Saturday, January 4, 2020

Frank Patecek's Store

In September of 1991 an article about Frank Patecek's store at the corner of Boston St. and Columbia St. in Covington was published in the newspaper. It was written by local historian Todd Valois. Here is the text of the article.

"Building reflects family pride
 A wonderful change was brought to one of the most recog­nized buildings on Boston Street Sept. 9 (1991). The second Patecek building received a thorough cleaning and a new coat of paint. It was high time, and the origi­nal builder's granddaughter, Paula Patecek Johnson, should be commended, as well as the Covington Historic Commission, which helped make this possible through a state grant.

Click on the images to make them larger.
The Family's History

On Oct. 27, 1882, Frank Patecek was born to Frank and Antonie Patecek of Chastova, Czechoslovakia. At 14, he left home for the first time. For five years he worked his way through Europe, eventually arriving in America in 1901.

By 1904, Patecek had made his way to New Orleans. While in the city, he contracted pneumonia and was told to go to Covington for his health. There were several east European families in the town and Patecek caught the first train to Claiborne across the Bogue Falaya River from Coving­ton.

He stayed at the Alexander Hotel on Military Road. Henry Otto Alexander, from Strusseburg, Germany, ran the popular hotel for many years.

Patecek later returned to his homeland. Two brothers, Anton and August, and one sister, Josie, then moved to Covington with him. Josie married Paul Freidlander.

A descriptive paragraph in a 1905 booklet

Patecek had learned the trade of tailoring in his European trav­els and in 1905 opened a shop on the corner of Boston and Colum­bia streets. For many years Patecek and his small family lived above the store. It was not long before the structure was known as the Patecek building.

 On Jan. 25, 1906, Patecek mar­ried Pauline Theobald, daughter of John and Mary Theobald, at her family's home "Pfalzheim" (Homeplace), north of Coving­ton. The couple had two children, Frank John (Jr.) and Bertha. Bertha later married Gustave Van Schneidau.


He then became associated with H.J. Ostendorf on Columbia Street.

A family and their car in front of Ostendorf & Pateceks Gents Furnishings Store, which was at 215 N. Columbia St., half a block south of Boston Street. 
Text from a 1910's advertising brochure:

"OSTENDORF & PATECEK, this firm is conducting one of the most  popular  gents'   furnishing, and  tailoring estab­lishments in this section of Louisiana.   The firm is composed of Mr. H. J. Ostendorf who has been prominently identified with the commercial affairs of Covington as manager of the Mercantile Department of Jones & Pickett.  

Prior to that time Mr. Osten­dorf occupied responsible positions in New Orleans with D. H. Holmes and Kaufman & Isaacs.  

Frank Patecek, Mr. Beaucoudray and an unidentified man on horseback during a Firemen's Convention event in 1911.

Mr. Frank Patecek is the junior member of this firm who has been engaged in business in Coving­ton for the past six years.   He was formerly with the firm of Leon Godchaux Co. of New Orleans, prior to which time he was associated with leading tailoring houses in London, Paris and New York.  

Ostendorf & Patecek have a very attractive store in the new Hebert Building, equipped with up-to-date store fixtures and carry in stock an immense line of all kinds of gents furnish­ings and up-to-date patterns in the merchant tailoring line. They have built up a wonderfully successful trade throughout the parish of St. Tammany."

On Nov. 4, 1917, Patecek pur­chased the building ( at the corner of Boston and Columbia streets) from Eugenie Wehrli. The former men's shop is  rented and houses part of Nor­man Haik Department Store. In 1927 Patecek commissioned architect and builder John Orr Edgar and his brother Max to build the second Patecek building next to the original.

Many longtime Covington resi­dents will remember the great Heberts Grill that was housed in this wonderful old building.

In 1925 the family moved into a riverfront home on Rutland Street off Columbia. On March 20, 1951, Patecek died. He was 68. Mrs. Patecek died at 82 on May 24, 1965.

On June 18, 1934, Frank John married Irma Blackwell. They had two daughters, Paula Patecek Johnson and Linda Patecek Staab. Frank John Patecek (in 1991) is a retired realtor, and before her recent death, Mrs. Patecek was a well-known public school teacher.

If Frank Patecek and his wife could see the renewed interest in downtown Covington and their descendants' participating in its rebirth, they would be very proud indeed." 

The Ramblers Club: Among the people pictured are Frank Patecek Sr., Marvin Poole, John Edgar, Deed Smith, Jim Galouye, Sidney Frederick, Marshal Dulion, Cass Segond, Albert Perbos, Jake Seiler Sr., Charles Theobald, E.V. Richard, Paul LaCroix Sr., Nick Seiler, E. J. Frederick Sr., Dr. Numa Hebert, Bob Badon, Wallace Poole, Leon Hebert Sr., and Emile Frederick Sr.

Patecek Building, 301 Columbia

Built shortly after the Great Fire of 1898, the building provides a beautiful example of turn of the century commercial architecture. For more than 120 years, 301 Columbia has housed retail stores and professional offices. It holds the distinction of its second floor being the location of Covington's first telephone exchange.

The early electric neon sign from the Frank Patecek Store is now on display at the H.J. Smith Sons General Merchandise Store and Museum across Columbia Street from the original location.

January 18, 1919 Advertisement

Patecek's Shoe Section

Advertisement Dec. 20, 1919

Advertisement November 29, 1919 


Frank John Patecek in 1976
A realtor and chairman of the St. Tammany American Bicentennial Commission

Photos of the Building Today

After Patecek bought the corner building from Wehrli, he built a second building to the west in 1917. Here are some current day pictures of that building, located at 530-532 Boston Street.