Ben Hunter with his parents Larry and Gladys Powell Hunter

                       INTRODUCTION BY BEN HUNTER

I am very pleased to be working with Sherry to record for your enjoyment "Memories of
Hunters." You will read more than 40 complete letters used in writing the book, "Memories of Hunters." Copies of this book are available at the Coca-Cola offices in Minden, La.
Working on this project with Sherry and me are Nan Hunter Castle and Ann Mays Harlan.
This presentation will be the story of Larry and Gladys Hunter's dedication to the young
people of Minden and the memories of those young people. If you would like to submit a
memory, e-mail it to this site.


My part of the project is to start of with the facts. Sherry will do the rest.








                               The Merry-GoRound and Wading Pool


                                                             The Little Playhouse


 "Little Playhouse" (Actually a guest house by the private pool.) was the first Hunter's Playhouse.You entered the little playhouse through the hedge and walked around the little pool. Picture from "Memories of Hunters



                                            A larger pool was built for the youth of Minden.

   Some of the first lifeguards that we could remember from the forties & early fifties were Dawson Lary, Eugene Ratcliff, Betty Jean Warren, Barbara "Babe" Kennon, Mack Wampole, Connie Irby, George Brewster, Charles "Bo" Drake, Rowland Ivy, and Jack Miles.  They would make us swim the pool three times before we could go into the deep end side of the pool. Does anyone remember any of the other lifeguards? The lifeguards were also responsible for cleaning the pool.

If you remember any other names...e-mail us and tell us who they were.

One lifeguard that was not mentioned was George Brewster.   Ben talks to him often.

Submitted by Bo Drake, Class of 1954

   I was a lifeguard at the both the Hunter's Pool and the Community House Pool in the summer of 1954.  I worked mostly at the Hunter's Pool in the afternoon and night.  I commuted back and forth to summer school at LA Tech that summer.   Jack Miles was a lifeguard for several years in that same period.  I don't know how long.  He gave me my lifesaving  test before I could be a lifeguard and I thought that he was going to drown me.   Submitted by Rowland Ivy, Class of 1952 

I lifeguarded two summers at Victory Park – saved my money and it helped pay for some college.  I remember Bo Drake and Johnny Tinnel lifeguarding at Hunter’s Pool. I thought Bo Drake was better looking than any movie star of the time, and Johnny Tinnell used to thrill us all with his high swan dives.  

Jenny (Jeanette Woodard), Class of 1957

  Jeanette Lefleur  was the gym teacher after (?) Joyce Hillard. She worked at Hunter's for one summer as lifeguard and young people activities director.

Bo Drake    (Linda Mims Martin remembered Miss Lefleur being at the pool plus Ben Hunter has verified Miss LeFleur as being one of the lifeguards.)


                                                             Larry Hunter - First dive of the year                    













Hunters Playhouse Opened on Goodwill Street



Hunter's Playground, Inc.
August 11, 1950
Minden, Louisiana

Present: Larry Hunter
Mrs. Larry Hunter
Bill Hunter
Joe Hunter
J. E. Harper
Jack Batton
Joe Oliphant

Minutes of the last minutes were read and accepted.

The proposition of building a new grandstand at the ball park was brought up
and discussed. The financing would be by selling bonds at 2% interest with
box seat sales as security. It was decided to investigate further on plans
and cost of the proposed grandstand before deciding on course of action.

The ownership setup of the Playgrounds in relationship to the Coca-Cola Bottling
Co., Inc. was discussed. After a general discussion it was decided to let this matter
lay over for more thought and a possible decision at the next meeting.

J. E. Harper moved that the Playground go on record of being in favor of
diverting the physical facilities of the Playground operation and its activities to
the physical facilities. Seconded by Bill Hunter. Passed 7 to 0.

Being no further business the meeting adjourned until approximately 30 days.

Signed by Bill Hunter, Secretary

 In 1950 The American Legion "Redbirds" gave up their name to the Big Eight League team.

(Insert (The Formation of City of Minden Recreation Department)


                        Back to Hunter Playground Minutes - 23 March, 1950

  In 1951  the City of Minden adopted a recreation program because of the success of "Hunters."


                                  THE NEW BALL PARK


 In 1953 A new baseball park was built by the city as part of the new
recreation program.



                             Photo from the Minden High School Grig

We never wore blue jeans, slacks, or bobby socks to Hunter's. We wore our nice clothes. The boys and girls were on their best behavior. We also had strict supervision at the playhouse. We were required to sign in and out. Once we signed out, we could not return to the playhouse. Some of the chaperone's that I remember were Mrs. Watkins, Mr. Bob Grambling, Steve Cole, and Mrs. Hunter.

                              Quade Studio, 513 Main St., Minden, La.71055

The ping pong table was at the other end of the room. Jane Reeves is the girl with Billy Burns.

After looking at the picture gathering around the pool table, I think I can help a little... going

from left to right;      I don't think that is Jack Flowers. It is someone much younger than the 1953 class.

(Is it Billy Baldwin?)

(3) Gary Daniel (4) Sally Powell (5) Donald Strickland (6) Billy Burns (7) Jane Reeves (8) Sally Ware

(9) Montie Bill Sale (10) Also younger than the class of 1953. ? (11) Mary Winford (12) Vernon Carter.

I hope this has been some help to you....Nan Hunter Castle.

Nan, how about Bobby Wise for No. 2, the fellow shooting pool?  Also, how about Jane Reeves for the

 girl in front of Billy Burns?  Rowland Ivy.



This was the room the coca-cola machine was in when I was going to Hunter's. My favorite game was checker's.


GONE WITH THE WIND  Belles and Beaus  - Mona Ouzts, Cynthia Stevenson, John Scales, Jan Gray,                           Jean Ruffin, Ann Lewis, Barbbara Kennon, Jenny Reed, Melba Jean Wroten.



                               Compliments of Quade Studio, 513 Main St., Minden, La.

Cortez David is the girl in the black skirt and white blouse dancing with George Moore. Do you recognize any of the dancers. if so, e-mail me so we can identify some of the people for our readers. Do you recognize Mrs. Hunter standing at the end of the room? She may be the reason there were no "flowers" along the wall when this picture was taken.

On the right side of the room behind the couple in the white is Barnard McCoy dancing with Mickey Watson.

In the middle of the floor the boy in the checked shirt looks like Charlie Hennegan.

The girl dancing behind Charlie and his partner looks like Nan Hunter to Barnard and I.  


Linda and Ben Hunter took over the duties of chaperoning responsibilities after their marriage in 1951. By the mid 1960s, Minden had become a different place than when we were teenagers. Kids had their own cars. Television was the big entertainment factor, and values and attitudes were changing. Concerns about liabilities had already resulted in a painful decision to close the playground, and with the new mobility available to the kids, the playhouse dances were attracting more out-of-towners.  Many of them were older, and were not interested in observing the rules. The end was in sight, and shortly afterwards a decision was made to shut down everything.


           The Little Playhouse on the above right - A costume party on the bottom left

           Hunters Playhouse on her way to Gilark  in the center - Swimming at Hunters on the right


                                                           Four Stages of Hunter's Playhouse being  moved to Gilark, Louisiana


 Larry and Gladys Hunter are awarded "Man of the Year" Award jointly.

 May 16, 1969, Larry and Gladys Hunter were given the keys to the City
of Minden in recognition for services given to Recreation.


The book, "Memories of Hunters' by Harlin Messer & Ben Hunter


     The memorial at Pine and Goodwill St. by Larry Milford


The "Great Get - Together" celebration  was August 8, 1897 in memory of Larry & Gladys Hunter

August 8, 1997 - L to R:  Camille Ivy Heller, Dottie & Rowland  Ivy


                                           Carolyn & Billy Jack Talton



August 8, 1997 - L to R:  Eve Baskerville Cousins, Ann Mays Harlan, George Tash, Baskerville,

                             In the background is Gary & Carolyn Major









                             Old Friends - Poem by Johnnie Claire White Whitlow


     The State of Louisiana declares August 8 and 9, 1997 as Larry and Glady


The City of Minden declares August 8 and 9, 1997 as Larry and Gladys Hunter.









Recently I asked Ben Hunter To show me the house that was made from Hunter’s Playhouse In Gilark. Of course the present occupants are not the original owners. I took a few pictures and wanted to share this one. Just after you cross the railroad tracks in Gilark there’s an old store and I believe it’s about the second hose on the left. I had hunted the house before but couldn’t recognize it, so I decided to get Ben to show me. Of course it’s not the same but is a curiosity for those of us who had so many happy memories of the original Playhouse.
Bernard McCoy



Submit your playground and playhouse memories to Sherry Gresham Gritzbaugh at or mail to:

Sherry Gresham Gritzbaugh, 4507 Verone St., Bellaire, TX77401. All pictures and documents will be returned to the sender.

Be sure to include your return name and  return address.