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The now-vacant home at 711 Shell Beach Drive was placed on the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society's landmark registry in 1988. (Rita LeBleu / American Press)

The now-vacant home at 711 Shell Beach Drive was placed on the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society's landmark registry in 1988. (Rita LeBleu / American Press)

Shell Beach Drive listing has rich past

Last Modified: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 1:37 PM

By Rita LeBleu / American Press

Century 21 Bessette real estate agent Larry Turner may not have become the architect he dreamed of being when he was a boy, but he is the listing agent for the boyhood home of one of the Lake Area’s longest-practicing architects.

Patrick Gallaugher, who began his career with Dunn and Quinn almost 65 years ago, and still works today at age 88, was born in the now-vacant home at 711 Shell Beach Drive. Gallaugher lived there from 1926 until 1950.

Current property owners are David and Cary Tassin who have never lived there but Tassin’s father, Houston, and stepmother, Judi, did.

The home was placed on the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society’s landmark registry in 1988.

Gallaugher shared some of his memories and a little history with the American Press for its series of articles on the homes along this scenic lake drive and iconic neighborhood. (For more information on the Shell Beach Drive series and for how to submit Home and Real Estate photos and story ideas, see page E2.)

“It was built in 1906 or 1907 by George Kreamer who was quite a character,” Gallaugher said about his boyhood home. Kreamer was the organist at Church of the Good Shepherd. When the Kreamer family moved to Oregon, Gallaugher’s father, Frank bought the home before he married Patrick’s mother, Barbara Fitzenreiter, who was known as “Babette.”

When Kreamer moved back to town a few years later, he wanted to buy the house back but Gallaugher’s father wouldn’t sell it to him. So Kreamer bought the house next door.

Gallaugher described the original style as Victorian and having more scrollwork than it has now. “I think my father just took it off when it rotted and he never replaced it.”

Gallaugher’s most vivid memory of living in the home included sleeping in a bed with siblings on the south-side screened porch, regardless of the season.

When asked if it were cold during winters, he said that it certainly was and recalled how the north wind would blast through the house. “The only heated room was the dining room where there was a pot-bellied cast iron stove. We would heat bricks, wrap them in a towel and use these to warm the bed,” he said.

He also recalled how big a deal it was when his oldest sister, “the favorite” according to Gallaugher, was able to move inside to her very own bedroom. She was in her 20s.

Gallaugher is the “baby” of his family. All his older siblings, now deceased, were born in the house: Katherine (Dunn), Barbara (Bradshaw) and Franklin.

Gallaugher’s second most vivid memory was of his mother’s fear of the busy road that ran in front of their Shell Beach home. “It was Highway 90 then,” he said. “My mother was deathly afraid of traffic. The lakefront was not like it is now. It was a little wild, my cowboy land.”

Even when Gallaugher was as old as 12, his mother would take him by the hand and walk him across the street. Once he was in the boat, his mother considered him safe, which was a bit ironic as he recalled. Gallaugher would play all day, often in his boat, which he described as requiring “paddling with one hand while bailing water out with the other.” Other past times involved climbing a tree on the lake’s bank and shooting mullets with his BB gun, much to the dismay of neighbor, George Kreamer, who during many of those shooting sessions was trying to fish.

When Gallaugher returned at the end of the day for supper, he would have to yell for his mother to come and take his hand and accompany him across the road again.

The style of the house at 711 Shell Beach Dr. nor the desire to change it inspired him to enter the field of architecture. Instead it was Katherine’s boyfriend, Lewis Dunn, who noticed that Gallaugher had a penchant for drawing. He began to bring the boy drawing materials.

“That was back when it was required that a boy visit with the girl’s family for at least 30 minutes while the girl finished getting ready,” Gallaugher said. Katherine married Dunn. He and Gustave G. Quinn began Dunn and Quinn, Architects, in 1935.

It was Gallaugher’s first and last job until retirement. “I retired when the firm closed and rattled around for a while. Then I began to visit with Randy Goodloe (an architect). We gave him his first job.” Now Gallaugher works for Goodloe.

Look for highlights of Gallaugher’s architectural contribution to the City of Lake Charles and for photos of his current home in next Sunday’s Home and Real Estate Preview.

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