What’s to be done with Hammons Building?

By Vance Perkins

Downtown DeQuincy: In 1914, this building helped usher in the development of DeQuincy. P.E. Hammons was a lumberman from Beaumont, Texas. He operated a sawmill in Bancroft. He saw the potential success of business endeavors in DeQuincy and constructed this building on the corner of Pine St. and Nix Ferry Rd. Nix Ferry Rd. would later be named Fourth St. before becoming Louisiana State Hwy. 7, also known as Evangeline Highway. Again, it was re-numbered Hwy. 12 in the 1950s when all Louisiana highways were renamed in a standardization program. It opened with the Hammons Hotel on the upper floor with a restaurant on the first floor. It also had several retail establishments on the first floor including Perkins Drug Store. These businesses helped usher in the development of DeQuincy’s business district. The 1960s saw the beginning of this area’s decline. Today this building is unoccupied and Pine St. is deserted. The older photo was taken upon it’s completion in 1914. The recent photo was taken in 2014, 100 years, a century later.

Could it once a again usher in a revitalization of Downtown? Yes, no, maybe? The easiest and best way would be for an individual to purchase and renovate. But that is also the most unlikely. This building has been available for several years. If investors had seen a way to do so, it would have already been done. But just in case, spread the word that it is for sale. Do you know someone that would be interested? Let them know. Conservative estimates suggest $1.5 million would be needed to stabilize building and renovate for personal and/or commercial occupancy. Another possibility for saving the building is for a non-profit to acquire the building and restore it for historical purposes. Price tag is the same for whichever path forward was implemented. The question is asked, why save the building? It would be more economical to tear it down and build new. Yes, it would be, but can you put a price tag on preserving our past? Is it worth preserving our past? Probably never get a consensus on the answer to these questions. One thing I am certain of is, if something isn’t done soon, the only thing that will be done is to bring it down. Watch for information. Meeting will be held on Saturday, Apr. 13 to see if there is adequate interest to attempt to save this building from demolition. Nothing is accomplished if the first step is not taken.