Recollections of Dr. W. F. O'Kelley


                                  Photo Dr. & Mrs. W. F. O'Kelley

Dear Friends at Minden Memories!

My name is Clare O'Kelley Bennett.  My grandfather was the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Minden from 1920-1943.  He was an avid photographer.  My father, Keith O'Kelley was raised in Minden and resided there until my grandfather took a pastoral call to Dallas and a new church.  My aunts are Margery O'Kelley Lane and Frances O'Kelley McDonald.

Several years ago, in helping my mother clean out the attic, I found some boxes of slides that my grandfather took over the years.  There are quite a few of the church, but there are also photos of houses and sites in Minden.  Would you be interested in these for your web site?

Among the photos are pictures of the manse for the Presbyterian Church on N. Broadway.  There are also photos of the Methodist church and parsonage, the R. H. Miller Home, and Avinger Garage. 

All this to say, if you would like copies I can attach them to a file and email them to you.  Just let me know!

What a fun web site!  I have never lived in Minden, but I have certainly heard the stories!

Warmest Regards,

Clare O'Kelley Bennett



The first picture is the Ferguson home located on East and West Street.

now the Webster Parish Library.  Thanks to Earlene Mendenhall Lyle,

Class of 1956 for this information.

In 1940, it was the home of  O. P. Avinger - 521 East & Wes


                           THE CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY 1861 - 1865

                           ERECTED BY THE UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE

                           CONFEDERACY, MINDEN CHAPTER NO. 1421

                           MINDEN, LOUISIANA JANUARY 19, 1933

                          "LORD GOD OF HOSTS, BE WITH US YET",

                           LEST WE FORGET - LEST WE FORGET."

John Agan, Webster Parish historian has written a wonderful history of the

Confederate history that you might enjoy reading that we have on this web

site.  Before Pat Watson
died, he photographed the statue after it was restored.

To read the history and see the statue click on this hyperlink..

Confederate Soldier    

Third Picture - Hunter's Coca-Cola Bottling Company located on the corner of

Pine and Goodwill Street.  
This picture was probably taken in the late 30s or

early 40s when the sky blue and white awning was on the front of the plant. Says

Nan Castle Hunter "Ben might remember when it was removed."  There was a fish

pond behind the plant on Goodwill Street.

Picture Four -"Going down Depot hill - That strange bush is covered with ice says Ann

Mays Harlan, class of 1958.

That is depot hill. On the left I'm not sure what the smaller buildings are on the east side of the railroad tracks, but you can clearly see the *Minden Cotton Oil and Ice building across the tracks. On the right, on the east side of the tracks I see the depot and the old Hicks Grocery warehouse that is still there today.

Submitted by John Agan, Webster Parish Historian

There is an interesting article which has a good photo of Minden Cotton Oil and Ice Company under stories on this site.  A portion of it was written by Larry Mays, class

of 1964.

Picture number five   The Chaffee House - Also called The R. H. Miller House

Well, to be precise I should probably call it the Chaffe house, too. Folks called it the R. H. Miller house because Mr. Miller was so powerful and well-known in town, but in reality, the house was actually owned by his two unmarried sister-in-laws, technically despite all his wealth, he never owned the house as he died before the last sister died so his wife was never the legal owner until he was dead.

"That appears to be the R. H. Miller home with the Rex Theater in the background".

Submitted by John Agan, Webster Parish Historian

Bingo!!This is the same house shown on Minden Memories as the Chaffee Home. It was located at what is now the Minden Medical Center Parking lot and next to the REX. In those days Cedar St. intersected Monroe St. There is a Chaffee Street that intersected Cedar and ran parallel to Monroe, just beyond the medial parking lot today.

Judy Claassen, Class of 1954

This was the old R.H. Miller home, Thad's grandparents.... It was located between the Minden "Sanitarium" and the Rex Theater... you can see the side of the Rex theater's building on the right side....

Submitted by LeVerne Langheld Kidd, Class of 1957



N Broadway  - Brown  Phillips HomePresbyterian parsonage

If memory serves me well, Rev Phillips resided here.  Father of David (grad 1962)

and his sister, Marsha  Next door to photo's left is the old Littleton home. J. Y. Littleton owned the Chevrolet dealership.  Daughter, Lucia, lives in Dallas.


Scott Williams


'66The Brown HomeThis lovely home on Broadway was once owned by Ronnie and Connie Brown

Submitted by:Chuck Liles '54 

    This was the Methodist Parsonage where my parents married. If not this one, the one next to it where my parents married.

Joyce Dulany Anderson Classs of  '52

Picture number 6 - The Presbyterian parsonage.

Says Clare, "Actually, I think the man in the picture iis my dad, Keith O'Kelley.  :-)

Picture number 7  Another view of the parsonage

picture number 8  The white bldg. was once Peoples Bank. Notice all the old cars

parked on the street.

We had to make this picture small to show the red building

which is the old post office that was torn down in 1954.

Picture nine is North Broadway, looking towards Elm Street intersection...standing in the intersection in front of the Presbyterian church. 

My mother bought the old Chicago brick when the jail was torn down and remodeled our house on Germantown Road.  Frances Greer (Mickey) McGowan got the remaining ones from me...not sure what she built with them.  

Katie Carey   '66

Picture number 10 -The old court house. Is that the City jail behind it?

(these pictures were taken during an ice storm per Ann Mays Harlan, class of 58)


Picture number Eleven

Minden Presbyterian Church at the Corner of Broadway & Lewisville Rd.

before the new fellowship was added to the left side of the bldg. where

Jeannine Mobley Love (class of 1956) attended and graced with her beautiful


Submitted by Ann Mays Harlan, Class of 1958,

Karis Robinson Alderman, Class of 1956,

Picture number eleven is the Minden Presbyterian Church.  I was a member during the 1940's.  Dr. and Mrs. O'Kelley were friends of my parents, Sue and Willard Roberts.  Dr. O'Kelley baptized (Christened?) me as an infant. 

Lyda RobertsMadden, Class of 1957

Says Doug McCrary
#11 is the Presbyterian Church--I was the fifth generation in the church in 100 years.  I unveiled a plaque in the church when I was about 13 or so.

Sherry, Picture No. 14 is the First United Methodist Church with the parsonage beside it.  The parsonage was torn down for the expansion to add an activity building.  Rowland (Class of 1952)

Sherry, Picture No. 14 is the First United Methodist Church with the parsonage beside it.  The parsonage was torn down for the expansion to add an activity building.  Rowland (Class of 1952)

Picture number twelve
#12 Aubrey Craton with kittens

Sherry, hello. I am Dorothy Craton Cooper and Minden is my home town. My parents were Aubrey and Lillian Craton. Sue Ann Richardson Kinsey is so kind to forward me information from Minden Memories that you send to her. Yesterday she sent me a wonderful picture of my daddy holding his two little kittens. What a surprise it was to see such a sweet picture of him as a young man. Neither my sister or I have ever seen that photo. Who submitted it and identified it? What a special gift that is to me. Oh yes, we spell our name Craton. There is another family that spelled their name the other way.

Thank you for any additional information you may be able to send to me concerning the photo.

Thank you.

Dorothy Louise Craton Cooper

MHS. 1968

In this set, the building in picture thirteen is labeled Avinger Garage.  There is an O. P. Avinger family listed in the 1940 phone book as well (how handy is that?!!!) located at 521 East West Street, so I assume the building is connected to them?

Identified by Clare Bennett

Regarding the Avinger Garage.
After Nancy Mullins Ferguson died, the Ferguson House was inherited by Mrs. Avinger (don't know her first name). At the time that happened Mrs. Avinger was living on First Street behind the First Baptist Church and my mother and grandmother were renting a room in her house. When she moved into the Ferguson house and received her inheritance Momma and Nanny had to move. Later Mrs. Avinger sold the Ferguson house to Mr. and Mrs. Edmond Stewart. After they died, Mrs. Stewart's sister, Jim Brown, donated the home to the parish to serve as the library. So that garage is the one belonging to the Ferguson home that for many years stood behind the library and was used for storage. There was an apartment in the upstairs of the garage that the library rented to tenants. Based on the angle it appears the picture was taken from the front yard or steps of the Presbyterian manse where the O'Kelley's would have lived, diagonally across the street from the Ferguson house.

Submitted by John Agan, Webster Parish Historian

393 - O. P. Avinger - 521 East & West was listed in the 1940 Minden telephone book


Submitted by Nan Hunter Castle, Class of 1953

Picture number fourteen is the Methodist Parsonage on Broadway with First Methodist Church in the background.  I moved there in the hot summer of 1954.  The "new" parsonage was being built on Madison across from Mr.& Mrs.C.O. Holland. We moved to that house  during January, 1955, when I was a junior at Minden High. It was used for a youth building and no telling what else. Since I left Minden in the fall of 1956 for college in Texas & my parents moved to another appointment in 1958, am not sure what the rest of the history of that house may have been.

The summer of 1954 was unusually hot, and the south side of the parsonage was not too far from the north side of the church---two brick buildings too close together.  Of course, there was no air-conditioning in the house.  My bedroom was at the back of the second floor and could have been rented out as a sauna.  The "coolest" place in the house was the hardwood floor downstairs underneath the windows that opened out to Broadway traffic.  A quilt on that floor was all the bedding wanted/needed on the hottest of nights.  What fun!---because moving to Minden was such a blessing to my life!!! 

 (Karis Robinson Alderson MHS 1956) 


Picture 14 is the old First Methodist parsonage, which we called "The House" when I grew up in that church. It was torn down along with the church sanctuary when they decided to build a new building rather than try to keep updating the old buildings.  I don't remember the year, but it was right after the First Baptist church also tore down their old building & constructed the new one.  Late 70's, I think.

Number fourteen is the Methodist Manse--located where the activity building is now.

Submitted by Douglas  McCrary, Class of 1958

Number fourteen is the First United Methodist Church with the parsonage beside it. The parsonage was torn down for the expansion to add an activity building. 

Submitted by Rowland  Ivy(Class of 1952)


Picture Number Fifteen - appears to be taken from in front of the Presbyterian Church with the camera angled toward downtown, as you can see the 1925 First Baptist Church building in the background.

Submitted by John Agan Webster Parish Historian

Maybe FBC seen from the Presbyterian church?

Broadway toward homer rd sounds good for #19 and Turner house for the other one

Greg  Grambling, Class of 1968

Picture fifteen was taken looking toward town on Broadway. In the background is the 1st Baptist Church building. I believe it to be just past the Lewisville Rd intersection.

Submitted by Pat Patrick


Picture Number Sixteen - The man with the mustache looks a lot like Dr. Bradford.  Don't know who the man is in 16 and 17. Looks like the same man.

Submitted by Wanda Monzingo Ballard, class of 1952

These houses would not be on Lewisville Road.  The Whitfield house stood up on a hill & this is definitely flat so it could not be on the Lewisville Rd.  Looks more like Broadway Street.

Submitted by Barbara Mendenhall McLemore, Class of 1961

Photo sixteen- I don't think this could be Lewisville Rd. It appears to be a double road like Broadway.  If so, the car looks to be just past the Lewisville Rd intersection and headed toward town, probably right in front of the Presbyterian Church.  I don't have a clue who the man is.

Submitted by Earlene Mendenhall Lyle, Class of 1956

Looks like Broadway  from the north  perhaps from the Presbyterian Church?

Submitted by T. C. Carey, Class of 1961

This Picture also appears to be taken in front of the Presbyterian Church looking across Broadway. While that doesn't look like the Drew House, it does appear to be the Williams home to the left of center.

Submitted by John Agan, Webster Parish Historian

Taken on the sidewalk at the Presbyterian Church. The house on the right of the photo is the current residence of Harmon Drew

Submitted by Ann Mays Harlan, Class of 58

Picture Number Seventeen - Where and who is this?  

Again, this looks a lot like N. Broadway headed toward town, somewhere near the vicinity of  my favorite judge's (Harmon Drew) home.  His house, of course, would be on the other side of the street on S. Broadway.

Submitted by Earlene Mendenhall Lyle, Class of 1956

The man with the mustache looks a lot like Dr. Bradford.  Don't know who the man is in 16 and 17. Looks like the same man.

Submitted by Wanda Mnzingo Ballard, Class of 1952

Picture Number Eighteen  - Can you tell me where this is?

Number 18 Looks like Broadway going  from town to Homer Road at Lewisville Road intersection.  1st house on right side would be where Harmon Drew now lives. 

Submitted by Barbara Mendenhall McLemore, Class of 61

Also appears to be S. Broadway coming from town.  To the left would be Lewisville Rd.

Submitted by Earlene Mendenhall Lyle, Class of 1956

Picture nineteen appears to be taken from the front yard of the Presbyterian Manse, the house in the picture is next door to the Manse on the west side, it was one of three homes built by the Drake Family in that area of Broadway and at one time I remember the mother of Judge Enos McClendon living there.

Submitted by John Agan, Webster Parish Historian

Broadway Street toward homer road sounds good for #19.and Turner House for the

other one.

Submitted by Greg Grambling, Class of 1968

Photo Number Twenty is the Minden Presbyterian Church


Photo Number Twenty One - "Miss Annie Drake"


Photo twenty-two...This one is interesting to me. I wasn't even sure this was a Minden photo at first, but when I looked carefully, look at the calendar behind the bar--Andress Motors Co. in Minden!  The date on the calendar is June of 1942 I believe.

Who is the man in the photograph?

Submitted by Clare Bennett, granddaughter of  W. F. O'Kelley

I'll bet my snow boots (it's a deep freeze here) that was the Star Drug that was on the corner of North Broadway and Union, across from the Peoples Bank. They often hired teenage boys to "soda jerk."  In fact my oldest brother worked there in the early 40's. I was often there looking for a cherry coke handout. Blowing up the picture reveals a marble counter, which the Star had. The arched mirrors look familiar. I don't believe that Hightower had a soda fountain. But it could be the City Drug that was just up the street on Broadway; they had a fountain at one time. I wish I recognized the young man.

Judy Gleason Claassen, Class of 1954

I think photo #22 may be one of the drug stores in downtown Minden.  I think they all had soda fountains back then.

Ann Mays Harlan, Class of 1958

Photo twenty-two  On the drugstore photo, looks like the inside of City Drug.

Submitted by Carolyn Sale McDaniel, Class of 1954

*If the picture in the other message is inside City Drug (which was my first reaction although I never saw the inside of Hightower Drug, so I can't say for sure) the man in the picture would be one of the Williams brothers, based on size and appearance I would say David. Assuming this picture was taken prior to 1943, when the O'Kelley's left Minden, David would be no more than 25 in that picture as he was born in about 1918 since he graduated from MHS in 1935 with my Daddy. I believe he, along with Paul Mattingly, are the last surviving members of Daddy's class.

Submitted by John Agan, Webster Parish Historian

This is definitely the soda fountain in City Drug Store. 
I worked there as the soda jerk from 1949 to 1952.  I can't see the details of the cash register, but it may the same one that I used. 


Rowland Ivy (Class of 1952)