Images of America: Lost Minden
Minden has transformed quite a bit since Charles Vedeer founded it in 1835. The town has suffered damages of the Civil War and Reconstruction and between 1872 and 1933 the devastation of five fires and a killer tornado. Despite disaster, Minden continues to progress, but adaptation and rebuilding have caused many familiar landmarks to vanish from the local landscape. The 1902 fire led to the enactment of a city ordinance banning wooden structures downtown; as a result, many edifices were reconstructed. Today, not a single building in the business district predates the 1870s, and the roles of those still standing--such as the First National Bank, which is expected to reopen as a restaurant--are continually changing. In 1918, another fire destroyed the Minden Lumber Mill, the town's largest industry. Later in the 20th century, the development of a city government complex demolished an entire shopping district, the 1905 Webster Parish Courthouse, and Minden City Hall. Lost Minden captures catastrophes, celebrations, storefronts, and back streets that otherwise only remain in memories. John Agan is a lifelong Minden resident who has been actively involved in local history writing and research for more than 30 years. In the course of these activities, he accumulated most of the vintage photographs in this volume that depict the Minden that has since been "lost."
About John Agan (Shreveport, Louisiana Author)
John Agan was born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1958 and has been a life-long resident of Minden, Louisiana. As a small child during the years of the Civil War Centennial, he developed a fascination with history that continues until this day. After graduation from Minden High School he earned a B.A. degree in History from Louisiana Tech University. After a few years working in other fields the call of history was so strong he returned to that calling, earning a M.Ed. in Social Studies Education and later a M.A. in History, also from Louisiana Tech. Before embarking on his teaching career he had already developed a hobby of writing history. For many years he had been absorbed in historical research, but was basically acquiring knowledge with no place to apply that knowledge. John’s writing career began accidentally thanks to one of his professors. About two years after John had graduated from Tech with his B.A., Professor John Winters of Louisiana Tech submitted one of his papers into the annual contest held by the North Louisiana Historical Association for the best paper written on Louisiana History. The first time John learned of the entry was when he was notified that he had won the award for his article, Minden, Louisiana: 1933. Recognizing that the writing gave an outlet for using the research, John began writing articles. He submitted several articles to the Journal of the NHLA, with several winning awards. Later he moved on to a weekly column, Echoes of Our Past, published every Friday in the Minden Press-Herald. For a few years he also wrote a regular article for The Minute Magazine. In 2000, Arcadia Publishing contacted John and asked him to compile a pictorial history of Minden. This first book experience led to four subsequent books on Minden and Webster Parish history. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of History at Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City, Louisiana.