Lake Charles Centennial Celebrations

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The city's most treasured historic sites were open to the public on Saturday as part of the Lake Charles Centennial Celebrations. Most of the buildings were built after the Great Fire of 1910.

Among the seven historic sites on the tour was Central School Arts and Humanities Center. It's hard to believe back in 1992 the old school building was being considered for demolition, but with the help of Ben Mount the city was able to save and restore the building to its original glory.

Mount passed away in December after a long battle with cancer. Saturday Friends of Central School renamed the auditorium in his name.

"Ben along with the Calcasieu Preservation Society had a plan to raise a tax, a temporary tax, to raise the money to rebuild this school to be fire code compliant. So had it not been for Ben Mount this school would not be here. So it's only appropriate we at Friends of Central School that he have this auditorium named after him in honor and in memory of what he has done in our community," said Ann Knapp, Friends of Central School.

Another stop on the tour was the old U.S. Post Office and Federal Court House on Broad Street - now the law offices of Lundy, Lundy, Soileau and South. Hunter Lundy explained after buying the building at auction they used archives to breathe new life into the old building.

"As you can imagine you walk around the building you can see copies of the designs mounted on the wall showing what this courtroom looked like in 1912. And we restored it according to the design. Now the floors are 1909 pine - original floors still here. The top of the ceiling is original molding but it's also been restored. The artifacts in the courtroom and bench and so forth are redone from design drawings," said Lundy.

Also on the tour the Masonic Lodge, Temple Sinai, the 1911 City Hall and Cultural Center and the Historic Calcasieu Parish Courthouse.