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Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society

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Richards House, ‘Lakeview,’ recognized as landmark

One of the most beautiful houses on scenic Shell Beach Drive on the lakefront is the circa 1910 Richards House, which was recently recognized by the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society with a “Landmark Award.”

“The original house was built around 1910 by the an Englishman, Mr. E.E. Richards,” said A.C. Bourdier, awards chairman for the society. The current owners of the residence at 1501 Shell Beach Drive are Dr. Gene and Shively Lampson.

The Landmark Award is given in recognition of homeowners who have restored a historic structure as near as possible to its original look. In describing the architecture of the house, Bourdier said, “The original house Lakeview on Shell Beach Drivewas one story with Ionic columns on the porches across the front and wrapping around the west side. The floor plan included a parlor, gallery, three bedrooms, dining room and kitchen. The center gallery, with a 14-foot ceiling, was a means of ventilating the house in the summer. Mr. Richards was in the lumber business and had a passion for wood. Each room has its own unique pattern.”

He said that later Richards added a second floor and redesigned the home to resemble one that he particularly liked. “It seems he spent many summers in Biloxi, Miss., as a guest at Beauvoir, the Jefferson Davis house,” he said. In the 1950s, the house was again redesigned by the Woosley family, who enclosed the west porch and added a library, den, patio, carport and pool. “The charm of this lovely property is enhanced by the guest cottage on the back garden, with a barn close by. The servant’s wing off the herb garden, now a guest area, overlooks the pool and side gardens. The effect is to make one feel they are visiting a cottage plantation with all the perimeter buildings that would have supported the lifestyle of a bygone age,” Bourdier said.

Other features include Bermuda shutters to shield the parlor from the morning sun and the extensive iron work on the porches to capture the coastal ambiance that Richards had envisioned. The original builder was born in 1872, married in 1903 and died in 1929. He and his wife had two children, a daughter born in 1904 and a son born in 1907. After Richards’ death, his wife moved to Ford street, he said. Bourdier also described the interior of the house. “There are custom panel ceilings and beams throughout the house and transom panel detail over interior doors. Granite, marble and slate are used extensively in the kitchen, bathrooms, around fireplaces, the den and butler’s pantry. There are California redwood beams in the game room and walls of pecky cypress. “The wallpaper in the gallery is Hermitage, reproduced for the renovation of President Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage, circa 1875. The dining room is adorned with French Block-printed Arabesque wallpaper circa 1789 from the Hathaway House in Suffield, Conn., called Les Sylphides.”

Bourdier said Lakeview is one of the oldest homes on Shell Beach Drive. Houses of earlier construction are the Barbe House at 905 Shell Beach, early 1800s; the Kreamer House at 711 Shell Beach, 1900; Wilmore-Raggio House at 811 Shell Beach, 1904; and the Farque-Reinauer House at 813 Shell Beach, 1907. He commended the current owners for their attention to detail and care for Lakeview with its beautiful landscaping.

For more information on the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society, go to http://calcasieupreservation.org/