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Local History

Local History: The First Theaters In West St. Tammany

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Covington History segment provided by local historical writer Ron Barthet. View Ron’s blog Tammany Family here.

Plays and performances have always been a part of the west St. Tammany scene, with productions put on at the park pavilion and even in tents on vacant lots. According to a historical plaque in downtown Covington, a “five cent show or electric theater was well patronized” as early as July of 1907, and later, in May of 1908, there were two moving picture theaters downtown, The Covington Electric Theater and the New Rink Electric Theater, which billed itself as the largest moving picture theater outside New Orleans.

Victor Frederick soon opened the Air Dome, a 500 seat theater on Boston Street across from the Southern Hotel, and in September, 1912, a Mr. Ulmer opened the New Covington Theater on New Hampshire Street in the Warren Building opposite the train depot, the historical plaque goes on to report.

In the September 20, 1913, edition of the St. Tammany Farmer it was announced that a new theater was to be built on the corner of New Hampshire and Boston Streets on the Wehrli lot, opposite the St. Tammany Bank building and across from the old parish courthouse. It was going to be first class in every respect, according to the article.

Mr. C.E. Schonberg and Robt. L. Aubert constructed the new theater building from “modern plans” up-to-date in its furnishings and state-of-the-art equipment with “every convenience for the patrons.” The theater was to be fitted with regular opera chairs, with the regulation incline that “will give every one an unobstructed view of the pictures and stage,” the article stated.

The first week’s entertainment had already been scheduled with the film company. According to the news article, the theater was leased to Charles Sidney August Fuhrmann and Ed Barrenger who had purchased the latest improved Edison picture machine to show silent movies. 

click to view larger

A contest was held for the naming of the new picture show, with the winner getting a season pass and a $5 gold piece. Suggestions were mailed to Fuhrmann, with the suggested names judged by a panel of three persons. The name of the successful contestant was   Mrs. Edmund B. Stern who had submitted the winning name “Parkview,” and the judges included Judge Joseph B. Lancaster, D. J. Sanders, and D.H. Mason.

On opening night at the Parkview, the house was packed. Fuhrmann was given a round of applause after he presented to the gathered dignitaries the following remarks: 

“Ladies and gentlemen, as manager of this theater, I wish to thank you one and all, for your attendance to-night to witness our initial performance, which I trust you have appreciated. It is needless for me to say that we have spared no efforts to give you one of the most up-to-date and modern moving picture theaters that will be found in the parish of St Tammany. 

“We shall at all times endeavor to maintain perfect order and absolute cleanliness. We also wish to assure the public that smoking in the audience and spitting on the floors will positively be prohibited, that is, to the best of our ability. Only licensed films will be shown on our canvas and these will be of a strictly high class and moral nature. We will present a complete change in program each night and will operate regardless of weather conditions.

“Any organization or club desiring the use of our theater for a benefit entertainment,  we will be more than glad to quote such parties special prices on application.”

Fuhrmann’s plans included making the facility more of a “theater of the performing arts,” spotlighting not only professional entertainers who had been brought in from New Orleans, but also local talent. It was also used for lectures and educational presentations.

Performers who took the stage at the Parkview included poetry readers, pianists,  violinists, singers, and magicians. In addition to being a multi-talented showman, Fuhrmann also wrote skits and plays that were staged there.

He was considered a one-man chamber of commerce for St. Tammany Parish, with noted success in theater, baseball and art. In addition to being a theater operator, he managed a tri-state baseball team called the Majestics. He believed that every good town needed a good baseball team.

He welcomed local civic groups to use the Parkview to promote special causes and fund-raising events. In December of 1916, the Fire Department helped sell tickets to shows at the Parkview Theater for the benefit of raising funds for new equipment.  The fire department agreed to the purchase of 1000 adult tickets at five cents each and 500 children’s tickets at 2 and a half cents each. The Covington Fire Association would then sell the tickets for five and ten cents each.

In 1917, the looming threat of war chilled the local economy and there was some thought the theater would have to close. But the editor of the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper fought for the continued operation of the Parkview, giving his reasons in an editorial on May 26 .(Click on image below)

Meanwhile, over in Abita Springs, the Airdome of Abita Springs was offering dances and moving pictures to that community. An April 7, 1917, article in the Farmer stated that the Abita Airdome would be a place of amusement that will prove attractive to a large number of people. “The film service will be excellent and every effort will be made to please the patrons,” the article said. The theater had been remodeled and improved, and an Easter dance was being planned, along with a five-reel moving picture called “The Golden Claw.”

A two-reel Keystone comedy was also on the agenda. Included in the night’s entertainment would be a band from New Orleans providing music.

Admission to the Abita theater show was ten cents for children and 15 cents for adults. Attending the dance cost extra.

From August of 1920

Meanwhile, down in Mandeville, the Hip Theater was gaining the attention of the community. 

By 1926, the Parkview had become inadequate to handle the crowds at many of the entertainments, so something had to be done. A group of businessmen in Covington decided they needed a bigger, newer motion picture theater, and that led to the building of the Majestic Theater, located on New Hampshire Street, half a block south of Boston Street. Fuhrmann painted murals on all the interior walls of the Majestic, scenes from St. Tammany Parish, trees draped with moss, moonlight on the waterways, etc. Theater patrons marvelled at his artistic ability.

The opening of the new theater was a grand event, attended by hundreds of people, surrounded by 300 automobiles.

The entrance to the Majestic Theater in 1940. Photo submitted by Mike Pittman, https://eagfwc.org/men/es-bueno-tomar-viagra-todos-los-dias/100/ persuasive essay thesis follow site go here https://workethic.org/order/viagra-generico-qual-o-nome/85/ go to site see url viagra buerger's disease descriptive essay grandmother help in writing a scholarship essay love poems essay https://moorelifeurgentcare.com/edtreatment/pills-like-viagra-at-gnc/84/ bioremediation case study cialis robeline https://academicminute.org/paraphrasing/belonging-creative-writing-speech/3/ source site https://hudsonpubliclibrary.org/library/free-research-papers-on-animal-rights/92/ essays on the history of the piano see https://lincolnnova.com/dailyuse/viagra-boys-research-download/83/ click here go to site viagra equivalent women 2005 protein essay is vital for cell growth and metabolism http://archive.ceu.edu/store.php?treat=kamagra-oral-jelly-wirkdauer tosh 2.0 viagra essay censorship go here go to site go to site metamorphosis essay topics prix viagra boite 4 Remember Covington The Way It Was Facebook Page.

The Majestic Theater

And today…

The building which once housed The Majestic Theater

The building which once housed The Majestic Theater
The Majestic was home to not only the latest motion picture releases, but it continued the Parkview tradition of vaudeville, talent nights, and dance revues by local dance schools. 

Fuhrmann believed that the local theater should be used as a “springboard” for local talent, which should be encouraged and given a stage upon which to perform.

To keep interest up and let people know of coming events at the Majestic, he and his daughter would ride around town in a sound truck, broadcasting the latest about what was coming to the theater. 

Longtime Covington resident Norma Core recalled the days of the Parkview Theater and the Majestics grand opening in this late 1970’s interview with Bryan Ireland:

 In the late 1930’s another theater was opened by Fuhrmann, this being the “Deluxe,” located on New Hampshire Street, just north of Gibson Street. 

The Deluxe was plush, elegant and well-appointed, showing the latest Hollywood blockbusters and MGM musicals as well as new Technicolor films. One of the biggest showings was that of “Gone With The Wind.” 

The building that housed the Deluxe Theater

Pat Clanton, Fuhrmann’s daughter, remembers as a young girl she and her friends dressing up in Antebellum costumes and serving as ushers for the showings. “People were excited about going out to see Gone With The Wind,” she said. “They talked about it for weeks before it came. It was really special.”

Movies usually only played for two or three nights, but “Gone With The Wind” played for an entire week, with tickets being sold with assigned seat numbers printed on each one. 

In addition to his Covington shows, Fuhrmann also operated theaters south of Covington, the Madison in Madisonville, and the Lake Theater on the Mandeville lakefront at Girod Street. They continued to run for years through World War II. 

Charles Sidney August Fuhrmann

Pictured on an outing in September of 1912 are from left to right, H. K. “Nat” Goodwyn, former editor of the Farmer, Sidney Fuhrmann, Margaret Howell, Alton (Buck) Smith, Maizie Howell, Burton White and Clara Faulk. 

Furhmann died in 1963, and years later he was honored by the City of Covington with the main auditorium at the Greater Covington Center being named after him. That facility on Jefferson Avenue is also a center for the performing arts, as well as the city’s administrative offices.

See also: The Park Drive In Theater

Local History

Covington History: Alexius Brothers Hardware

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Covington History segment provided by local historical writer Ron Barthet.
View Ron’s blog Tammany Family here.

The Alexius Brothers Hardware store was located on Lockwood Street, across the train tracks from the Covington Train Depot.

Alexius Bros. Hardware and Lumber, around 1917
From left to right are Alfred, Olive Wadsworth, Selma Alexius Wadsworth, Alfreda Wadsworth and John Wadsworth.

In 1907, Guido Alexius and his sons Alfred, Cintio and John, founded Alexius Brothers and Company; and later his son Horace joined in the business. In 1915, this landmark establishment, originally a gym, was purchased. Later in the 20th century, Guido’s grandsons G.C. and Haller Alexius operated the hardware store at this location until 1985.

Interior of Alexius Bros. Hardware on Lockwood St.
Front row, left to right, G. C. Alexius, Horace Alexius Sr., Alfred Alexius, Willie Cox and John Blow. In the background are Ezra Blow, salesman, and John Alexius.

In addition, portions of the land were donated by the Alexius family for the construction of the Covington Trailhead.The Old Railroad Depot- The original depot faced New Hampshire Street with a passenger and freight terminal facing east. During the mid-1900s, the depot was moved one block to the present site (now a restaurant).

A 1930’s picture of the Alexius Brothers: from left, Carl, Alfred, Horace, Centio and John Alexius.

Check out Ron Barthet’s blog Tammany Family for more great local history! More photos related to this post here.

Local History

Covington History: the St. Tammany Parish Courthouse

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Introducing our new Local History segment provided by local historical writer Ron Barthet. View his blog Tammany Family here.

Here is the history as well as some photographs depicting four of the courthouses that have served St. Tammany Parish.

An 1820 map showing the first courthouse near Enon (click to enlarge)

Prior to 1817, a courthouse serving both Washington and St. Tammany Parishes was located near Enon in Washington Parish in an area known as “Washington Fields.” Records indicated that some soldiers were stationed there for the War of 1812.

According to a publication of the Louisiana State Bar Association entitled “Louisiana’s Historic Courthouses: A Look at the Past and the Present,” (Published in 2016) The St. Tammany Parish courthouse sprang from legislation signed by Louisiana’s first governor, William Charles Cole Claiborne in 1813. The legislation called upon a local committee to locate a courthouse site “within three miles of the center of St. Tammany Parish, which at that time consisted of Washington Parish, St. Tammany Parish and the portion of Tangipahoa Parish east of the Tangipahoa River.”

Following those directions, the group established the first courthouse near the banks of the Bogue Chitto River near Enon on property owned by Judge Thomas C. Warner, who was the first parish judge in St. Tammany Parish.

The Bar Association’s Journal went on to explain that four years after establishing the courthouse near Enon, another group was given the assignment of moving the parish seat. “The Claiborne Company had purchased a portion of the Kleinschmidt Spanish land grant in 1813. In exchange for the commission naming the Town of Claiborne as the parish seat, the Claiborne Company offered some of its land and agreed to build a courthouse and jail for the parish, free of charge.”

“Robert Layton told them (the group seeking a parish seat) that he’d build a courthouse if they made Claiborne the parish seat,” said retired Judge Steve Ellis, a parish historian. This resulted in the second St. Tammany Parish courthouse being built in the Town of Claiborne just east and across the river from Covington. It cost around $20,000 to build.

That building, built in 1818, currently stands across the driveway from the Chimes Restaurant near the Bogue Falaya River. The structure was completed and opened for business on April 12, 1819.

However, the bar journal account noted that “within 10 years of the erection of the 1819 Courthouse, the Police Jury determined that the courthouse should be moved to Covington, previously known as the Town of Wharton.”

On June 5, 1837, the Police Jury purchased Lots 12-15 on the corner of Boston and New Hampshire Streets in Covington for use as a courthouse site, the bar journal stated.

The 1819 Courthouse was eventually sold and used as a private residence and Catholic seminary. In the late 1800s, a hotel known as the Claiborne Cottages was built next to the former 1819 Courthouse. Those cottages were destroyed by fire in the early 1900s.

The parish seat was moved from Claiborne to Covington in 1838. A courthouse was built on the corner of Boston St. and North New Hampshire St. In 1884, however, the Police Jury voted to demolish the courthouse located at that location. “During the demolition and rebuilding period, Covington Town Hall was used as a courtroom. The new courthouse opened two years later in 1886 and was used for 73 years, according to the bar journal account.

The structure pictured above at that location was built in 1896, with the cornerstone of that building pictured right, as it looks preserved as a monument in front of the old courthouse site at the northeast corner Boston St. and New Hampshire St.

1896 Courthouse

“The completion of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in 1956 magnified the need for a larger facility to conduct the parish’s business,” the Bar Association article went on to say. “In 1959, the parish decided to build a new courthouse, completed in 1960. Within the year it took to complete the new courthouse, court was held in the gymnasium of the Jefferson Avenue grammar school. The new courthouse shown below was opened in 1959 in the same location as the previous courthouse. It featured a jail on the third floor.

The police jury held a number of committee meetings about what to do about the growing space problems in the courthouse building. They finally decided, despite objections, to build a new courthouse down near Interstate 12. The courthouse stayed in Covington, however, after some legal action by city officials noting that the courthouse had to be in the parish seat.

For a brief time, in an effort to provide more space, there were a couple of courtrooms and judges offices in the building where the Southern Hotel is located today. It served as Parish Administrative Offices for several years, complete with police jury meeting room and offices for various parish agencies.

The parish chose to ignore the city’s objections and built an office facility on Koop Drive off La. 29 near Interstate 12, moving its main administrative offices and several key departments to that location. In 1996, efforts resumed to build a bigger courthouse, but within the boundaries of the City of Covington. The old P&W Salvage facility on Jefferson Avenue was considered.

“The 1960 courthouse was used until the St. Tammany Justice Center opened in 2003, which brought together many of the parish’s offices that were scattered throughout the city,” according to the Bar Association article. Planning for the massive $64 million structure began in the year 2000.

“The St. Tammany Parish Justice Center, unlike any courthouse in Louisiana, is a 312,000-square-foot structure containing 22,000 cubic yards of concrete and 25,000 St. Joe bricks and housing 12 courtrooms,” said the article.

Check out Ron Barthet’s blog Tammany Family for more great local history! More great photos related to this post here.

Local Events

History & Mystery of New Hampshire Street Sunday

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History & Mystery of New Hampshire Street takes place Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 6 p.m. At the 300 Block of N. New Hampshire St. (between Boston and Gibson Streets). This event is an informative and fun-filled celebration of N. New Hampshire lore, including the Southern Hotel, The Star Theater, EOC Building (Old Courthouse) and the St. Tammany Farmer. This is a free event sponsored by the Covington Heritage Foundation and the City of Covington.

Local News

A Tribute to Corey Matthew Furgeson

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Corey was known by many in downtown Covington, and on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, friends and family gathered for services and celebration.  Corey had a positive impact on more people than anyone realized, and it was apparent by the eclectic group of people present, many already friends and some meeting for the first time.   With a firework send-off at the Columbia Street Landing, a Second Line down New Hampshire St., a celebration at the Covington Brewhouse and after party at The Green Room, it was an epic day that everyone made happen.  Glad to know you, Corey, and keep a good watch over us my friend.

Corey Furgeson pictured with Jessica DeVun's work at the Columbia St. Landing. Photo by Chelsea Cochrane.

Corey Furgeson pictured with Jessica DeVun’s work at the Columbia St. Landing. Photo by Chelsea Cochrane.

General Local Events Local News

Save the Date for “Deck the Rails” at the Covington Trailhead Saturday December 5, 2015

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The City of Covington will host its sixth annual children’s Christmas event Deck the Rails at the Covington Trailhead, 419 N. New Hampshire Street, on Saturday, December 5, 2015 from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Attendees will be treated to Frozen-themed crafts and Christmas caroling. Santa Claus will also arrive on his magical fire truck and the night will end with a showing of the holiday film, Frozen, a beloved Disney fairytale.

“The City of Covington is honored to host this great event once again,” says Cultural Arts and Events Coordinator, Cody Ludwig, “We are very excited to show an outdoor film, Frozen, and I know that film will definitely be a big hit with our kids!

The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments including hot chocolate will be provided but please also feel free to bring blankets and snacks for during the film.

For more information, contact Cody Ludwig, City of Covington Office of Cultural Arts & Events, at 985-892-1873 or cludwig@covla.com.   www.covla.com

city of cov deck the rails 2015

Local News Shop Local

Go Treasure Hunting At Rosemary’s Closet – Shop Local

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410 N. New Hampshire - On The Trace

410 N. New Hampshire – On The Trace

When you enter Rosemary’s Closet, a smile is a sure sign of appreciation. The shop is filled with fun, quality vintage clothing and accessories for both men and women.  Get ready for a chilly winter with a warm coat and scarf! There are also purses, gloves, lingerie, ties and much more to be found.  Rosemary’s Closet is Magazine Street vintage with Covington prices!

For music lovers, you may also find that perfect LP or 45 which brings back so many memories. Featuring holiday classics such as Nat King Cole’s “Christmas Songs” or “Christmas With Patti Page”. It goes perfect with a crackling fire and a hot cup of coco, and they make excellent gifts for the nostalgic in your life.

Finding the shop is an adventure in itself.  Located along the St. Tammany Trace where lumber trains once traversed Covington, the shop is tucked away off the street on this quite little trail.  After finding the corner of Gibson Street and North New Hampshire, look behind the brick Farmer law building to see the shop.

You can truly go “treasure hunting” in Rosemary’s Closet and find that perfect vintage outfit or accessory while appreciating the reasonable prices!

Rosemary's Closet Christmas 2013