Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Beau Chene Subdivision History

The history of the Madisonville area and the Beau Chene residential subdivision just east of it can be found at THIS LINK, courtesy of the Beau Chene Homeowners Association. 

The text from the Beau Chene History webpage is as follows:

History of Beau Chêne

Beau Chêne is located on approximately 1,250 acres. Around 500 acres in the western portion of the community was made up of two old homesteads of the Penick and Weiss families.

The history of the Penick property dates back to the 1700s. About two miles from Madisonville on the east bank of the Tchefuncte River was a portion of land claimed by Charles Parent, the Spanish government’s commandant of the District of the Tchefuncte. However, in 1814, the U.S. government granted the land to Jacques Lorance, who had possessed it from 1804 to that time. The property included over 2,000 acres, a portion on which he operated a brickyard.

Later, E.H. Samory owned the property, calling it the Oakland Stock Farm. By 1897, he decided to build a health resort called Pineland Park. It included cottages, a large Greek Revival building, a dining hall and a pavilion for entertaining. A steamboat named “New Camelia” brought people and supplies from New Orleans and the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Pineland Park had a 1,500-acre farm and a resident physician. Available activities included boating, fishing, swimming and horse races. All of this was available for $1.50 daily, $10 weekly or $35 per month. A portion of the Beau Chêne Oak Golf Course is located where the racetrack was. The popularity of Pineland Park was short-lived. The railroad came and as a result lake trade and boat excursion business declined. Unfortunately, Samory soon was bankrupt.

A gentleman named Harrie Hayden bought Pineland in 1905. He had a 103-foot yacht built in Boston to carry guests to the resort. It was named the “Pineland”, captained by Joe Ballam of Madisonville.

Hayden eventually ceased to operate Pineland, and later moved into a home above a lumber mill. He operated the mill store and post office in Houton, an area west of Beau Chêne. In 1930, he sold the Pineland home and 10 acres to Frank Otis, who called it Fairview. Today, it is a museum adjacent to Fairview State Park, located one mile west from the Beau Chêne Marina gate.


This is the same Zemurray who, in October of 1928, bought a large property north of Hammond and he and his wife converted it into the well-known Zemurray Gardens. When he bought it, the property was going by the name of Houltonwood, which is very similar to Houltonville, the area southwest of Pineland Park in St. Tammany Parish.

Zemurray was a Russian Jewish immigrant who came to America with his family at the age of 15 in 1892. He was perhaps the most significant of the several distinguished owners of this historic property. His fortune was based on the banana trade with Central America. He was so successful with his Cuyamel Fruit Company in Honduras that he sold it to the United Fruit Company in 1929 for $33,000,000 and eventually became president of the purchasing company.

Zemurray was one of the most generous philanthropists in New Orleans donating several new buildings and making numerous other gifts to Tulane University. His former residence at No. 2 Audubon Place is now the residence of the president of Tulane. Touro Infirmary, the Community Chest, the New Orleans Child Guidance Clinic and other charities also benefited from his contributions.  

In the 1930s, William Penick bought the deserted overgrown Pineland Park. Penick was a lawyer and the founder of the H.G. Hill grocery store, later bought by Winn-Dixie. Penick built a large colonial mansion which featured an alley of oaks from the house to the nearest road, and a double row of camellias going to the river. There was also a 3-hole golf course. The house was named “Beaux Chênes”—which means “beautiful oaks” in French. The house later served as the original Beau Chêne office, and is privately owned today. It is located on Plantation Drive.

Leon Weiss was the state architect under governors Huey Long and Dick Lesch. He designed the State Capitol. He built a large house with a swimming pool, an artesian well, and a pigeonnier, which is located at the end of Kiskatom Lane. An unusual home was later built (to sell) by Beau Chêne developer Morgan Earnest around the pigeonnier.

An old stable on the Weiss property was converted into a unique personal home by Lester Kabacoff, the other original Beau Chêne developer. This home is on Gloria’s Place and is privately owned today.

Beau Chene Subdivision area 1965

U.S. Senator Russell Long bought the land that had been the Weiss and Penick properties from Mark Smith, Jr. in the early 1970s. He later asked developers Morgan Earnest and Lester Kabacoff of New Orleans for advice regarding the property. These developers (Beau Chêne, Inc.) bought the property and began to develop Beau Chêne in 1974.


The invitation to the pre-opening event of the subdivision

"We hope that you will be able to join us for this premiere showing of Beau Chene, a luxury open space residential golf and racquet club community bordered by the Tchefuncta River in St. Tammany Parish.

The beautifully wooded residential sections of Beau Chene are designed for maximum privacy and quiet, yet will be directly adjacent to outstanding recreational and social facilities The Beau Chene Golf ond Racquet Club will feature a challenging 16-hole golf course designed by the world renowned golf course architect Joseph Lee.

The modern clubhouse, a rustic building nestled in a rustic setting, offers facilities for private entertalning as well as formal and informal dining. A Racquet Club will serve an extensive tennis complex of indoor and outdoor courts.

This pre-opening gathering is being held to introduce
Beau Chene to our friends and associates. Please join us for refreshments, and a view of what we feel will be the finest community in our area.

 Morgan Earnest           Lester Kabacoff

Recent aerial photo of Beau Chene Subdivision