Dorcheat Historical Association Museum
The museum is a block south of U.S. Highway 80, which runs parallel to Main Street in Minden. Highway 80 began in 1914 as the "Dixie Overland Highway" to link the American South with the Pacific Coast. The historical association and the museum are named for nearby Dorcheat Bayou, an approximately 120-mile stream that runs from southwestern Arkansas into Lake Bistineau and is sometimes called "the heart of Webster Parish".
In the 1920s, the museum site was the newspaper office and was next door to what was once occupied by the defunct Rex Theater, owned by Edgar Beach Hands (1905–1972). The Rex later moved to Main Street until it was razed in the early 1970s to provide additional parking for Minden Medical Center. During the 1950s, the former Joy Theater was next door to what is now the museum.
Exhibits and programs
The museum opened in June 2008 and uses the motto "Preserving Our Past for Our Future." It features pioneer artifacts, including a model steamboat on Dorcheat Bayou, a log cabin, furniture, clothing, and material from the American Civil War era. There are exhibits on local theaters, none of which still exist, and the Coca-Cola Bottling Company outlet on Pine Street owned by the family of Larry Hunter (1896–1971). The facility no longer manufactures drinks in Minden but serves as a company distribution point. Another exhibit is dedicated to the year 1933, when Minden was struck during the Great Depression with a bank failure, a fire, and a major tornado. Businessman Thad Andress, a descendant of a prominent family which formerly held the Ford dealership in Minden, and Schelley Brown Francis, the museum director, have been seeking to add new exhibits in the remaining available space. In 2013, the adjacent building was purchased giving the museum twice as much space for potential growth in the future.
The Dorcheat Historical Association holds meetings five times a year, in January, February, March, April, May, September (the GALA fundraiser), and October (the final speaker for the year) on the second Monday evening of each month, with area speakers discussing various aspects of local history. The gatherings, called "Night At The Museum," are free to the public, but donations are encouraged.
In the spring of 2008, Daniel Webster Nation (1922-2014), a scion of an old Minden family, spoke on local railroad history. On August 10, 2009, Carleton H. Prothro, a retired colonel and former social studies teacher and administrator at Minden High School, delivered a well-received monologue on humorous experiences from his educational career. On October 12, 2009, Lonnie Milton Simpson (born 1937), former principal of the defunct William G. Stewart Elementary School in Minden, discussed the history of his native Cotton Valley in central Webster Parish. On the weekend of November 6, 2009, the museum held a 1930s-style dance marathon at the Minden Civic Center on Broadway Street as part of fund-raising activities.
Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday and closed on Saturday (but open on Saturday by appointment for special meetings and functions). Thee is free admission, and group appointments are available.
The museum was active in the annual "Ghost Walk" formerly held the second Saturday of November at the historic Minden Cemetery.
Minden has an Historic Residential District in a section of East and West Street near Academy Park and the Webster Parish Library and the eastern parts of Main and Broadway streets.
There is a second history museum in Minden, the Germantown Colony and Museum, which focuses on a Utopian settlement that flourished northeast of Minden from 1835 to 1871.
- Brochure, Dorcheast Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, LA 71055.
- Bayou Dorcheat. Retrieved on August 24, 2009; material no longer on-line.
- John Agan. Dorcheat Historical Museum. nwlanews.com. Retrieved on August 26, 2009; material no longer on-line.
- Major Louis de Pingre. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on April 8, 2020.
- Dorcheat Historical Association & Museum, Inc.. museuminminden.blogspot.com. Retrieved on April 8, 2020.
- Museum exhibits, Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, Minden, LA.
- A Night for the Museum with Carleton Prothro. upcomingl.yahoo.com. Retrieved on August 26, 2009; material no longer on-line.
- The Old Minden Cemetery: A Lesson in History. Minden Cemetery Association. Retrieved on April 8, 2020.
- Mission Statement: Historic Residential District. mindenhrd.blogspot.com. Retrieved on April 8, 2020.
- Dorcheat Historical Association & Museum - official site