Old City Hall, Downtown DeQuincy

Old City Hall

The 1951 DeQuincy Town Hall located at 218 East Fourth Street is actually the second renovation and enlargement of the city’s original municipal building.

The first remodeling occurred in 1931 and represented an investment of $20,000. The enlarged structure included an auditorium, a private mayor’s office, and a tax collector’s office with a large vault. The rear of the building housed a fire department and a 12 “passenger” fireproof jail.

In 1951 the existing structure received a new front addition and facelift, which is recognizable today. Six round, white Doric columns supporting a pedimented entry portico and a large gabled facade provide a distinctive Greek Revival style of architecture.

The Hammons Hotel – 1914

The Hammons Hotel is located on the corner of Highway 12 and Pine Street above the present-day Perkins Pharmacy. John Perkins was the druggist at the original drugstore and Helaire Perkins was the manager of the hotel in its early years. Helaire also served as a police juror.

Mr. and Mrs. E. B. Harrell managed the hotel during the 1920s and 1930s, and lived in a three-room apartment in the front corner of the hotel. They also operated the hotel cafe, and raised two daughters, Alice Pearl and Mary Helen, there.

Unfortunately little is known about the construction of the building, but there are a few people who could recall some information and interesting stories concerning the old hotel.

Mrs. Peggy Robertson recalls that her mother, the late Nora Lounsberry Cooper, worked in the cafe after graduation from high school and said that “jobs were hard to come by and she was glad to work for nice people like the Harrells.” Her memories were especially pleasant because she met her husband, Odis, there.

Mrs. Fan Heard remembers that she often went with her parents, the late Dr. and Mrs. J. B. Robinson, to the cafe and recalls it being rather fancy with tablecloths and such.

The late Mr. and Mrs. Mertz Hanberry spent their wedding night at the hotel because they were “rained in” and couldn’t leave town due to flooded streets. They caught the train out the next day.

Mrs. Harrell was a cousin of the Kingfish, Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long, and was surprised when he made a campaign stop at the hotel, which no doubt caused quite a stir.

A visit to the hotel today is like stepping back in time to see the screen doors that remain on each of the twenty still-numbered rooms. Two common bathrooms still have original fixtures. If walls could talk, this once grand hotel would surely have many stories to tell.

The Perkins Brothers Building – 1924 

Originally, the James A. Perkins home was located on the property now occupied by the Perkins Building. The house was completely destroyed by fire in the latter part of September, 1914. The descendants of James A. and Susan sold the property to Thomas J. Perkins, a child of James and Susan, in 1922. In 1924 Thomas J. Perkins sold one-half interest in the property to his brother, J. W. Perkins, also known as “Red Jim.” The brothers constructed a one-story brick building approximately 32 feet by 70 feet fronting on Front Street.

In 1929 T. J. Perkins obtained both lots and the buildings and placed a wooden partition dividing the west building. T. J. operated a grocery store in the west part of the building and leased the east part to his brother, “Red Jim,” who operated a meat market until about 1942 when Eugene Theriot, his son-in-law, took over. Theriot continued to operate the market and also leased the grocery store from J. T. Perkins. The front portion of the partition was removed so that the grocery and market could be joined. Mr. Theriot operated the grocery and market until 1950 when the business was relocated.

In 1950 T. J. Perkins sold the original Perkins Building to his only child, Bartella, the wife of T. H. Peyton. Tenants of Mrs. Peyton operated a furniture store, a cafe, a jewelry store, a finance company, an insurance agency, a sewing machine store, a shoe store, and an antique store.