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Shreveport Woman’s Department Club Building

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1924–1925, Clarence W. King. 802 Margaret Pl.

The Woman's Department Club was founded in 1919 (the year Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the vote) to provide “a center of thought and action for the promotion of educational, literary and artistic growth of Shreveport and vicinity.” The club was founded when Shreveport was experiencing a period of enormous growth following the discovery of oil in the region, and its members organized in order to focus on addressing the city’s cultural and social needs. The club's community projects included a study of schools and their standards, studies of city sanitation and health problems, and sponsorship of libraries, educational programs, college scholarships, and concerts.

In the early twentieth century, Colonial Revival designs in red brick were popular for buildings devoted to women's activities, and this one follows the pattern. The style’s residential qualities and emphasis on delicate details were considered particularly suitable to such purposes, and this club building, while monumental in its own way, has a perceptible domestic flavor. The two-story building’s corner location allowed an entrance portico with paired Corinthian columns on the narrow gabled end and a larger portico, which also serves as a porte-cochere, on the longer facade. The gables are outlined as pediments, and all the details are painted white to contrast with the brick. The architect's plans identify the two principal first-floor spaces as “living room” and “dining room,” reinforcing the residential concept. A 440-seat auditorium with a stage fills the second floor and has plaster moldings decorated with dentils, urns, and festoons. When an addition was made to the north side of the club in 1965, the six original dormers were removed.

Architect King (1876–1948) was born in Wharton, Texas, and worked briefly in Monroe, Louisiana, before relocating to Shreveport in c. 1905. His practice encompassed a wide variety of building types from grand residences to institutional and educational structures. For the Shreveport women he provided a design that confidently announced their presence and importance to the community.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Karen Kingsley
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Data

Timeline

  • 1924

    built

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Citation

Karen Kingsley, "Shreveport Woman’s Department Club Building", [Shreveport, Louisiana], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/LA-01-CA41.

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