4 Historic sites in the ArkLaMiss added to “Endangered Places” list

Local News

(06/22/20) “It’s sort of been an icon to those of faith in this area.” CJ Sartor, Clerk of Session at Alto Presbyterian Church said.

The Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation helps to conserve sites losing their battle with time and mother nature through a revolving loan program. They emphasize critical locations with a “Endangered Places” list to bring awareness. 11 sites were added this year, 4 of which are in the ArkLaMiss.

“It’s been a dry cleaners, over time, it’s been a historic hamburger joint, known as the B n B Hamburger Restaurant ” Iimmy Hand, Executive Director of Main Street Homer said.

The 1922 Pan Am Petroleum Gas Station is one of two locations in Homer. The building is an iconic location in Homer’s Historic District. It is the last of it’s kind in the area, as there used to be seven during the automobile boom.

“So we want to try to save it, bring it back into play. Right now we’re utilizing it as a farmer’s market, and we hope to continue expanding that as we continue to revitalize this old building.” Hand said.

The 1936 American Legion Hut is another location in Homer. It is also known as the Homer Community Center. This building is not located within the Historic District, so it will be listed individually on the National Historic Registry. Both this building, and the old gas station, will be eligible for tax credits for rehabilitation.

“We think this building would be a great asset for the community as an event center, for like what it was used for in the past. Proms to dances to weddings to basketball games to wrestling matches to the Homer Hayride in the 1950’s and 60’s.” Hand said.

The 1902 garland house in Bernice is also on the list.

The 1873 Alto Presbyterian Church is also full of historic memories.

“Weddings and Funerals and Confirmations and Sunday school classes.Our main problems right now is the foundation. We can’t wait much longer before we do something. Or it’s going to be beyond saving.” Sartor said.

There are ways the community can help keep the history alive by donating.

“Right now we need donations. And we kind of hate to ask everyone because we”re in the middle of a pandemic and everyone’s hurting.” Sartor said.

Sartor says the church has raised $44,000 so far, but with additional issues popping up, the budget has increased to $70,000.

“If we can get people, volunteers to come out and work to help clean it up because it is a mess in there” Hand said. “And that’s what we’re all about, we’re willing to use the foundations of our past to build our future on.”

They are also looking for investors interested in the buildings.

If you would like to help you can contact Both Mr. Jimmy Hand and Mrs. CJ Sartor directly for volunteer and monetary inquiries. You can reach Mr. Hand at his Main Street office phone by calling (318) 422-2719.

You can reach Mrs. Sartor at her email: sartor@sartorassociates.com.

For more information on the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, or would like to donate through them as well, their website is here.

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