Tour kicks off string of Centennial events

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, June 25, 2014

All of the hours of planning and preparation paid off in a big way as visitors enjoyed a delightful afternoon on Sunday’s Centennial Tour of Homes. Carol Duke and Greg Genco, co-chairmen of the event, selected homes which provided a cross section of life from the early years of Bogalusa’s rich history, all of which were in top form for the festivities.

One of Bogalusa’s more colorful residents in times past was a quite eccentric fellow by the name of Delos Nobles.

According to Joanie Miller, “Delos would hop into the back seat of a car stopped at a red light and tell the puzzled driver where he wanted to go.”

Apparently Delos was well known in the area for his odd ways.

Miller stated, “He could be found walking the streets picking up coke bottles to sell at the coke plant.”

Rumor has it that Delos would sell the bottles, get his money and take the bottles with him when no one was looking. This interesting character passed away in 1991, but his legend lives on.

The Nobles House, circa 1908, once home of Nobles, is an example of the “Shotgun” houses built by the Goodyear family to house workers for the Great Southern Lumber Co. sawmill. The worker’s homes were built from virgin pine harvested in the surrounding forests. Stan Wilson owns this historic house and is in the process of renovating it to its former state. This home is one of the few remaining shotgun houses still containing the original millwork and floor plan. Filled with period furnishings and historical items, the Nobles House furnished visitors a peek into the life of mill workers in the early years of Bogalusa.

Standing in stark contrast to the humble abode of the mill workers was the grand estate originally owned by the Charles Goodyear family of Buffalo, N.Y. Ronnie Glenn Penton purchased this exquisite property in 1992 and restored it to its former grandeur. In 2000 Penton completed an extensive renovation doubling the size of the original house. At this time a larger living area, veranda, porch, pool, cabana, French barn and wine cellar were added to the existing property.

Eleanor Duke, centennial tour hostess, pointed out the attention to detail that make this home truly remarkable. Will Branch was responsible for the marvelous woodwork in the Penton home, much of which has been reclaimed from other historic sights. The bead board ceilings are one example of this practice. Branch stated, “The marble counter top was reclaimed from the Federal Courthouse on Royal and Conti Street in New Orleans.” The obvious pride that Branch takes in his work and the reclaiming process added to the interest and beauty of this lovely estate.

When exiting the main house the tour had barely begun as the grounds, pool, wine cellar and various outdoor amenities made this truly a delight for visitors. This property also holds the original cabin, built around 1898, where the Goodyears lived as the Great Southern Lumber Co. was birthed. As with all great things, much planning went into the creation of the Great Southern Lumber Co. and Bogalusa. Most of it was done within the walls of this cabin.

The Mullings home was built in 1913 and was the first house built in the area. In the early part of 1900 the majority of the surrounding property was timberland. Mr. Mullings worked for the railroad and wanted a house close but not too close to the business area.

The contractors for the Mullings’ home were Earhart and Jenkins. The construction began on March 31, and the house was completed on June 6 of the same year. This house was built with heart timbers and was said to be the house that was built on faith and hope.

This home and property stayed in the Mullings family until the 1980s.

From the entry and beyond this home says welcome as do the lovely ladies who graciously invited friend and stranger alike into their home. Virginia and Katherine Dunn, owners, delighted in sharing anecdotes of the renovation process and paintings of their maternal grandmother Elaine Gelpe. Virginia stated, “We were able to save and use the original floors, pocket doors and fireplaces.”

When asked if another renovation project was in the future, Virginia laughingly answered, “Well, I don’t know. It was a lot of work, and I may not want to live with my sister forever!”

Marilyn Crews, sitting nestled into a comfy sofa taking in all the attractive décor, stated, “I am really enjoying the tour. I live down the street and have watched the transformation process. A nursery school was here at one time, but they moved it down the street.”

According to Virginia the house had fallen into disrepair and needed quite a bit of work. Katherine and Virginia’s mother, the “Susan” of Susan Dunn Interiors, completely restored the home in 2012.

Guests to the Berenson Home on North Columbia Street were delighted by the sweet melodies from Judy Seghers’ harp as they entered this lavishly decorated home. This 5,210-square-foot, two-story, Federal style house was designed by Andrew M. Lockett Jr., a prominent New Orleans architect. Myer and Eva Berenson commissioned Lockett, and construction began in the fall of 1939. This magnificent home was completed in September 1940.

Bob Neilson, a local CPA, purchased the home in 1998. He began a restoration of the house shortly after and completed the process in May 2000. Bob and Jan Neilson have decorated the home with exquisite furnishings and artwork from around the globe.

The Neilsons’ attention to detail was evident in every room. Beautiful floral creations added to the lovely décor. Several beautiful Tiffany lamps were of particular interest to visitors.