Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Dorothy Dabney Kehoe

Dorothy Dabney Kehoe was a remarkable Covington area resident who was involved in a variety of activities, from the Bicentennial Celebration in 1976 to local theater productions. Though she was born in Ocean Springs, Miss., Kehoe's family moved to Covington in the mid-1920's and lived at Mulberry Grove. As she grew up, she expressed an interest in directing little theater. As time went on she became involved in public relations consulting, and for a while did public relations for the primate research center and later for St. Tammany Parish Hospital.

Here are some pictures of her in a special costume she designed for a Baton Rouge event. Click on the images to make them larger.
Kehoe's father was renowned newspaper editor Thomas Ewing Dabney and as a result her writing skills developed at an early age. She used those writing skills with expertise to promote business and theatrical ventures all of her life. She served as a technical writer on many projects and was active with the Covington Community Concerts Association, was a director of plays at Playmakers, and was active in putting together exhibits at the St. Tammany Art Association. One exhibit showcasing Mardi Gras jewelry in 1986 was especially popular. In May of 1952, she appeared in the play "The Male Animal" in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

 In 1994, Vera Haik wrote about Kehoe in her Times-Picayune Senior Circuit column.



 After living in Covington for twenty years, she moved to West Branch, Iowa. According to the Times Picayune obituary, she died at the age of 82 years on August 31, 1997, at Manor Care Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in West Branch, Iowa. 

Dorothy Dabney Kehoe 

Her grandfather Dr. Thomas S. Dabney Jr. and father Thomas Ewing Dabney were quite famous in their own right. According to excerpts from the Ocean Springs, Miss., archives posted on the internet by Ray L. Bellande:

Dr. Thomas S. Dabney Jr.

Dr. Thomas S. Dabney, Dorothy's grandfather, was born in 1851 and died in 1923. He became known worldwide as an authority on tropical diseases. Dr. T.S. Dabney and Miss Ewing had married in 1884 and were residents of Magazine Street in New Orleans. Dr. Dabney was a member of the Orleans Parish Medical Society from 1880-1882 and 1893-1915, and was president of that organization in 1900.

The family moved to Ocean Springs, Miss., for retirement as well as recuperation from a bout with the virulent yellow fever that he had contracted while Secretary of the American Legation in San Salvador. 

Dr. Dabney had attended Tulane University at New Orleans.  In the 1870s, while a medical student, he left school briefly to assist in a yellow fever outbreak near Brookhaven, Mississippi.  While in the field, Dabney found an herb that was being utilized by Native Americans camped in the vicinity. 

From this plant, Dr. Dabney developed an efficacious treatment for dropsy.  He also achieved international acclaim when he diagnosed the first human case of anthrax.  In 1898, Dabney reported the first case of hookworm in Louisiana.

Dr. T.S. Dabney passed on December 28, 1923, at New Orleans.   
Thomas Ewing Dabney

Dr. Dabney's son Thomas Ewing Dabney was born in 1885. He married an English lady, Winifred Hilda Michaels  of London in 1907 and Dorothy Kehoe was one of their several children.  At Ocean Springs, T.E. Dabney became known as a dynamic entrepreneur and promoter of the town.  He ventured into dairy farming; vending Aetna Dynamite, as well as using this high explosive to clear land of tree stumps; and publishing.

Boscobel Dairy (1912-1914)

T.E. Dabney’s first venture into local capitalism was the Boscobel Dairy.  It and his pecan orchard were situated at “The Field”, the Dabney twenty-acre tract. Mr. Dabney was reputed have had one of the finest herds in the State.  He catered to the upper class families as he charged $12 per quart for his high quality milk.  

When T.E. Dabney decided to get into the newspaper business, he sold the dairy to Charles Snyder (1877-1963) in December 1914.  The deal included nine cows, cream separator, utensils, and good will.
The Ocean Springs News

In November 1914, Thomas E. Dabney acquired The Ocean Springs News from Albert Enos Lee (1874-1936).  In mid-July 1916, Dabney suspended production of The Ocean Springs News.  He had gone to Pensacola, Florida in April and secured a position with The Pensacola Journal.  

T.E. Dabney during his short tenure at Ocean Springs also published a promotional pamphlet, "Ocean Springs: The Land Where Dreams Come True (1915)", which emphasized the agricultural and recreational opportunity of the town and environs.  

Dabney joined the staff of The Times Picayune in 1933, and had a marvelous career as an author, lecturer, adventurer, and expert on Shakespeare.  Dabney penned, Tropic Intrigue; One Hundred Great Years: The Story of The Times Picayune From Its Beginning To 1940; and The Man Who Bought The Waldorf: The Life of Conrad N. Hilton. He also wrote a book on The Industrial Canal in New Orleans. 
He lived in New Mexico for several years, even being elected to the state legislature while he was there. 

Thomas E. Dabney died at a nursing home in Covington, Louisiana, on April 22, 1973.  The news coverage of his death was extensive, focusing on his newspaper work but also spotlighting his many other accomplishments, book publications and historical research. 
Click on image above to read Thomas E. Dabney's life story
Dabney Archives

Nearly 1200 items from Thomas Ewing Dabney in the period 1911 to 1969 are archived in the Tulane University Manuscripts Department at New Orleans.  


See also:

WARB Memories 

One Hundred Great Years

Madisonville Steamer

The steamboat "Madisonville" began serving the Madisonville to New Orleans route in 1927. Here is the text from an April 30th newspaper article from that year that describes the "maiden voyage" of the vessel. 

New Lake Service, Madisonville-West End, To-day

Lake Steamer Madisonville In Service Today

Maiden Passenger Trip from West End at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, April 30, 1927

Boyhood Dream of the Designer

Plan to Make Special Trip for Accommodation of Theater Parties

Madisonville, LA., April 28 - The "Madisonville," a huge lake transit passenger and freight service steamer constructed here at the yard of Madisonville Industries, Inc., effected its trial trip across Lake Pontchartrain to West End Saturday, April 23, in two hours and twenty minutes -- against unfavorable weather conditions.

According to authentic reports, the time will be lessened to two hours and less, when the engines have limbered up and are in good running order.


The boat was launched some time ago with Miss Evelyn Dendinger as sponsor, and formed a pretty picture as the boat, with majestic splendor, gracefully slide from her cradle into the waters of the Tchefuncte River.

With a comfortable carry capacity of 350 passengers and 25 automobiles, the "Madisonville" has every possible convenience. It is 125 feet long and is equipped with two 180 horsepower Diesel engines, and costs approximately $85,000.

Local Designer

She was designed by E.V. Heughan, a Madisonvillian, whose ambition as a mere boy was to draw the plans for just such a craft to operate between here and New Orleans. In the realization of his boyhood dream, Mr. Heughan has given the general public in this section of St. Tammany parish a beautiful and well as serviceable boat in design, and the Dendingers, who made Madisonville, made possible the realization.

The "Madisonville" will be put in service at once across Lake Pontchartrain, under the piloting of Captain H. N. Chatellier and D. W. Cooper, and will probably run a schedule of two trips daily between Madisonville and the West End.

Maiden Trip

The big steamer left the local docks yesterday for New Orleans and will undergo final inspection this morning. At 2:00 o'clock this afternoon, the boat will make her maiden trip across Lake Pontchartrain from West End to Madisonville. She will remain here over night and Sunday will leave here at 6 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Returning from New Orleans boat leaves West End at 8:30 am. and 7:30 p.m.

We are informed by Mr. Theo. Dendinger that within the next few weeks the steamer will arrange trips to New Orleans for theater parties, leaving Madisonville in the evening and returning after the show that night. The hours of departure have not as yet been decided upon.

St. Tammany Farmer, April 30, 1927

Following her service to the community of Madisonville for several years, the steamboat was moved to New York City and became a tour boat to the Statue of Liberty. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Mandeville News 1922

 Click on the image to make it larger. 

Old Lewisburg School
Old Lewisburg Church

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Covington High Sports - 1928

 Here are two pictures identified as sports teams from Covington High in the year 1928, some ninety-three years ago. Click on the images to make them larger. 

The champion girls basketball team

The boys football team

Saturday, March 27, 2021

The Art of HJ Smith

 Taking a camera into H.J. Smiths Sons General Merchandise Store in Covington is a rewarding experience. There are plenty of sights, textures and lighting effects to explore. Personally I like the wood grains and museum displays, especially the old tools hanging on the wall. Combine that with the architecture of the building itself, and a photo exhibit springs forth.

Here are some photos I have taken in and around H J Smith over the years. A few of them have been run through photo enhancement software to create a specialized effect. Click on the images to make them larger.



Inside the store the shelves are filled with things you need

The wagons going up an down the street, hitched to ox teams

Buckets and barrels and bricks

A display of the bricks available from St. Tammany brickyards. 
Tools, clocks and entertainments



See also:

H. J. Smith's Sons General Merchandise Store 

Visible Gasoline Pumps 

Crowd Enjoys History of Columbia St. Businesses

Signs of the Times

Friday, March 26, 2021

Abita Springs Sanborn Map 1922

 In 1922 the Sanborn Map Company made a detailed map of Abita Springs buildings. The map showed the buildings, how the buildings were occupied, and additional notes of interest to insurance companies being asked to insure those structures.

Let's take a close up look at some of the sections of this map, and sort of "take a walk" around the Abita Springs  of 99 years ago, as it was in 1922. Click on the images to make them larger. A caption below each map image explains where it is in relation to today's landmarks.The red labels indicate what is located there now, to help orient the viewer to the location.

The first map section shows the center of town. At the upper right is Maple Street, through which the road to Covington enters the town. The school grounds are at the very top, and the red dot shows the current location of the two-story pavilion. In 1922, that was the location of the moving picture theater, which also provided cold storage. Across the short side street was the former location of the town power plant. Across Railroad Avenue from the picture show was the block where the Abita Brew Pub is now located (green dot.) In the center of the map is the railroad depot, parallel to the train tracks, and above the depot are three businesses in one building, a drug store, a warehouse, and a general store. At present that location is occupied by Rosie's Tavern and Artigue's Market. The current day Jr. Food Mart location (blue dot) was the site of a pool room and barber shop, with a chicken house in back. At the northern edge of the traffic circle, intersection of Maple and Level, (bottom right corner) was a press shop, a garage and a meat market. 

 This map section shows the area directly below the first map. The Mutti Hotel was located where the library branch is today, and a vacant merchandise store was located where the fruits and vegetable market is today. 

In this map section, we are looking at the blocks just east of the traffic circle. The red dot shows the location of the former ABC Grocery, now a small gazebo, but in 1922 was a grocery and general store. In the middle of the block was the post office ( now a snow ball stand). At the top of the map, at the blue dot, is the current day Citizen's Bank and Trust. Back then it was a place that sold soft drinks, candy and fruit. At the other end of that block was a bakery. Across the street from the bakery was the Trinity Lutheran Evangelical Church, with the parsonage next door, and at the other end of that block was the public school, now the location (green dot) of the Abita Springs Town Hall. In the inset map at the bottom right, is the current location of the Abita Mystery House UCM Museum (corner Grover and Railroad Avenue). 

In other parts of the map, it was noted that 331 Hickory St. was a boarding house offering room and board, and at 325 Hickory was another boarding house with room and board. 

This map shows the building layout for the Long Branch Hotel

This map shows the building layout for Labats Hotel

These two map sections show the location of the New Abita Hotel and the Great Northern Hotel.
This map image from 1922 shows the area of the Abita "Spring House" and public pavilion with stage offering a "small amount of scenery." There are elevated walkways between the pavilion and the springs house.


See also:

Abita Springs Hotels 

Abita Springs Development Proposal 1887 

Abita Springs Music History 

Brief History of Abita Springs

Business Map of Abita Springs 

Abita Springs Map Updated