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Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society

Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society

Parish Plat Book, Shell Beach Drive

Parish Plat Book, Shell Beach Drive

By MK

This image, courtesy of CHPS Board Member Trent Gremillion, shows Shell Beach Drive West of Lake Street as well as a portion of the Calcasieu River.

Before the Port of Lake Charles was established, the Calcasieu River flowed south from Lake Charles in a series of wide oxbow bends.  Efforts to straighten and deepen the river meant cutting through bends for shortcuts.  That effort changed the nature of the lake which had been a freshwater lake edged with cypress and tupelo trees.

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Postcard image of Boat Club in Lake Charles

Postcard image of Boat Club in Lake Charles

By MK

This postcard shows the boat club on Lake Charles.

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Black and white photo of bridge

Black and white photo of bridge

By MK

From the collection of CHPS Board Member, Trent Gremillion, below is a black and white photo of the bridge connecting Shell Beach Drive to Westlake.

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Walnut Grove in 1906

Walnut Grove in 1906

By MK

The route for the Old Spanish Trail took a 90-degree left turn onto Front Street (now Lakeshore Drive), crossed the Pithon Coulee Bridge into Margaret Place (then just being developed) and skirted the lake to what was called “the Shell Beach at Walnut Grove,” where the Port of Lake Charles City Docks are now located.

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Vacationing postcard from Shell Beach

Vacationing postcard from Shell Beach

By MK

This hand-colored postcard was mailed in 1908. 

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Shell "Road"

Shell "Road"

By MK

 An extensive oyster shell midden or mound was located near to where the Lake connected to the lower part of the Calcasieu River at the foot of Shell Beach Drive.  This midden not only gave the road and area its name, but was also reportedly the location for several Indian skeletons, pottery and arrowheads.  Part of the midden was used to build a shell road eastward to the settlement at Lake Charles.

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View along the River

View along the River

By MK

The Old Spanish Trail route was heavily used until mid-century Highway 90 improvements and relocation, and the Old Bridge itself was partly demolished sometime after the “new, crossed-pistol bridge” was opened in 1951. (You can still see some of the western shore arches at the end of Shell Beach Road.)

For nearly a half century, this roadway was the primary routing for commerce and transportation cross-continent along the Gulf coast and southern United States. That busy highway is now near forgotten, but the rare beauty of Shell Beach Drive remains.

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First bridge over the Calcasieu River

First bridge over the Calcasieu River

By MK

This is one of two postcards showcasing what was then the "new" bridge over the Calcasieu River between Shell Beach Drive and Westlake.  

The Old Spanish Trail route was heavily used until mid-century Highway 90 improvements and relocation, and the Old Bridge itself was partly demolished sometime after the “new, crossed-pistol bridge” was opened in 1951. (You can still see some of the western shore arches at the end of Shell Beach Road.)

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Lover's Lane

Lover's Lane

In 1888, “Lovers’ Retreat” was completed.  This was a long, winding bridge over Pithon Coulee that began at the foot of Front Street and Clarence and ran south and west over a dense cypress swamp.

The elevated footpath was built with supports and handrails nailed from tree to tree.  On the western end, the footpath connected with the old shell road.

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Young lady on Shell Beach Drive

Young lady on Shell Beach Drive

Young lady on Shell Beach Drive.

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623 Shell Beach Drive

623 Shell Beach Drive

The Walker Home

623 Shell Beach Drive

The Walker House, circa 1927

The stately large house is in the Scottish Balmoral-Tudor style which makes extensive use of leaded glass, brick-and-stucco exteriors, and intricate slate roofs.

Noteworthy on the main façade is the use of art tiles in a Tudor-rose and eglantine-tree of life pattern. 

A distinctive feature of the house is the sweeping gable on the lake side.

In addition to the main three-story house (two floors are on tour on the Palm Sunday Tour), there is a similarly-styled garage with workshops and apartments in the rear, and a boathouse.

813 Shell Beach Drive

813 Shell Beach Drive

The Reinauer home

813 Shell Beach Drive

The Reinauer House, circa 1907

This property was part of an early Spanish land grant, and in 1907 this particular lot was bought by John L. Farque who had the house constructed for his new bride.

In 1923, he sold the property to Charles Schrubbe. The Schrubbe heirs sold the house to Henrietta Clarke in 1958. Sue and Jack Watson bought the property in 1969 and the current owners, the Reinauers, in 1971.

The property was mostly unoccupied from 1957 until the Reinauers bought it with the intention of using it as their family home.

The house is a type referred to as a “raised-center hall cottage” and it was constructed of long-leaf yellow pine and cypress.

811 Shell Beach Drive

811 Shell Beach Drive

The Raggio Home

811 Shell Beach Drive

The Raggio House, circa 1905

In 1984 the house was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. John Raggio who were pledged to return the house to its original look.

They reconstructed the wooden porches, replacing the inauthentic concrete porches that had been installed in the 1930’s, and removed the outside metal staircase that provided access to the apartments.

Much work was also done to upgrade the gardens and to furnish the interiors.

In style, it has been called an American foursquare with the added touch of broad double galleries.

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1200 Shell Beach Drive

1200 Shell Beach Drive

The Fontenot Home

1200 Shell Beach DriveThe Fontenot House, circa 1935

The original owners G. W. and Ruth Holleyman called the distinctive house at 1200 Shell Beach Drive “Lake Haven”.

The house is built in the Georgian revival Tidewater style and occupies an acre lot directly on the lake.

The one-and-half story red-brick structure was built for $11,400.

All the wood used in the house is cypress, except for the white oak and red oak flooring throughout.

The Holleyman’s granddaughter, Nancy is married to Wendell Fontenot, and they are the current owners of this treasure.

 

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823 Shell Beach Drive

823 Shell Beach Drive

The Boyer Home

823 Shell Beach DriveThe Boyer House, circa 1947

The 1947 brick house with four columns served the Digiglias and their two children Ellie and J. W. as the family homeplace for nearly 50 years.

Interestingly, the house was featured in the February 5th, 1966 New Yorker magazine ad for Hiram Walker whiskey, due probably to its classic revival lines that harkened back to gracious times and stylish living.

The elegant, understated interiors and furnishings are the work of the current owners, Claudia and James Boyer.

Architect John Gabriel designed the home. In last year’s Margaret Place Tour, his 1953 design for the Gerard family (Molly and Gus Quinn’s home) was featured. In the 2011 Tour, his design for the Levy house on 11th Street (currently the home of Randy Foster) was on tour. The Palm Sunday Tour of Homes salutes the remarkable legacy of one hundred year old John M. Gabriel, a pioneering area architect with hundreds of commissions in Louisiana and Texas..

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Powers thousands of sites worldwide

Powers thousands of sites worldwide

From corporate sites to "big league" magazines & portals

By Temp

Frontpage Slideshow is used in websites visited by millions of people everyday around the world like Linux.com, BettyConfidential.com, the World Health Organization and many more. This slide is linked by default to a menu item, which is part of the default Joomla! sample data.

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Brimston Museum, Sulphur Parks and Recreation

Brimston Museum, Sulphur Parks and Recreation

2004

Powerful, yet simple to use

By Temp

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Frontpage Slideshow is Search Engine Friendly!

Frontpage Slideshow is Search Engine Friendly!

…And iPhone & iPad friendly too!

By Temp

Unlike Flash based slideshows, Frontpage Slideshow uses CSS and Javascript wizardry only. The content of the slides is laid out as html code, which means it can be crawled by search engines. The proper usage (and order) of h1, h2, p (and more) tags will make sure Google (or any other search engine) regularly indexes your latest/featured items.

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Frontpage Slideshow

Frontpage Slideshow

Eye-candy for any Joomla! based website

By Temp

Frontpage SlideShow is the most eye-catching way to display your featured articles, stories or even products in your Joomla! based website.

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