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Historic S.J. Welsh house receives Landmark Award

samuelwelshgetimageVINTON — The historic Samuel J. Welsh house at 1404 Horridge St. has been given a prestigious Landmark Award by the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society.

Receiving the award at the recent annual meeting of the society were the current owners, Billy and Linda White.

A.C. Bourdier, awards committee chairman, said the house was built in 1908 and is a large American Foursquare. “The only change to the exterior of the building was the addition to the rear of the kitchen 1918, and possibly the enclosure of part of the front and side porches to create a small sitting room,” he said. Bourdier noted there are five working fire places, three stained glass windows, bead board walls and ceilings, cypress millwork, heart of pine floors, two staircases and other fine decorative features.

The original builder, Samuel J. Welsh, was born Sept. 17, 1879 in Oil City, Pa. He married Margaret Friggle on Feb. 26, 1902 and the newlyweds soon moved to Louisiana. “Mr. and Mrs. Welsh took great interest in helping build up the town as well as the community in which they lived,” Bourdier said. A 25-year-member of the Calcasieu Parish School Board, S.J. Welsh Middle School in Lake Charles is named in his honor. He was also president of the School Board during his tenure. Welsh worked at the Sabine Water Company and designed and built the Sabine Water Irrigation System extending from the Sabine River to north of Vinton, Bourdier said. The irrigation system provided essential water for rice fields. His other activities included president of the Calcasieu Parish Drainage Board; president of the local Rotary Club; member of the Vinton City Council; fashioned a charter to build the Masonic Lodge in Vinton; active with the Boy Scouts; attended the Methodist Church and was a member of the board of stewards. Hunting and baseball were two of his hobbies. S.J. Welsh died of a heart attack Oct. 15, 1950 while inspecting the Sabine Canal. His body was found several days later.

The home remained in the Welsh family until 1978, when it was purchased by the present owners from Bernice Welsh, the widow of James Herbert Welsh, a son of the builder. “The house has been in almost continual restoration since it was purchased by its new owners,” Bourdier said. “The present owners, Billy and Linda White, are very proud and honored to calls this 102-year-old treasure their home.”

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