Historically speaking: A look back at Back Street

By Jessica Gorman

Along Broadway, in the area now occupied by the Civic Center, a row of businesses once stood. Several of these businesses were owned by immigrant families including the Elzens, Kirkikises, Michaels, and Dows. Over the years, some of the businesses that operated in this area were the Elzen Store, Minden Café, Miller’s Grocery, Sugg store, Warren’s Drug Store, Abraham Dow’s store, Aline’s Fashion Shop, a service station, Brown Store, Cason’s Clothing Store, Adkin’s Grocery, Minden Herald, a shoe shop, and for a few months in 1930, a bowling alley. Located among these businesses was the old jail and the Episcopal church. 

In this same area, in 1887, Mrs. Celia Harper purchased property at what would have been the corner of Broadway and Pearl making her the first black woman to purchase land in Minden. She owned and operated a boarding house. 

A fire occurred here in April 1930. An estimated $22,500 in damages was reported by Cason’s Clothing Store, Adkin’s Grocery, and the Minden Herald. It is believed that the fire was intentionally set after a burglary at Cason’s Clothing Store. Once the fire was extinguished, it was found that the safe had been blown open and money and papers were missing. 

This column is intended to share snippets of Webster Parish history. Please direct any questions or suggestions to dorcheatmuseum@yahoo.com or visit us at the museum. 

(Jessica Gorman is the Assistant Director and Archivist for the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum in Minden and is an avid genealogist.)

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