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Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society

1010 Enterprise Blvd, The Brennen Home

1010 Enterprise BoulevardThe spacious grounds of the home at 1010 Enterprise Boulevard are part of the appeal of this imposing prairie-style Queen Anne house. Five lots of the “Watkins Addition” were purchased to provide the necessary space for this home’s extensive front and back yards. The house itself was built at the turn of the last century by the Gaunt family, early pioneers in Calcasieu education with several members serving as teachers in various school systems.

The location for the house on “Boulevard,” the eastern edge of old Lake Charles, was not by chance. Just a few blocks from here are the grounds of the first “Lake Charles High School” at Sixth Street and Boulevard, and of Central School at Kirby at Kirkman. For over a hundred years, this house saw the changes of the neighborhood, from original prairie, to the planting of live oaks and landscaping of Boulevard as an early project of the Enterprise Club (the oldest civic club in the area) by which “Enterprise Boulevard” got its name, through the street’s business and commercial phase, and now as a rescued and restored living neighborhood rich with mature plantings and tradition.

The current owners, Chris Brennan and Chelsea Laughlin, saw the value and potential of this two story gem. Previous owners had upgraded much of the electrical, plumbing and other services, and had insulated the house, affording the couple an open book for personalizing the structure to their own tastes. The interior was freshly painted, the hardwood floors were restored and refinished, and a laundry room was repurposed into an additional bathroom. Longleaf pine floorboards salvaged from one bedroom were converted to a clever bar backsplash.

Prairie-style Queen Anne houses were designed to provide an oasis for family life. This sort of house would typically be constructed in small towns and in rural areas and were popular on farms and ranches. The concise floor plan provided for all the amenities of nineteenth century life: working enclosed kitchen, fireplaces and chimneys for wood stoves, private bedrooms, functional public rooms, and even bathrooms. Large windows, a layout that permitted ventilation in pre-air conditioned days, and generous porches provided the needed space for all the activities of a typical turn-of-the-century family which included parents, several children, perhaps servants, relatives and visitors.

Though generally plainer than their urban cousins, the painted Queen Anne houses with lots of gingerbread and stick trim, these prairie style homes have held their value as family homes. Prairie-style Queen Annes are easier to maintain due to their noble simplicity, and allow for a good amount personal expression. There is probably no other house in Southwest Louisiana painted in such a rich, deep amethyst purple, crisply edged in white!

Since the current owners only purchased the house in October of 2014, they will have a lot of time to express their own personal tastes on this very special house.

This year’s Palm Sunday Tour of Homes is sponsored in part by
Mr. Smith and Mr. Gremillion in support of the Lost Landmarks program.