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City of Minden
City
The combined Minden City Hall and Convention Center opened in 1970.
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish Webster
Elevation 253 ft (77.1 m)
Coordinates 32°37′0″N 93°17′0″W / 32.616667°N 93.283333°W / 32.616667; -93.283333
Area 12.0 sq mi (31.1 km2)
 - land 11.9 sq mi (31 km2)
 - water 0.1 sq mi (0 km2), 0.83%
Population 13,027 (2000)
Density 1,095.2 /sq mi (422.9 /km2)
Established 1836
Mayor Bill Robertson
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 71055
Area code 318
Location of Minden in Louisiana
Location of Louisiana in the United States
Website: http://www.mindenusa.com

Minden is a city in the American state of Louisiana. It serves as the parish seat of Webster Parish[1] and is located twenty-eight miles east of Shreveport, the seat of Caddo Parish. The population, which has been stable since 1960, was 13,027 at the 2000 census. It has possessed a post office since 1839.[2]

Minden is the principal city of the Minden Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of the larger Shreveport-Bossier City-Minden Combined Statistical Area.

The community has been served by a newspaper since the 1850s, and the city's present publication, Minden Press-Herald, which has its office in a building previously occupied by a supermarket on Gleason Street south of Broadway Street, dates as a daily to July 18, 1966, but was originally published as two weekly papers, Minden Press and Minden Herald.

Contents

Geography

Minden has an elevation of 253 feet (77.1 m)[3]. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.0 square miles (31 km2), of which, 11.9 square miles (31 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.75%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 13,027 people, 5,166 households, and 3,430 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,095.2 people per square mile (423.0/km²). There were 5,795 housing units at an average density of 487.2/sq mi (188.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 46.34% White, 52.17% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.61% of the population.

There were 5,166 households, out of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.6% were married couples living together, 22.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.6% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city of Minden, the population was spread out with 27.0% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years, higher than the state median age of 34.0 years. For every 100 females there were 84.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,175, and the median income for a family was $31,477. Males had a median income of $28,401 versus $19,199 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,114. About 21.0% of families and 26.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.3% of those under age 18 and 20.1% of those age 65 or over.

History

Among the first settlers in the Minden area was Newitt Drew, a Welshman originally from Virginia, who built a gristmill and sawmill on Dorcheat Bayou in south Webster Parish in what became the since defunct Overton community. Minden itself was established in 1836 by Charles H. Veeder, a native of Schenectady, New York, who named it for the city of Minden in Germany.[5] Veeder left Minden during the California Gold Rush and spent the rest of his life practicing law in Bakersfield, California.[6]

A year before Veeder arrived, a group from Phillipsburg (now Monaca, Pennsylvania), led by the "Countess von Leon", settled seven miles northeast of Minden in what was then Claiborne Parish. For nearly four decades, this Germantown Colony operated on a communal basis.[7] It was dispersed in 1871, when Webster Parish was severed from Claiborne Parish.[8] The "Countess" moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where she died in 1881.[7]

One of three Utopian Society settlements in this area, the Germantown Colony was the most successful and lasted the longest, having peaked at fifty to sixty pioneers but usually with fewer than forty followers. The settlement had been planned by the countess’ husband, Bernhard Müller, known as the Count von Leon. He died of yellow fever on August 29, 1834, at Grand Ecore, four miles from Natchitoches, before he reached Webster Parish.[9] Leon and his followers attempted to build an earthly utopia, socialist in practice, while awaiting for the Second Coming of Christ. For his religious views, Leon had been exiled from Germany. He intended to plant the settlement in Webster Parish to coincide with the latitude of Jerusalem, 31 degrees, 47 minutes. The colonists worshiped under oak trees at the center of the colony. They supported themselves from farming, with a concentration on cotton.[7] The settlement is preserved at the Germantown Colony and Museum. A second museum in Minden, the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, named for Dorcheat Bayou, is located downtown at 116 Pearl Street. It preserves the cultural history of the city and parish from the 19th century.

Downtown Minden with the signature water tower in the background
The Minden Coca-Cola Bottling Plant is a distribution center on Pine Street across from Minden Cemetery.
Statue of a Confederate soldier at the western end of Jacqueline Park in Minden

During the American Civil War, a large Confederate encampment, which housed some fifteen thousand soldiers was located east of Minden. Minden was a supply depot for the troops. Some thirty Confederate soldiers who died in the Battle of Mansfield and another engagement at Pleasant Hill are buried in the historic Minden Cemetery located off Pine Street. A modern cemetery, Gardens of Memory, opened in 1957 off the Lewisville Road north of town.

On February 13, 1890, Minden recorded the state's all-time coldest temperature, minus-16 degrees during the height of the Great Blizzard. The humid subtropical climate, however, is usually mild in winter and mostly hot in summer.

During the Great Depression, one of the two Minden banks failed, and a fire destroyed a major section of the downtown in 1931. Five banks now exist, Minden Building and Loan, Capital One, Regions, Citizens, and Richland State. On May 1, 1933, a tornado destroyed some 20 percent of the residences in Minden.

The Hunter family for decades operated the Coca-Cola Bottling Company outlet in Minden. While soft drinks were produced at the facility into the 1960s, the facility is now a distribution center. It is located across from Minden Cemetery.

Artist Ben Earl Looney was born in the Yellow Pine community in south Webster Parish and graduated from Minden High School in 1923. He taught art throughout the United States in a career from the 1920s until his death in Lafayette in 1981.

Minden businesses

Minden has a large number of businesses and an active Chamber of Commerce, which maintains offices near the intersection of Broadway and the Sibley Road. Two former executive directors of the chamber were elected mayor, Tom Colten in 1966 and Paul A. Brown in 1989.

The Webster Parish Courthouse, completed in the late 1950s, is located a few yards west of its former location, which became a parking lot for the new Minden City Hall/Civic Center in the early 1970s.

Education

Northwest Louisiana Technical College has been located since the 1950s in a residential section off Constable Street in Minden.
Renovated Minden High School (2007) on College Street

Minden is served by the Webster Parish School Board, an elected body which maintains administrative offices on Sheppard Street. Minden High School, located at the intersection of Sullivan and College streets, completed major renvoation in 2007. The original school dates to the turn of the 20th century.

There is a vocational technical school in Minden, Northwest Louisiana Technical College, located on Constable Street near the sites of the Webster Parish fairgrounds and Griffith Stadium, a baseball field, where the former Minden Redbirds semi-professional team played.

Elementary schools include E.S. Richardson, William G. Stewart, J.L. Jones, and J.E. Harper schools.

The middle school is located at the site of the former historically black Webster High School, which closed in 1975, with desegregation into Minden High School. The previous junior high school, Theresa M. Lowe Junior High School located near the technical college, was closed after desegregation and converted into an alternative school. Theresa Lowe graduated from Rayville High School in Rayville, the seat of Richland Parish in northeastern Louisiana and received her Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. She was a long-time teacher of the seventh grade at the former Minden Junior High School and a leader in the renamed Louisiana Association of Educators.[10]

There is also the private Glenbrook School off the Lewisville Road toward Shongaloo, which began within the First Baptist Church in 1970.

The Louisiana Missionary Baptist Institute and Seminary, which offers bachelor's, master's, and doctor of theology degrees, is located off the Homer Road in Minden. The theologically conservative institution was opened in 1952 by the pastor L.L. Clover (1902-1975) of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.

Notable residents

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Politics

Fred T. "Tony" Elzen as grand marshal of the Minden Christmas parade, 2007; an annual golf tournament named for Elzen is held each summer in Minden.

Sports

Griffith Memorial Stadium in Minden is home for baseball games.
The Minden Recreation Center off Interstate 20

Others

Memorial on Summit Street in Minden to United States Army soldier Joshua Madden, the first soldier from Minden killed in the Iraq War

Hank Williams married in Minden

Country singer Hank Williams, Sr., married Billie Jean Jones Eshliman in Minden on October 18, 1952. The next day, the couple repeated the vows in two separate public ceremonies. Less than three months later, Williams was dead. A judge ruled that the wedding was not legal because Billie Jean's divorce did not become final until eleven days after she had married Williams. Thereafter, Billie Jean married another singing giant, Johnny Horton. Horton died in 1960 and is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery in Haughton in Bossier Parish.[45]

Minden gallery

References

  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/usamap.cfm. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ [1] Post Offices in Webster Parish, Louisiana
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Marietta LeBreton, "Bayou Dorcheat" in The Rivers and Bayous of Louisiana by Edwin Adams Davis". Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=N6a-9ZHqz8oC&pg=PA45&lpg=PA45&dq=dorcheat+bayoiu&source=bl&ots=DtJOfecT_k&sig=kMu3l8r5zzp5ggx6hYxuAuvqeAo&hl=en&ei=5NuRSuCxNZeQtger88DOBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8#v=onepage&q=&f=false. Retrieved August 24, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Charles Hanson Veeder", A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. 2 (1988), pp. 809-810
  7. ^ a b c David James, III, "Germantown: Once Thriving and Socialistic", Minden Press, July 7, 1958, pp. 1-2
  8. ^ ”Respect for the Past, Confidence in the Future”, Webster Parish Centennial, 1871-1971, pp. 13-14
  9. ^ Brochure, Germantown Colony and Museum, 120 Museum Road, Minden, LA 71055
  10. ^ Minden Press, November 18, 1954, p. 1
  11. ^ BLACKBURN, William Jasper - Biographical Information
  12. ^ Minden Press-Herald:http://www.nwlanews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5822&Itemid=33
  13. ^ bolin_james.asp
  14. ^ "”The Boucher Company, Inc.: Profile of Jesse L. Boucher”". boucherco.com. http://www.theboucherco.com/profile.html. Retrieved September 1, 2009. 
  15. ^ Minden Press-Herald, January 11, 1960
  16. ^ "Official Returns Given for Minden Primary Election", Minden Herald, April 14, 1944, p. 1
  17. ^ *Minden Press-Herald, November 9, 1966, November 4, 1970, November 8, 1978
  18. ^ Election results, Webster Review and Signal Tribune, April 14, 1942, p. 1
  19. ^ Minden Press-Herald, April 6, 1974, p. 1
  20. ^ Allen J.M. Smith, "Doerge dies early today of heart ailment," Minden Press-Herald, April 17, 1998
  21. ^ http://www.lacoa2.org/Biographies/Drew.htm
  22. ^ Minden Press-Herald, December 19, 1995
  23. ^ http://fleming.house.gov/
  24. ^ "Gleason Final Rites Held at Evergreen Today”, Minden Herald, July 27, 1959
  25. ^ "W.E. Gleason to Seek State Rep. Post", Minden Herald, August 3, 1959, p. 1
  26. ^ Minden Herald, May 12, 1955, p. 1
  27. ^ http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=H000901
  28. ^ Minden Press, January 9, 1956, p. 8
  29. ^ Report of the Louisiana Secretary of State, "Official Returns of Open Primary Election September 16, 1978", Member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, Fifth District
  30. ^ http://www.sos.louisiana.gov/tabid/405/Default.aspx
  31. ^ "”Coleman Lindsey”". archives. http://files.usgwarchives.org/la/calcasieu/bios/lindseyh.txt. Retrieved July 10, 2009. 
  32. ^ ”Ex-Mayor of Minden Dies at 83”, Shreveport Times, March 5, 1955, p. 8-B
  33. ^ "Mims Will Not Seek Another Term", Minden Press-Herald, undated 1975 article
  34. ^ Minden Press-Herald, October 27, 1971, p. 7
  35. ^ Minden Press-Herald, November 9, 1966
  36. ^ "Dr. E. Richardson, 75, Dies Wednesday in Ruston Hospital", Minden Press-Herald, October 13, 1950, p. 1
  37. ^ Minden Press-Herald, November 7-8, 2006
  38. ^ http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=S000043
  39. ^ Shreveport Times obituary: http://www.legacy.com/shreveporttimes/Obituaries.asp?Page=Lifestory&PersonId=94517639
  40. ^ http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=W000193
  41. ^ Booth obituary, Shreveport Times, July 2, 1972
  42. ^ "Larry Brewer obituary", Minden Press-Herald, May 26, 2003
  43. ^ Jeff Clemons, sports editor, "Doherty" More than a coach," Minden Press-Herald, January 3, 1988
  44. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=bbMKSGD_TpUC&pg=PA323&lpg=PA323&dq=lynching+minden+LA&source=bl&ots=rr3-a0nrN5&sig=irXJ8PqguTMb9A6ulw1Lq7mafBQ&hl=en&ei=6k3eSbDVFOHrlQfNvuRV&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2#PPA323,M1
  45. ^ http://www.rockabillyhall.com/rcnv.html

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