Louisiana Traveler - Weapons collection - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Louisiana Traveler - Weapons collection

DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) -

What was once a storage room is now home to a display of World War I and World War II era weapons. The 27 rifles and handguns were donated by DeRidder collector Velmer Smith.  

"I have a passion for DeRidder's history and the area history," said Smith. "It's just sort of like home. Things that I have owned and enjoyed and have enriched my life, I want them to stay here. I want them to be of some assistance in the future."

One of the weapons on display is a Browning M1911-A. It was standard issue during World War II. The collection includes a broom handle Mauser, which was Winston Churchill's preferred weapon. There's also an Italian Carcana, similar to the rifle that killed President John F. Kennedy.

"I think this place was the right place to bring it to, since this is the first USO built in the United States," said Carlos Archield with the Beauregard Parish Police, which owns the building. "We appreciate everything she has done." 

Smith could have sold the items and made a fortune. Instead, she added the weapons collection to the War Room Museum, which she also donated.

"It takes a person that believes in where they live and believes in what they do," said Sandra Rich, director of the civic center. "She has that heart."

The display was designed and built by Robert Lilly, who admires Smith for her generosity.

"That was to me the whole reason I wanted to do this," said Lilly. "It gave me something to help her guns live on."

The weapons collection room and library will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. An open house will be held Thursday, Sept. 19 from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Copyright 2013  KPLC. All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Community helps Merryville family rebuild after house fire

    Community helps Merryville family rebuild after house fire

    Sunday, August 20 2017 9:50 AM EDT2017-08-20 13:50:25 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

     “I came out of the house, and I noticed Heath’s truck was parked sideways and I heard him screaming,”said Tommy Robberson.   “I just started beating and banging on the door, and I was about ready to give up and just kick it in and they woke up,” said Heath Singletary.   “We finally heard him knocking on the door, and he got us out just in time," said Darlton Calcote.  Now nearly two months later there's not muc...

    More >>

     “I came out of the house, and I noticed Heath’s truck was parked sideways and I heard him screaming,”said Tommy Robberson.   “I just started beating and banging on the door, and I was about ready to give up and just kick it in and they woke up,” said Heath Singletary.   “We finally heard him knocking on the door, and he got us out just in time," said Darlton Calcote.  Now nearly two months later there's not muc...

    More >>
  • SOLAR ECLIPSE: Southwest Louisiana timeline

    SOLAR ECLIPSE: Southwest Louisiana timeline

    Saturday, August 19 2017 7:24 PM EDT2017-08-19 23:24:00 GMT
    (Source: eclipsemega.movie.com)(Source: eclipsemega.movie.com)

    Monday's solar eclipse will begin at 11:50 a.m. in Lake Charles. Lake Charles is far outside the path of total eclipse, but will have 71.4 percent coverage at the peak time of 1:21 p.m. The solar eclipse in will happen around the same time in Southwest Louisiana's five parishes, although there are some slight variations. Click HERE and scroll to the Google interactive map to see exact times in your area. TAKE NOTE: Times on the map are coordinated universal time. Use the graph in t...

    More >>

    Monday's solar eclipse will begin at 11:50 a.m. in Lake Charles. Lake Charles is far outside the path of total eclipse, but will have 71.4 percent coverage at the peak time of 1:21 p.m. The solar eclipse in will happen around the same time in Southwest Louisiana's five parishes, although there are some slight variations. Click HERE and scroll to the Google interactive map to see exact times in your area. TAKE NOTE: Times on the map are coordinated universal time. Use the graph in t...

    More >>
  • Move-in day for McNeese students

    Move-in day for McNeese students

    Saturday, August 19 2017 9:23 AM EDT2017-08-19 13:23:31 GMT
    (Source: website)(Source: website)

    It didn't look like it Friday afternoon, but over the last two days hundreds of students were moving into housing at McNeese State University.    Sophomore Jacoby Sam was one of the few on campus still unpacking a few things. “I brought my clothes, my laptop computer, bed and I still gotta get some stuff," said Sam.  But even though this isn’t Sam’s first rodeo with college, he’s still pretty nervous about living with complete strang...

    More >>

    It didn't look like it Friday afternoon, but over the last two days hundreds of students were moving into housing at McNeese State University.    Sophomore Jacoby Sam was one of the few on campus still unpacking a few things. “I brought my clothes, my laptop computer, bed and I still gotta get some stuff," said Sam.  But even though this isn’t Sam’s first rodeo with college, he’s still pretty nervous about living with complete strang...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly