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Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society

New National Register Listing, Cash Grocery and Sales, Co

Restored LC Landmark now listed on National Register of Historic Places

New National Rester ListingThe Cash Grocery and Sales Co. warehouse at 801 Enterprise Blvd. has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, said Rick Richard, owner of the structure.

Richard said he was officially notified July 1 of the listing on the register, which is part of the National Park Service.

“We’re thrilled to have the recognition for a place that was so important to the commerce of Lake Charles,” Richard said.

Cash Grocery and Sales is the 15th Calcasieu Parish listing on the National Register. The last building to be added was Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Lake Charles in 1994.

The Cash Grocery restoration had previously been recognized with an award from the Louisiana Trust for Historical Preservation and a Landmark Award from the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society.
The 1930s building was restored and adapted for new uses, including rentals for various types of events and for a farmers market.

Richard wanted to adapt it to a productive use to help reinvigorate a once-thriving Enterprise Boulevard business district that extended from Broad Street to Interstate 10.

He said the farmers market has been a success, with local farmers gathering to sell produce 5-7 p.m. Tuesdays. The number of farmers bringing in fruits and vegetables has grown from six to 10. 

Among the historic features of the building is its clerestory lighting — an architectural term for providing natural lighting to the inner space of a large building.

In medieval times, clerestory lighting was used in such buildings as Roman basilicas or the naves of Romanesque or Gothic churches.

The Cash Grocery and Sales property was separated from the public domain by the first owner, James B. Kirkman, on July 27, 1869, according to A.C. Bourdier of the Calcasieu Historic Preservation Society.

His research showed it has been owned by two other people and several railroads before Cash Carry and Sales received a surface lease from the Missouri Pacific Railroad on Dec. 1, 1936.

The property was previously the site of a cotton gin, seed warehouse and other supporting structures. The present building was designed in 1936 by Dunn and Quinn, Architects and Engineers. 

The original cost of the building was $16,681.63. It was built for V.J. Kurzweg of Cash Grocery and Sales Co. of Consolidated Companies Inc. of Plaquemine, Bourdier said.

It opened in 1937 and supplied bulk supplies to momand-pop grocery stores, bakeries, drugstores and package liquor stores for several decades. Another of the customers was the Calcasieu Parish School Board.

In 1992, the building was listed among the 11 most endangered sites by the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society.

In addition, it was one of the buildings featured in a program sponsored by a grant from the National Park Service and the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development for fifth-graders called Vanishing History. It studied its architectural detail.