by Rickey Robertson
This year the Kisatchie High School celebrates its Centennial. Last year the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation designated the Historic Structure as one of Louisiana’s Most Endangered Properties. The Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation recently awarded the Kisatchie Community Center a grant to make a nomination and application to add Kisatchie High School to the National Registry of Historic Places. The school is unique and important to the community and the State of Louisiana due to several significant reasons. Botanist and Preservationist Caroline Dorman, who is attributed with the formation of Kisatchie National Forest, briefly taught at Kisatchie and it was during her tenure that the notion and name of Kisatchie Forest was born. The school is educationally significant because it represents the consolidation movement within the Community and Natchitoches Parish in the 1920’s as one of the few examples remaining of this Educational Movement. The Architecture of the structure is also unique as most schools built during this time were made of wood construction. Kisatchie’s school was made of permanent construction including handmade bricks originally made by community residents from clay and sand at a nearby creek.
The structure is located at the intersection of the Caroline Dorman Highway (LA Hwy. 117) and the Louisiana Maneuvers & Purple Heart Memorial Highway (LA Hwy. 118). However, visitors are not currently invited to come on site. The structure is currently under threat by eight factors: vandalism, site trespassing, environmental damage, asbestos, water infiltration, pest, structural, and financial burdens – which all contribute to the endangerment of the building. Last year plans were developed to restore and re-purpose the building into a combined Rural Museum, Conference Center and Retreat. Those plans are available for review on the “Kisatchie High Tribute” Facebook page.
Kisatchie Center recently has announced a new Web Site “kisatchiecenter.org”. Currently, donors are being ask to provide a non-monetary pledge toward the restoration goal of $675,000. Those making pledges will be contacted at a later date and asked to convert those pledges into a monetary donation. Kisatchie Community Center is recognized as a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt organization and can be reached at the following mailing address Kisatchie Center, 2508 Hwy. 118, Provencal, LA 71468; or at the following email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Kisatchie High School was built in 1920 and this is the 100th Anniversary year of its construction. This is a photo of the school as it looks today. (Robertson Photo)
Kisatchie High School Gymnasium is still standing along with the school building. Kisatchie High School was home of the Kisatchie Indians. (Robertson Photo)
Categories: Special Feature