Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category

Hester House

One of the goals at Bryan Park is to be able to move an historic dogtrot-style home (the “Hester House”) onto the grounds and use it as a welcome center and local quazi-museum. The building requires some level of restoration and adjustments to make it “up to code” with modern federal and state laws.

It’s a delicate balance, because ideally the building should stay as true to it’s era (mid 1800s) as possible, but on the other hand, modern comforts such as air conditioning would be missed.

Back in November of 2008, Bill Bryan and Shelby McDuff, two of the main supervisors on the Bryan Park site, went with Walter and Anne Ballard (both descendents of the Hesters who once lived in the dogtrot) and Dr. Susan Roach, a folklore professor at Louisiana Tech University.

Walter Ballard, Dr. Susan Roach, Bill Bryan & Anne Ballard

Walter Ballard, Dr. Susan Roach, Bill Bryan & Anne Ballard

The group explored the old home inside and out, evaluating the viability of the building for a potential move to the Bryan Park site. Reports of some termites, minor weather damage here and there, but overall many believe that the building is not only capable of being moved, but also of being rennovated and put to good use at the park.

The house aside, the Hester family is prolific in Downsville history. According to The Gazette, Centennial Edition (October 9, 1939, Section 5) in their article entitled “Downsville named for General Downs,” J.T. Hester was actually one of the first to settle in the Lower Pine Hills region in 1843, when he came with his family from Alabama. While the Hester house is actually a bit younger than this 1843 date, the fact remains that the Hesters were still one of the oldest families to settle in the region.

More coming soon . . .


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We are making an effort to preserve some local history as we develop Bryan Park in Downsville, and one of the projects underway by the local nonprofit, in collaboration with park development, is to move some older buildings onto the park property to restore and use in some form. The McFarland Corn Crib is destined to be moved onto the property eventually. You can see an old photograph of the McFarland Corn Crib, and below that image, I have included a brief explanation of corn cribs and their purpose.


A corn crib or corncrib is a type of granary used to dry and store corn.
After the harvest, corn, still on the cob, is placed in the crib either with or without the husk. The typical corn crib had slats in its walls. These slatted sides of the corn crib allow air to circulate through the corn, both allowing it to dry initially and helping it to stay dry. The slats expose the corn to pests, so corn cribs are elevated above the ground beyond the reach of rodents.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_crib

I will also be including another post about the Hester House, which we hope to use as a Welcome Center and quazi-museum for Bryan Park. 

Jennifer Reed, AmeriCorps*VISTA Volunteer

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