wraps around the side of the dwelling,
3) two polygonal bays. The front facing bay features 45 degree corner cuts. The
second bay, located on the side of the home facing a cross street, is surmounted
by the above mentioned faceted roof, which provides the visual suggestion of a
4) the presence of textured surfaces. These include a raised diamond motif within the
facade's gable, a sunburst motif within the dormer, and a slate roof.
The home's Eastlake decoration includes:
1) large brackets covered by vine motifs highlighting the front bay's 45 degree corner cuts,
2) the decorative treatment of the home's wraparound gallery and a second smaller
gallery located on the facade's west side. These galleries feature abacus-like
screens, turned columns, and cut-work brackets.
3) one surviving mantel. Its pilasters are emphasized by narrow posts surmounted by
brackets which support small shelves flanking the mantel's entablature. The
entablature itself is decorated by a bull's eye motif and incised stylized plant forms.
4) window and door surrounds with decorative corner blocks. The upper blocks
feature the bull's eye motif and scalloped tops with circular indentations between
the two. The bottom blocks have bull's eye and floral motifs.
Other period features found on the Broussard Home include gallery balustrades composed of cut-work members, an entrance featuring a double door with accompanying transom and sidelights, transoms with working hardware on the interior corner boards on many of the home’s angles, and wooden bands outlining the roofline and base of the structure.
The following alterations have been experienced by the Broussard House:
1) the construction of a shed roof sleeping porch on the rear elevation. Sanborn maps
show this feature, which destroyed the home's original "L" shaped footprint, in place by 1923. It is this addition which incorporated part of the rear gallery, as mentioned above. Sometime after 1929 a connecting shed roof garage was
constructed. The current owners have converted the sleeping porch into a den and
the adjacent garage into a bedroom.
2) the loss of most of the home's original fireplaces and all of its chimneys. In
addition, the home's only surviving mantel has been moved into the sleeping
3) the addition of a columnar treatment within the wide opening connecting the parlor
and dining room. This addition is composed of Eastlake columns rising from plain
bases. The columns were recycled from an original mantel removed from the
4) the addition of closets to the room within the front facing projection and the
subdivision of one large room to create two bathrooms, closets and a bedroom for
the owners of the home.
5) the closing of the original doors between the central hall and the above mentioned
6) the replacement of the clear glass pane within the door to the smaller front porch
and the pane in its accompanying transom with stained glass, the installation of
brick infill between the building's brick piers, and the installation of a French style hood above the kitchen door.
Although this list of alterations may seen long, practically all have occurred on the rear or within the interior of the home. Most importantly, the facade and three-quarter view are almost identical to that of c.1899, and all of the Queen Anne and Eastlake elements which give the Broussard House its architectural significance remain intact. The home's diamond texturing treatment and dormer with flared roof are unlike anything else within the community; and the polygonal bay with its faceted turret-like roof is also unusual. Finally, the abacus-like spindle screen
above the gallery is rare within the context of Abbeville. For all of these reasons, the Broussard House is a prime candidate for National Register listing.
Significant dates c.1899
Richard Cattle Auction Barn
The Richard Cattle Auction Barn (1946) is a large one story frame building located on the Vermilion River on the outskirts of Abbeville. Although there have been some changes, the auction barn still looks very much as it did when built. Also on the property, and included as a contributing element, is a small slaughterhouse built in 1937.
The broad low-slung auction barn has a distinctive profile. There is a low-pitch gable end section at the middle rising a few feet above a large low-pitch shed roof section on each side.
Livestock pens take up most of the shed roof sections; pens are also located toward the rear of the barn. A large auction arena spans much of the front of the building. Light and ventilation are provided via four windows high on the facade (the auction arena) and small windows along the sides of the higher central portion of the barn.
In fact, the central portion reads almost like a long monitor roof, albeit a broad and spreading one. An office is located at the front on the western side.
Cattle arrived at the Richard barn via trucks and barges. On the west side of the barn, behind the office, are two cattle chutes -- one for incoming and one for outgoing. Cattle entered the barn one at a time via the chute; then they passed single file down a corridor marked off by wood slats. While in line they were tagged. Then they were taken to holding pens (also made of wood slats with spaces between the slats) for prospective buyers to view from an elevated walkway. When
it was time for the weekly auction to begin, the animals entered the auction arena one at a time via a swing door. The round-shaped area where the cattle stood is surrounded by a steel railing on a concrete base. Behind it is a platform for the auctioneer and other personnel. Rising above the dirt-floored area for the cattle, in a semicircular, amphitheater fashion, is wooden seating for buyers.
After a given animal was sold, it was led to the weighing room beneath the auctioneer's stage. This smallish rectangular room has a steel grate on its dirt floor to give cattle greater footing. The weighing apparatus is not visible without descending down a small trap door. After being sold, cattle were sent to holding pens for eventual loading via the previously mentioned chute. As one would imagine with such a utilitarian building, the walls and ceiling of the auction arena and office are simply finished, in this case with flush boards. As mentioned previously, the cattle stalls and other "working areas" are formed of wooden slats with spaces between. The only areas of the auction barn with a ceiling are the arena and the office.
Alterations since construction include (besides general deterioration):
(1) The front and the office portion of the western side have been sheathed in a brickpatterned asphalt material. The original boards are beneath, and the owner plans to remove the simulation brick as part of an upcoming rehabilitation project. (Some of the boards are visible on the side office wall).
(2) When the present owner, the son of the builder, acquired the barn from his father's estate, the roof had caved in at the rear, damaging some of the cattle pens. He shored up the roof and removed the damaged pens to create an open area for his use in training horses.
(3) A third chute, suitable for more modern vehicles, was added toward the rear sometime before the barn closed in the 1970s.
(4) There have been a few minor equipment updates in the arena area (for example, an
electric board for displaying weights). Also, a makeshift stage has been set on top of a portion of the area where the cattle stood during an auction. It extends from the auctioneer's platform to rest on the steel railing. It will soon be removed.
Assessment of Integrity:
All in all, the cattle auction barn is well preserved. With its distinctive profile, its virtually unchanged auction arena, its weighing room and most of its original cattle pens, including the elevated viewing walkway, it conveys its historic identity and significance quite well.
To the rear of the auction barn, between it and the Vermilion River, is a small frame
slaughterhouse built by Mr. Richard in 1937. It is being counted as a contributing element because it represents the beginnings of Avery Richard in the livestock business and is obviously historically related to the main resource. Most of the slaughterhouse's original character survives despite its conversion into an artist's studio. Surviving is the basic form and fabric of the building plus such
purpose-defining features as hooks in the ceiling for hanging carcasses and a circular concrete basin sunken into the floor which was used for boiling and scraping. Alterations to the building include salvaged decorative doors and the installation of simple shelves in the front.
Significant dates 1946, 1937
St. Mary Congregational Church
The St. Mary Congregational Church is a small frame building located on the edge of a residential district in Abbeville, Louisiana. Built in 1905 to replace an earlier building, the church features elements of the Gothic Revival style of architecture.
Alterations have been confined to small rear appendages and to the interior.
The three bay, gable fronted church has a prominent corner tower. The three-stage square tower marks the entrance of the building and projects slightly from the front and side walls of the church. All three stages of the tower are ornamented with similar details. The first two stages have small projecting “roofs” or canopies that wrap around all of the exposed sides of the tower. These mock roofs, as well as the low-pitched pyramidal roof on the third stage, are all ornamented with brackets. The unusual design of these openwork brackets denotes a floral motif popular during the late Victorian era. Arches with pointed tops also decorate each tier of the tower, in the form of a window and door on the first floor and wood slatted vents on the second and third stages.
The church’s pointed top windows and front door should be viewed as Gothic Revival arched fenestration. The windows are evenly spaced on the front and two sides of the building. The thin muntins that divide the panes of colored glass in the windows are designed to give the impression that two narrow arches are grouped within the framework of one larger pointed arch. The window design is indicative of tracery work popular in Gothic and Gothic Revival architecture. The steeply pitched main roof is accentuated by plain bungalow type brackets at the front and rear gables, which would indicate an early re-roofing project.
The rear elevation has a gabled extension of unknown age. The minister indicated that it is a relatively new addition, but architectural evidence is inconclusive.
The extension, though shorter than the original church, shares the same weatherboard, decorative features, and windows. Within the last twenty years, two smaller additions have been added to the rear of the church to accommodate a kitchen/dining area and offices for the minister. Although these additions are obviously new, they are built of similar materials as the original building.
The interior of the church has been modernized to include a tiled ceiling and paneling. The ceiling has not been lowered, and the original beaded board wainscoting is still in place.
Assessment of Integrity:
St. Mary Congregational Church is being nominated to the Register as a rare example of the Gothic Revival taste in Vermilion Parish. Because it retains all of its original Gothic Revival features, there is no integrity issue.
Significant Date: 1905
The St. Mary Congregational Church is locally significant in the area of architecture because it is a rare example of the Gothic Revival style in Vermilion Parish.
Although its use is not entirely restricted to churches, the Gothic Revival style is most closely associated with religious architecture. The style’s popularity is largely the result of a reform effort, know as the ecclesiological movement, which originated within England’s Anglican Church in the 1830s. By the 1840s it had reached the United States, where it spread through the Episcopal Church. Proponents of the movement believed the Middle Ages to have been an “Age of Faith” in which devout people built “good buildings.” These “good buildings” (medieval Gothic Churches) were by definition Christian and were considered the most appropriate modes for church architecture. The movement’s tenets eventually spread beyond the Episcopal Church to indirectly influence members of many Christian denominations.
Thus, it is largely as a result of the ecclesiological movement that the Gothic Revival became the church style of choice for Victorians and later generations of Americans. This influence has lasted well into the twentieth century.
Vermilion Parish, although a long settled parish, is dominated by turn-of- the-century and later architecture. It has a complement of Queen Anne Revival and Craftsman (Arts and Crafts) residences.
However, the parish is largely lacking in resources reflecting the Gothic Revival style. According to the standing structures survey, only four of the 668 buildings over 50 years of age display Gothic styling.
Two of these four are undistinguished examples which have Gothic elements applied to their facades.
The St. Mary Congregational Church is one of the two remaining, more fully articulated examples. As a rare, though late, example of a popular national style, the St. Mary Congregational Church is an important building within Vermilion Parish.
The St. Mary Congregational Church also fits within a larger picture of evangelism and education in the South after the Civil War. The land and financing for the current building were given the St. Mary Church by the American Missionary Association (AMA) in 1905. The AMA, founded in New York in 1846, was a benevolent society whose goals were to abolish slavery and establish schools and churches for
minorities in the South and West. The association first appeared in Louisiana near the end of the Civil War where they concentrated their efforts in larger cities such as Baton Rouge and New Orleans and near forts and camps where large numbers of Native Guards (all black Union troops) were camped.
By the mid-1870s the AMA was dominated by Congregationalists. While their primary goal was to educate, they redoubled their efforts to build churches and to expand the membership of the denomination. By 1885, when the St. Mary Congregational Church was first established, there were thirteen AMA financed churches in Louisiana.
Today, very few of these congregations are still meeting.
To date, St. Mary’s is the only known all-black Congregationalist church still meeting in the state.
St. Mary Magdalen Church, Rectory, and Cemetery
Terraced to a slight rise above street level, the St. Mary Magdalen Church (1911), Rectory (1921) and Cemetery (c.1844). Complex presents a commanding appearance in the center of the small town of Abbeville. Despite some alterations and a new building to the rear, the church complex retains its National Register eligibility.
The symmetrical building has a three part facade and a central projecting tower with a louvered belfry and an octagonal spire. The church is an eclectic example of early twentieth century Romanesque Revival details implanted on a Gothic cruciform basilica. The body of the church is red brick with buff colored brickwork accenting the arched doors and windows, the corbel tables and the string courses. The slightly projecting buttresses stationed between aisle windows, at corners and continuing around the ambulatory reinforce the outer walls.
The eclectic theme continues throughout the interior featuring eighteen columns with
composite gold-leafed capitals. Arches springing from these capitals create arcades which separate the barrel vaulted nave and barrel vaulted aisles. The transverse arches define the six interior bays.
The sanctuary with a marble high altar is contained within a semicircular apse under a half dome.
(1) There was a fire in the apse in 1981 which necessitated redecorating
the sanctuary, including a new altar canopy.
(2) A terraced deck at the main entrance was added in 1961.
(3) There is new wood detailing in the narthex, including arches, doors,
and paneling. (The openings and walls themselves are original.)
(4) There is a low rear modern addition containing a prayer chapel.
Assessment of Integrity:
Most of these changes have been minor. The only exception is the addition to the rear, and this has very little visual impact because it is set to the rear and is low in profile. In addition to changes made to the church, the complex has received a modern ministries building. Although this is a non-contributing element, it is low in profile and set to the rear. (It is connected to the church via a breezeway.)
There is also a small modern shed immediately to the rear of the church. It is
The masonry three bay central hall plan rectory is basically an "American Foursquare." A double tiered gallery extends across the front and one of the side elevations. The second story gallery features Italian Renaissance arcading and teas relief oeil-de-boeuf motifs. Following the eclectic theme, French windows open onto the galleries from all adjacent rooms while all other fenestration is double hung sash. A geometric beveled glass double leaf front entrance introduces
the shoulder molded details of the interior. Although it has been necessary to reproduce portions of the woodwork, much of the original remains. The rectory is an integral part of the complex because it reflects the early twentieth century eclecticism seen in the church, albeit in a different style. It is listed as a contributing element.
The Church of St. Mary Magdalen was established on the present site in 1844. However,
due to an early fire, records were destroyed and the current parish records begin on February 20, 1854. The first burial was recorded on February 25, 1854 when Father Fotier recorded the burial in the parish cemetery of the son of Sevene Primeau. Although the present tombstones and monuments are largely twentieth century, nineteenth century wrought iron crosses, common in early Louisiana, are also in evidence. Therefore, it is believed that the cemetery is the only evidence of
the church's 1844 inception. In addition, collections of wrought iron crosses of the type found in the cemetery are considered very rare. For these reasons, the cemetery is listed as a contributing element.
TOTAL NUMBER OF CONTRIBUTING ELEMENTS: 3 (church, rectory & cemetery)
TOTAL # OF NON-CONTRIBUTING ELEMENTS: 2 (ministries building and shed)
Specific dates 1911 (church)
Builder/Architect Contractor: Eugene Guillot, New Iberia
Statement of Significance (in one paragraph)
St. Mary Magdalen Church is locally significant in the area of architecture within the context of Vermilion Parish. The almost complete survey of this rural parish has identified 501 historic structures, most of which date from the early twentieth century. Most of these structures are either bungalows, cottages, or plain single story commercial buildings. The survey indicates that there are no pretentious institutional buildings other than St. Mary Magdalen and only one other distinguished
example of twentieth century eclectic architecture. This is the Bank of Abbeville, located within a National Register district. The church is dominant within the parish not only for its use of polychromatic masonry construction, but for its sophisticated eclectic combination of Gothic and Romanesque Revival styling, following the current trends in ecclesiastical architecture. St. Mary Magdalen is not only an outstanding architectural landmark in the parish, but is also a local
landmark because its spire rises far above all other buildings in Abbeville.
Bank of Gueydan
The Bank of Gueydan (1902) is a two-story Romanesque Revival style commercial building located on a corner lot within Gueydan's business district. The masonry structure retains two remarkably well preserved arcaded exterior faces. However, the building’s original interior features have been lost. It is for its two public faces that the bank is being nominated to the National Register.
The bank's corner location necessitates that two of its exterior walls be styled, and the resulting design is meant to be viewed from a three-quarter angle. The public walls display a number of details which identify the building as a late example of Romanesque Revival styling. The most notable of these features are the heavy semicircular brick arcades which house the building's openings. These arcades pierce both stories of the structure on its two street faces. The lower arcade springs from tall piers decorated by horizontal raised brick bands. Each of this arcade's curving spans is articulated by a single raised semicircular band of bricks. The piers of the upper arcade are plain, but the arched windows are more highly decorated than those below. Each is articulated by a raised semicircular band of brick dentils, which in turn is outlined by a single raised brick band like that on the lower level. Other Romanesque features found on the building include a
double belt course (one of which is denticulated) between the first and second floor, a third belt course between the upper arcade and the corbelled table of the parapet, and the suggestion of a tower at the corner arched entrance. The latter is created by an inward break in the facade walls on each side of the entrance and is reinforced by the fact that the walls in this area rise slightly higher than the rest of the building. The piers at the entrance also help to distinguish the area, for they are both thinner and shorter than the other piers on the first floor. Other architectural details of importance on the bank's exterior include its watertable, an original side entrance door, and a crenelated parapet which hints at the Gothic Revival style.
Unlike the building's highly decorated street fronts, the bank’s rear elevation and side wall are extremely plain. The interior also lacks distinction, for the former first floor banking room has been virtually gutted. The three rooms of the second floor are equally plain, with the beaded board wall covering popular during the period of the bank's construction serving as this area's only notable feature.
Landry Plantation House
The Landry Plantation House is a French Creole house moved in 1981 to its present location on the Vermilion River just inside Vermilion Parish. Its original location was on Bayou Lafourche in Assumption Parish, about 125 miles away. The house has a bousillage upper story, with a reconstructed lower brick story. Based upon the few surviving stylistic clues, the house is being dated to c.1830. Despite some losses, it readily retains enough of its character-defining French Creole features to merit Register listing. And, fortunately, it was moved to an appropriate parish (i.e., a south Louisiana parish where French Creole houses would have been built). The present remote, rural setting is most compatible with the original. The principal difference is the orientation to a waterway. The house originally faced Bayou
Lafourche. Today it is sited with the Vermilion River at some distance to the rear (not visible from the house).
Regrettably, there is limited first-hand information on the 1981 move. Timothy Lank, who purchased the house and moved it, has lived abroad for several years. While there were no in-progress photos of the move available, the LA SHPO did have access to photos taken fairly soon afterwards, as well as two views of the house in its original location (one from before the move and one from c.1900). The upper story was cut in two and the roof was dismantled. Bricks from the lower story were moved to the new site and re-used to rebuild the brick lower story. It appears (from looking at photos of the house in its original location) that the brick story is the correct height (about 7 feet). The new setting is indeed quite remote, with the house being accessed via a roughly half mile dirt road.
The Landry House is of the largest type built in French Louisiana – i.e., a two story, hipped roof house where the upper story (the main living area) is set on a high brick basement. The latter typically was utilitarian in character. The
upper story is of bousillage construction with steeply angled braces in the French manner. The sides and rear are sheathed in weatherboard. The façade was originally completely covered in plaster (timbers now exposed - see below).
As was typical of finer French Creole houses, the façade featured a chair rail (now missing). Two diminutive dormers pierce the front of the spreading umbrella roof. The interior chimney is gone as are the mantels. The thin, slightly tapered gallery posts (with no capitals or other detailing) appear in the c.1900 photo and give every indication of being original.
The appearance of the now missing balustrade is documented in this photo as well.
Also, there are holes in the gallery posts where the balustrade was attached.
The façade features four doorways with transoms above. As is typical for French Creole houses, the openings are placed without regard to the gallery posts (i.e., no attempt at regularity or symmetry). The circa 1900 photo shows the façade openings filled with French doors and handsome paneled shutters. The gallery ceiling is typical in that it has exposed beaded ceiling beams but atypical at its edges, where short cross and diagonal members are found. (A similar but not identical treatment is found on the interior.)
The upper story (the main living area) has a typical French Creole floorplan with no hall. There are three unequal size rooms across the front, which is then repeated across the rear. The middle rooms are almost square (roughly 19 by 20 feet). The rooms to the north are roughly fourteen feet wide and 20 feet deep, while those to the south are quite narrow and deep (only about 10 ½ feet wide by 20 feet deep).
Millwork surviving on the interior includes sections of chair rail in some rooms and exposed beaded board ceilings. In one room the ceiling features short cross members at the perimeter.
The long vacant and deteriorating Landry house was moved with the intention of a full restoration. However, this did not happen, and the house remains unfinished.
The following will summarize the major losses and/or modifications:
1) As noted previously, the lower brick story was disassembled and rebuilt to what looks like the original height (roughly seven feet). While most of the bricks appear to have been reused, it also looks as if some are new.
2) It is impossible to know for certain that the lower story openings and floorplan were faithfully reproduced. The pre-move photo shows only one side of the lower story clearly, and here the openings do indeed match.
3) Photos taken fairly soon after the house was re-assembled on its new site show what appear to be the original windows on the upper story (12 over 8 and 9 over 6). Now these openings are filled with inappropriate windows with four horizontal panes. There are four windows on the upper story side elevation in the pre-move photo. Today there are only three.
4) The roof structure was completely rebuilt, using the original timbers and square nails. The old tin roof was flipped over.
5) The façade shutters, French doors, chair rail and balustrade are missing.
6) There are no mantelpieces – simply a big gap where the chimney once was.
7) Some of the bousillage interior walls are missing – perhaps as much as 10%, most notably a large hole between the middle and side room of the front range.
8) Missing sections of chair rail (interior) are marked by a line in the plaster. No interior doors survive.
9) The timbers bracing the bousillage were roughed up with an ax, indicating that the bousillage walls were originally finished with plaster (interior and façade). While some plaster remains, the timbers are today visible.
10) The weatherboards appear to be largely replaced.
Assessment of Integrity:
Without question the Landry House has suffered notables losses and replacement of original fabric, whether from years of neglect on its original site or as a result of the move and stalled restoration project. That said, the house still retains enough of its original fabric and Creole character to stand as a legitimate historic house. Character-defining features that survive in their original form (i.e., not reconstructed) are the hall-less floor plan, most of the bousillage walls with their steep angle braces, the façade’s French door openings that make no reference to the gallery posts in terms of placement, and ceilings on the interior and gallery with exposed beaded beams.
The move does not present an insurmountable integrity problem because the house remains in a South Louisiana parish settled by the French, and the new setting is rural and hence compatible with the original.
SIGNIFICANT DATES: c. 1830
The LeBlanc House (c.1845) is a medium size, story-and-a-half plantation house which
embodies both the French and Anglo-American architectural traditions. The setting is completelyrural. The house was recently sensitively restored and there is no integrity problem.
The LeBlanc House consists of: 1) a main one and one-half story, four bay, gable roofed house of "bousillage-entre-poteaux" construction, measuring 38 feet, 6 inches across the front by 38 feet in depth and facing east, 2) the original "outdoor" kitchen structure measuring 23 feet in width by 37 feet in depth. (This structure was probably moved c.1900 to its present location approximately five feet behind the main structure from some other position in the rear yard.) 3) a bedroom addition c.1900 which measures 18 feet, 6 inches wide by 18 feet in depth.
Stylistically, the main house is a classic example of mid-19th century Acadian architecture.
With exposure to the Anglo-Americans, by mid-century the Acadian's architecture began an evolution showing the introduction of one Anglo feature after another. The LeBlanc House is such a stylistic melange. Its features traditionally considered Anglo-American include: 1) the location of its two fireplaces on the exterior sidewall of the house, 2) the use of recessed four panel doors with
applied moldings, 3) the use of double hung "six over six light" sash windows, and 4) the wains "paneling" throughout its interior. Its features traditionally considered of French extraction are 1) its hall-less floor plan with two square major rooms to the front backed by smaller "cabinet" rooms to the rear on either side of what was a semi-enclosed rear "cabinet" gallery, and 2) the use of wrap-around or box type mantels in each of the two front rooms. Its features which are an expression of adaptation to the Louisiana environment are 1) its front and rear galleries, 2) its being raised 20 inches off the ground on brick piers, and 3) the use of flush boarding on the front facade to
protect the bousillage construction.
Distinctive architectural features which have no unique nationalistic affiliation are: 1) the exterior stair on the rear gallery, 2) the use of the two finished rooms of the attic as a boys' dormitory or garconier, 3) the extensive faux-boil and faux-marbe treatment of the doors, wainscotting and
mantels of the house, 4) the exterior color scheme which is an archaeologically based restoration; a) weather boards: yellow orche, b) columns, entablature, door and window enframements and sashes, lower sections of the banister railings and porch ceiling: a dark off-white, c) shutters and upper rail of the banisters: Paris green, d) porch floor: grey.
The original "outdoor" kitchen (now attached) is of heavy cypress construction weather boarded on the exterior and originally plank walled on the interior. This structure received "new" windows and doors during the c.1900 and c.1940 remodeling of the complete structure. The 1900 bedroom addition is typical of the period and features "bull's eye" corner block door and window
enframements, beaded center-match wainscotting and two over two window sashes.
Original Features Extant:
Floors, mantels, brickwork, bousillage, most plaster, attic stairs, window shutters, interior doors, ceilings, extensive faux bois and faux marbe paint ornamentation, banister railing, exterior weather boarding.
Archaeologically Based Restoration:
Front 2 pairs of French doors, front 2 pairs of door shutters, 5 sets of window sashes, all exterior and some interior paint, some interior plaster.
Specific dates c.1845
The Perry House (1840) is a two story frame Greek Revival residence located in a rural setting on the east bank of the Vermilion River in the small settlement of Perry. The site is characterized by numerous mature trees laden with Spanish moss. Despite some alterations, the house retains all of its original Greek Revival features.
It is a squarish hip roofed house with two front rooms and two rear rooms on both floors.
There are no hallways and originally there was no gallery, all of which is very unusual in a Louisiana Greek Revival house. There are two chimneys set in the middle of the house which service a total of eight fireplaces. Both the front staircase and the rear servant's staircase are original. The only typical Louisiana Greek Revival feature is the double parlor which is achieved through the use of a wide double door.
The house is entered via an elaborate aedicule style doorway with side lights, but no
transom, and pilasters with raised panels. The exterior culminates in a full entablature surmounted by the aforementioned hip roof. Windows downstairs are nine over six, while upstairs they are six over six. On the interior most of the principal doors and windows feature shoulder molded surrounds with pediment shaped tops. They also feature shoulder molded bottoms, which is fairly unusual. The
principal windows have panels set below the sill. The house retains all of its original mantels. They are in a fairly conventional aedicule style.
In about 1900 an Eastlake gallery encompassing the front and river side of the house was added. In the 1923's a board and batten kitchen was built just to the rear of the house. Recently this was connected with the house by means of an open breezeway.
Finally, the tops of the chimneys have been cut off below the roofline.
Assessment of Integrity:
Despite these changes, the Perry House still retains all of its original Greek Revival features. Moreover, it is still far and away the most impressive Greek Revival structure in Vermilion Parish. Although its overall style has been somewhat compromised by the addition of the gallery, it is such an outstanding example that it still merits listing in the National Register.
Specific dates 1840
Builder/Architect Builder: Robert Perry
The Narrows Plantation House
The Narrows Plantation House was built in the 1830s and completely remodeled between
1910 and 1912. It is now a one-and-a-half story galleried house in the Arts and Crafts style. It occupies an open prairie setting in extreme western Vermilion Parish and has received only minor alterations since the 1910-12 remodeling.
The 1910-12 remodeling was so extensive that it is difficult to tell much about the original house. Presumably it was about the same shape and size as the present structure. It appears to have had a central hall with two rooms each side and a front gallery overlooking Lake Arthur. Heavy hewn and pit sawn timbers can still be seen under the floorboards, and some of the original bousillage walls survive.
But virtually the entire visual character of the present house was determined by the 1910-12 renovation. As it stands the Narrows is an enormous cottage with a gables ended roof and galleries on three sides. The galleries are set under a continuous false gallery type extended roof, which lends additional complexity to the roofline. The attic rooms are lit by massive pent dormers which run nearly the length of the house. Exterior detailing is plain with simple square gallery posts and drop siding.
The Narrows' significance rests upon its Arts and Crafts interiors. The ground story consists of a large living room and a large dining room with a stair hall between. There is also a plantation office “shoehorned" under the principal landing of the staircase. In renovating the interiors, the designer made every effort to eliminate as much wall surface as possible and create an open floor plan. But this was not done in a haphazard way as it might have been under the Queen Anne Revival. The space was opened and articulated in a very axial and controlled way which reflects the influence of the Beaux Arts. One enters on axis with the staircase in the center of the main front. A secondary axial space unites the stair hall, the living room and the dining room through openwork piers and beams. This is linked with a third axis which runs through an alcove and the dining room.
Spaces are further united by opening the walls above the wainscot and by the extensive use of balustrade screens. In addition, the eye is carried from room to room by the pattern of the double frame beam ceilings which extends throughout the ground story almost uninterrupted.
The staircase is complex and boldly three dimensional, employing four runs of steps and four landings merely to ascend one story. It also makes extensive use of plain square teal balusters and heavy paneled newel posts.
All interior woodwork is of varnished cypress. Most of the walls feature a high paneled wainscot which, together with the other woodwork, gives an effect which is both Japanese and vaguely medieval. The living room and dining room terminate in projecting bays with window seats.
The house's single fireplace features a Craftsman-looking battered brick mantel. The second story has four bedrooms with more or less conventional turn-of-the-century details.
Since the 1910-12 renovation the following changes have been made in the house:
1. The old kitchen, which was connected to the west side of the house by a short gallery, has been reworked. Also, the gallery has been enclosed for a dining area.
2. A second story sleeping porch (east side) has been enclosed for a bathroom.
These changes have not affected the first story interiors, which are the source of the house’s significance.
Near the house are two dependencies, one of which has a large carport addition. Both
appear to be contemporaneous with the period of significance for the house, and hence are listed as contributing elements. There are also two relatively modern metal sided sheds. These are listed as non-contributing elements.
Specific dates 1910-12
Builder/Architect 1910-12 remodeling: John Macdonell (Builder)
Villien, Dr. Joseph Angel House
The Dr. Joseph Angel Villien House (c. 1895) is a one-and-one-half-story frame Victorian cottage in the Queen Anne Revival style. It stands on a generous parcel of land located on the outskirts of Maurice, a small village in Vermilion Parish. The home has received alterations since construction but retains its National Register eligibility.
Although the Villien family (still owners of the home) believes the house to have been built c. 1890 and remodeled to achieve its present Queen Anne appearance over the next few years, there is no conclusive architectural evidence to support this.
For the purposes of this nomination, the house will be dated to c. 1895.
Queen Anne features distinguishing the home include:
1. an asymmetrical floorplan accompanied by cross gable massing,
2. three polygonal bays,
3. a wraparound gallery, and
4. the presence of texture, created by:
a) the front gallery's elaborate Eastlake columns, balusters and brackets,
b) additional brackets (of a different design) above the forty-five degree corner cuts of the polygonal bays,
c) the use of corner boards on the angles of the polygonal bays,
d) decoratively molded chimney tops, and
e) the back gallery's cutwork balustrade.
The home's floorplan (please refer to drawing) has evolved over the years -- at least at the rear. The plan is organized around a central hall flanked by multiple rooms on each side. Sometime during the historic period there was an expansion/remodeling at the rear of the house, as is clear from a c. 1908 photo. The photo shows a gallery (partially enclosed) across the rear and continuing down a two-bay kitchen ell wing. According to family tradition, the rear was changed to its present appearance in the 1920s. Historic materials were evidently re-used, adding to the difficulty of determining with absolute certainly the exact evolution of this elevation. Apparently the old kitchen ell was incorporated *in the expansion. The re-worked rear features a gallery with a small room at one end. The gallery, with its Eastlake posts and brackets and a cutout balustrade, matches that shown in the c. 1908 photo. Presumably old materials were reused.
At some point the home's staircase, which was located in the north side rear (dining) room and turned at a right angle, was moved into the central hall and its configuration changed to a mostly straight flight with a sharp curve at the bottom.
It was also probably at this time that one room was finished in the attic area.
The building's interior decorative woodwork features molded door and window surrounds with bull's eye corner blocks, a wide opening surmounted by a seven light transom separating the parlor and dining room, four period mantels (one with overmantel) apparently chosen from catalogs, four-panel doors, and the stairs.
Recently, the home has been rehabilitated by a descendant of the original owner.
Work associated with this project includes the following:
1. modernization and relocation of the kitchen from the former "ell" to the third room on the home's north side (the former dining room), and relocation of the dining room to the north side's central space.
2. the replacement with storage closets of a bath created during the 1920s additions. The closets open into the central hall. The rest of the original kitchen (in the former "ell") has been subdivided to create a hallway and utility/butler's pantry. The hallway opens into the room on the corner of the rear gallery. A small Eastlake portico providing entrance to the new hallway has been constructed on the home's north side.
3. the installation of new floors in two rooms, as their older floors had been damaged beyond repair; and the installation of additional foundation piers at the rear of the home.
4. the subdivision of the south side rear room to create a small half-bath opening into the central hall and a larger master bath suite and closet connecting to the south side's middle room.
5. additional subdivision and finishing of the attic space and rebuilding of chimneys which had previously been cut off at the roofline.
Despite the modern changes, the home retains all of its Queen Anne Revival features.
It is these motifs that give the residence its architectural significance. As a landmark within the architectural heritage of Maurice, the Villien House is a strong candidate for National Register listing.
Six additional buildings on the Villien property are being classified as contributing elements because they appear to be contemporaneous with the home and served it as dependencies. All are located in a rough line behind the house.
They include a large mule barn, a potato shed, a "helper's house" (perhaps built before the main house was started and where a hired man later lived), a privy, a small building where power (presumably carbide gas) for the main house's lights
was generated, and a second large barn. All are made of wood (mainly board and batten) and have metal roofs.
Two more buildings are located on the property. These include a new (built in 1999) board and batten storage shed with metal roof and a late 1940s frame garage with an asphalt shingle roof. The latter served the house for only a brief time during the historic period and will soon be replaced.
SIGNIFICANT DATES: c. 1895
The Dr. Joseph Angel Villien House is locally significant as an architectural landmark within the Vermilion Parish village of Maurice. It achieves this distinction because of its rarity as well as its elaborate Queen Anne Revival decorative features.
Maurice is named for town founder Maurice Villien (father of the physician for whom the Dr. Joseph Angel Villien House is named). Maurice Villien was a merchant who had operated businesses in New Orleans and New Iberia before coming to Vermilion Parish. He also seems to have had landholdings in the area. Villien and his wife built a combination home and grocery store (not the candidate) at the present site of Maurice in 1870. Incorporation as a town came in 1911.
Electricity arrived in 1929. A private telephone service operated until Bell South absorbed it in 1946. Population was 330 in 1930, the first time the village was included in the census. It had risen to 478 in 1980, but has probably fallen since that date.
Today Maurice is a small village dominated by the four lane highway (US 167) which bisects it. The community has no central business district; instead, its few businesses are scattered on both sides of the highway. There are no commercial buildings of architectural interest. For the most part, the village's domestic buildings are equally uninspired.
A windshield survey of the community found a few simple bungalows, a number of simple frame cottages and asbestos shingled houses dating from the 1920s through the 1950s, some slab-on-grade ranch houses, many trailers, and eight dwellings showing the influence of the Queen Anne style. Of the latter, the candidate is by far the finest, for its stylistic details are more ornate than those found on any of the other examples.
John Villien Draft Card
Three members of the Villien family in Vermillion Parish, Louisiana registered for the military draft during World War I. Joseph's two eldest sons Jacques [James] and Albert, along with Joseph's brother Jean [John].
It's interesting to note the registration dates - all on September 12, 1918. On that day, Jean and his nephews must have saddled up or used a carriage or buckboard to traipse over to Abbeville and register together. Maybe they had an automobile or truck, which few did in 1918.
Albert Villien Draft Card
The armistice was declared November 11, 1918 so they were spared the incredible hardships of a troop ship to Europe and then the horrors of trench fighting the Kaiser's army.
Posted by Palmer at 9:42 AM