Downtown Louisiana has the sixth largest number of Mesker buildings in the United States and Chuck Hoffman told the Pike County Historical Society why that is important at the April 15 meeting at Seton Hall in Louisiana.
The Mesker Iron Works was started by German immigrants in Cincinnati, Ohio and then in St. Louis. They produced decorative metal facades for wooden buildings and produced a catalog in 1884. The buildings in downtown Louisiana were built with wooden front and rear walls and brick between them to prevent fires from spreading.
The Lafferty building, or Kate’s Attic, was the first to have the applied metal sheeting from Mesker and is now being restored with the help of a grant from the Louisiana Preservation Association. Not only do the buildings have the metal fronts, some also have pressed metal ceilings manufactured by the Mesker company.
Hoffman also provided many brochures, copies of the original catalogs showing the facades available and photographs of the buildings. Mesker buildings in many communities have been lost due to their age and demolition, making local preservation efforts very important to keep this part of Louisiana history intact.
The 6:30 meeting began with the welcome and invocation by President Paul Lewis and a buffet dinner served by Louisiana Flowers & Gifts Catering. Reports were given by Secretary Marilyn Johnson and Treasurer Linda Harmon. The 1981 Pike County history book reprint copies are still available. Dues may be sent to Harmon in Clarksville.
Louisiana Area Historic Museum board member Judy Schmidt told of the upcoming spring luncheon to be held on Saturday, May 10 at Seton Hall. There will be a noon lunch and program on Victorian vintage clothing given by Carolyn Miller. The money raised will fund the museum’s summer programs for children. Last year the average attendance was 57 youth plus adults. Cheryl Ward will give the first program on toys and games.
Lewis announced that the next meeting on Tuesday, July 11 would be at the Family Resource Center south of Bowling Green with a program on Missouri Governor Elliot Major of Pike County.