Though they now look like a dystopian wasteland, the Villas at Spanish Court have a storied past. And thanks to Sara McDaniel of Simply Southern Cottage, they have a future through our Project House too. But before we watch the villas transform over the course of this year, let’s travel back in time. Here’s some of the intriguing history behind this property and the community surrounding it.
The Villas at Spanish Court are in Minden, Louisiana. It’s a city in Webster Parish, and is bursting with heartfelt charm and small-town spirit. The motto is “Feels Like Home.” The town embodies this sentiment, both in rich lineage of old architecture and the warmth and neighborly friendliness of the community. Whoever comes here, whether they’re passing through or coming to stay, is at home.
The first presence of the Villas at Spanish Court comes from a brief article dated September, 1930, in a local paper. While this period of American history is full of the hardships of the Great Depression, the article gives a glimpse into Minden’s ordinary affairs. It mentions that construction has begun on the villas. A prominent contractor, Mr. F. C. Mcclanahan, oversaw the project. “Originally, the Villas at Spanish Court were state-of-art, multi-family dwellings,” Sara says. “Their design marries both form and function.” The article references stucco and tile, a hint at the beautiful architecture and aesthetic apparent in the villas from the first blueprints.
The story of the Villas at Spanish Court becomes a little murky from that point onward. However, it’s assumed that the villas were inhabited until the 1980s. At that point, they were abandoned and left to deteriorate. But it does mean that the buildings are part of the living narrative of Minden, Louisiana. People who have lived there still reside in the area and are thrilled to know that their old home will be saved, particularly after watching it erode. “It’s meant a lot to hear from former residents of the villas,” Sara says. “They are so grateful because their memories are being brought back to life right alongside the property.”
Check out a video we posted this project on our Instagram! To see more about this project, don’t miss our initial installment, Introducing Project House Louisiana. And stay tuned by following us on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook too!
Photography by Hector Sanchez