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Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society

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1518 Griffith

In the 1500 block of Griffith Street, 1518 Griffith, to be exact, located in one of the oldest subdivisions of Lake Charles, Margaret Place, sets a post-card perfect New Orleans style cottage house. This cottage sits on what the original 1518 Griffithabstracts call Lot 1 of Margaret Manor subdivision which was part of block “C” which lay at the corner of Griffith and what was then called Allen Avenue (now Wilson Street).

The abstracts, as well as the daughter of the original owner of the property Harry L. DeWitt, state that Lot 1 was sold to Mr. DeWitt in 1926 by Mr. Paul A. Moss. According to Mr. DeWitt’s daughter Mrs. Jean McGraw Todd, who spoke with the present owners in 2003, Mr. DeWitt resided there from 1926 until 1942. The cost of the lot in 1926 being $7.000.00. Thus, the home itself can be dated circa 1926 or shortly thereafter, according to Mrs. Todd’s recollection.

There seems to be a 16 year gap in the abstracts, but according to Mrs. Jean McGraw Todd, daughter of Mr. DeWitt, she and her children lived in the home during World War II when her husband was in the service. Her father, a Mr. McGraw, being the owner at the time. Their memory was of an alley way between Shell Beach drive and Griffith Street which connected the two . One can notice to this day the water meters on Griffith street that still serves a residence on Shell Beach. Griffith Street, then, was a primary location for city utilities, water, gas and garbage pickup.

 

In 1958, the residence turned a new page and for 37 years became the Watson House. Richard Edward Watson and his wife Jane Stiffell Watson purchased the home from a Mr. William Beyer. Mr. Richard Watson died in 1974. Three years later Jane Watson sold the home to Mrs.Sarah Glenn Buck Watson who resided there until her death in 1995.

In 1996 a young lady by the name of Catherine Parino Rue purchased the home and updated air conditioning, had the floors inspected and leveled as well as other needed maintenance. In June of 1998 the home was sold to the present owners, James and Linda Lueckenhoff who have added the above mentioned items, carport and garden wall. However, it remains for many the Watson House because of the ;Watson connection with the old Borden Ice Cream Company formerly located on the corner of Park and Ryan Street (now an ICCS parking lot). The house was a gathering place for the Watson’s family and friends.

The house itself is in mint condition. The stucco is of cement which was period for that time. The twelve over twelve windows are original to the structure as well as the exterior wood work. The present owners James and Linda Lueckenhoff have added the carport as well as the garden wall and gate. The shutters are of western cedar and are operable. They replaced the original shutters after Hurricane Rita in 2005.

In 2010 Mr. Lueckenhoff painted the home Pontalba Rose from the Vieux Carre palate of Sherwin-Williams. This palate of colors has approval of the French Quarter Historical Committee as an authentic replication of the French Quarter style. The trim is Tolouse Street Cream, also from the Vieux Carre palate. The accent color is a variation of New Orleans green.

As mentioned above, the home is for many the Watson House. This was brought home to Linda Lueckenhoff when she invited her realtor and long time friend of Sarah Glenn Watson , Cleary Hinton, for lunch. Broccoli soup was served and Cleary remarked, “My, what a coincidence.” “This is like old times”, she reflected. Going on to say, “I ate many a bowl of Glenn Watson’s broccoli soup in this house.”

Thus the tradition of home and hearth at 1518 Griffith Street lives on.