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History of Logtown Plantation

 

The 235 acres that make up Logtown Plantation were part of an enormous Spanish land grant to Jean Baptiste (Don Juan) Filhiol (1740-1821) in 1785.  He was a Frenchman commissioned by Estevan Miro, the Spanish governor in New Orleans, to establish an outpost in the Ouachita River Valley in the early 1780's.  Don Juan Filhiol named the post Ft. Miro.  In 1820 it was renamed Monroe.

 

The House

Don Juan's grandson, Jean Baptiste Filhiol (1815-1885), and his wife, Nancy St. Clair Bellew Filhiol (18230-1887), built the first two rooms of the Greek revival cottage around 1847.  H. Layoux, a French cabinetmaker, directed the work.  The cypress lumber was cut on the tract and sawn with a pit saw.  The brick in the chimneys and in the piers was made on the site.  The doors, sashes and the fan windows were made by hand as well.  The beaded exposed rafters in the parlor and the rose bedroom are a typically French construction detail.  The ceilings in these two rooms have always been painted Robin's Egg Blue.

The house has been enlarged many times, most notably in the 1880's when Roland M. Filhiol (1848-1906) added a bedroom and a bathroom with unusual pocket windows of stained glass.  He moved the kitchen and dining room, previously located away from the house because of the danger of kitchen fires, adjacent to the house.  He replaced the original mantels in the parlor and rose bedroom with fancy Victorian millwork and redecorated the dining room in Victorian "steamboat gothic" style.  The light fixture in the dining room is original to the house and most likely burned kerosene.  Every old house has to have a ghost, so Logtown has Roland who died in the rose bedroom (currently Camellia Room) in 1906. 

John Baptist Filhiol (1876-1946) connected the kitchen and dining room to the house about 1910, bringing them to the same elevation as the rest of the house and under the same roof for the first time.

The house, surrounding fields and woods remained in the hands of the Filhiol family until 1999.  The last Filhiol to live at Logtown Plantation was Marie Adelle Filhiol (1908-1997), who served as the principal of nearby Logtown School (no longer in existence) for many years.

In 2000 new owners, Don and Fran Beach, extended the living room and added the wrap around porch behind it.  The original kitchen was converted to a bedroom, and a new kitchen was built in what had previously been a bedroom on the north end of the house.  In 2018 current owners, Jase and Missy Robertson, opened up the existing kitchen, enclosed part of the back porch and renovated the cistern house to become a new bathroom and dressing room.  They also connected the two back porches with an additional porch. 

 

The Garden & Dependencies

The picket fence around the flower yard originally surrounded the residence of Jean and Nancy Filhiol's friend M. Avet on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans.  The Filhiols so admired the fence that when M. Avet, a merchant and importer, replaced his fence with an iron one, he shipped the wooden one by boat to his friends on the Ouachita River. 

The original chapel to the south of the main house was built prior to 1880 and is constructed with square nails. 

The red barn on the north end of the property dates to the mid-1880's.  The gardens feature a pecan orchard, several varieties of camellias and 140-year old magnolias.  In early spring dozens of Peruvian Scilla send up their star-shaped electric-blue blooms in the formal flowerbed around the birdbath.  Despite its name, this unique bulb is native to the Mediterranean.  According to the family tradition, the original bulbs were a gift to the first Madame Filhiol from Don Juan's cousin the Compte de Grammont. 

 

Some Cool Facts

Parlor - circa 1847

The ceiling with its exposed beams reflects the carpentry traditions of the French builder and is very unusual for north Louisiana.

The ceiling has always been this Robin's Egg Blue and has only been painted three times in 170+ years.

The original simple cypress mantel was replaced with fancy Victorian store-bought millwork in the early 1880's.  The 1880's mirrors are still in place but were covered in 2000 with new mirrors.

The walls are plaster, repaired in 2000, originally white.

Windows are original from 1847 with only a few panes replaced.

Rose Bedroom (currently Camellia Room) and Hall - circa 1847

The left window of this room was covered with a solid shutter when the Victorian porch was added in the 1880's.  In 2000 the porch and roof were reconfigured to open the window to the world for the first time in 120 years.

Cypress Suite - circa 1880

There are similar fireplaces and mantels in Monroe, in the Weaks house on Riverside, the Governor Hall house on Jackson and others built in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

The closets, added in 2000, are the only ones in the house.

The bathroom windows are pocket windows.

The walk-in shower was added in 2018.

Kitchen/Dining Area - circa 1910, remodeled 2000, remodeled 2018

The north end of this room was originally a bedroom, added about 1910.  A new kitchen was installed in 2000, and the dining area was pushed out onto a porch.  The floors in the kitchen and den were replaced with re-sawn pine.

In 2018 current owners, Jase and Missy Robertson, took out the wall and opened up the kitchen/library areas to form one large kitchen.  They also added the fireplace in the living area with brick found on the property.  

Pecan View Suite's master bath (original cistern house) - date unknown, remodeled 2004, remodeled 2018

Some family members believe this may be the earliest structure on the plantation.

The Filhiol family used this space as a wash room, and one corner was a walk-in cooler.

The cistern had gutters to collect rainwater from the roof. 

In 2004 this house was renovated to become guest quarters. The back porch separated it from the main house.  In 2018 a portion of the back porch was enclosed to form a dressing room and connected the cistern house (now a master bathroom) to the bedroom to form one large master suite.  In the dressing room, the large window and door leading to the cottage were found in the attic and used in this renovation.

The cistern is still in its original place and can be viewed from the back porch.

The cooler door is still in working condition and leads into the water closet of the master bathroom.

Magnolia Cottage - date unknown, remodeled in 2004, remodeled in 2018

The central chimney collapsed before 2000, leaving holes in the roof, ceiling and floor. A gas fireplace replaced where the old fireplace stood but was removed in 2018.

The opening in the ceiling around the fan reveals the early blue, "French" ceiling above the later, bead-board ceiling, which was added in the early 1900's.

The walls were painted with one coat of oil base enamel in 2004, after four layers of wallpaper were removed.  A small sample of the oldest two layers of wallpaper remains and is framed on the wall.

The claw foot tub, circa 1880, is from the main house and is now the centerpiece of the master bathroom.

The Property

The heirs very generously shared family papers and stories with the Beaches, and Mrs. Fran Beach has written all of this information down so that all of us can share in its history.  

All of the stained glass windows and transoms are original.

In season there are camellias, daffodils, paper whites, snowdrops, deutzia, spirea, quince, redbud, dogwood, forsythia, azaleas, iris, scilla, crinum, spiderwort, sweet olive, sweet shrub, magnolia fuscata, day lilies, phlox, lantana, mock orange, pink naked ladies, red spider lilies, jacob's ladder, canna, tiger lilies, woods hyacinth, roses and more! 

The property was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1980.

 

A big THANK YOU to Mrs. Fran Beach for the submission of much of the above information!