Five houses along Shell Beach Drive comprise the 38th annual Palm Sunday Tour of Homes 1-5 p.m. Sunday, March 24.
The Shell Beach Drive area of Lake Charles has long been a showcase street for houses and a prime address for influential and prominent residents.
The Scottish Balmoral-Tudor-style Walker House at 623 Shell Beach Drive, circa 1927, makes extensive use of leaded glass, brick-and-stucco exteriors and intricate slate roofs, and is noteworthy for the use of art tiles in a Tudor-rose and eglantine tree-of-life pattern on the main facade. A distinctive feature of the house is the sweeping gable on the lake side.
In 1984 the Raggio House at 811 Shell Beach Drive, circa 1905, was purchased by Dr. and Mrs. John Raggio who pledged to return the house to its original look. They reconstructed the wooden porches, replacing the inauthentic concrete porches that had been installed in the 1930s, and removed the outside metal staircase that provided access to the apartments.
The Reinauer House at 813 Shell Beach Drive, circa 1907, was part of an early Spanish land grant, and in 1907 this particular lot was bought by John L. Farque who had the house constructed for his new bride. Sue and Jack Watson bought the property in 1969 and the current owners, the Reinauers, in 1971. The house is a type referred to as a “raised-center hall cottage” and it was constructed of long-leaf yellow pine and cypress.
The Boyer House at 823 Shell Beach Drive, circa 1947, a brick house with four columns, served the Digiglias and their children Ellie and J. W. as the family home for nearly 50 years. The elegant, understated interiors and furnishings are the work of the current owners, Claudia and James Boyer.
The original owners of the Fontenot House at 1200 Shell Beach Drive, circa 1935, called the distinctive house “Lake Haven.” The house is built in the Georgian revival Tidewater style and occupies an acre lot directly on the lake. The one-and-half story red-brick structure was built for $11,400. All the wood used in the house is cypress, except for the white oak and red oak flooring throughout. The Holleyman’s granddaughter, Nancy, is married to Wendell Fontenot, and they are the current owners.
Palm Sunday Tour of Homes tickets are available online from the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society: calcasieupreservation.org. Sales outlets include Gordon’s Drugstore on Lake Street and the Arts and Humanities Council office in Central School. Tickets are also available during the tour.