The Autrey House Museum
Preserving the Pioneer Heritage of North Louisiana
UPDATE, Summer 2018: In June, a survey by Mr. Jean Becnel, Preservationist, associated with the LSU Rural Life Museum, resulted in a detailed list of improvements needed to maintain the Autrey House. Foundation repair is the priority. A fund-raising effort in the spring will allow a portion of this work to proceed. However, needed roof and other repairs must be postponed until more funds become available. We are so grateful to our generous donors for their continued support.
The Lincoln Parish Museum invites your support in maintaining this historic Louisiana treasure. Tax-deductible donations of any amount can be mailed to:
The Autrey House Museum
c/o The Lincoln Parish Museum & Historical Society
609 North Vienna Street
Ruston, LA 71270
HISTORY OF THE AUTREY HOUSE MUSEUM
The Autrey House Museum in Dubach, Louisiana, a 168-year-old Lincoln Parish landmark, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. In 1985, the J. C. Drewett Estate donated the house and 1.6 acres, including the cemetery, to the Lincoln Parish Museum & Historical Society, with the stipulation that it be preserved as a monument to the pioneer heritage of North Louisiana. The Autrey House Museum, built in 1849, is believed to be the oldest surviving structure in Lincoln Parish. The Autrey House is supervised by an advisory committee, which assists with fundraising to maintain the house. The Lincoln Parish Museum & Historical Society, a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Ruston, maintains the house entirely with private donations and fundraising.
Located in Lincoln Parish on Highway 152 between Dubach and Hico, the Absalom Autrey house is an example of the log dogtrot, the most common traditional house type of the early Northern Louisiana hill country. The hand-hewn log house with square notches has an open central hall, with two rooms on each side and a floored sleeping loft above. The original ironstone chimney on the east still stands. The stairs to the loft, probably built in the 1880s, had to be replaced in 1992.
Absalom Autrey, the builder of the house and a typical pioneer of the area, moved by wagon to present-day Lincoln Parish from Selma, Alabama, in 1848, with his wife Elizabeth Norris and their fourteen children. On the 200-acre plot of land he purchased on Bird Creek, they grew cotton and corn for cash and raised vegetables and livestock and hunted game for food. Autrey was quite successful for his day; the 1860 U.S. census records his worth as $6400.00. The Autrey house in its day was considered on of the finest in the region. Behind the house is the family cemetery, with the graves of Absalom Autrey, his first wife Elizabeth Norris, second wife Kezia McCalla, other family members, and African Americans who had served the family before and after the Civil War. Sturdily built to last generations, the house was occupied by his descendants until 1918 when it was sold and then rented until the early 1970s to various families including the Brazzel and Dunn families.
RESTORATION NEEDS: PAST AND PRESENT
After its donation to the Lincoln Parish Museum, the restoration of the Autrey House was completed in two phases. The first phase from 1985 to 1988 stabilized the foundation to prevent further deterioration. The second phase of 1991 was carried out under the auspices of a $12,560 Grant-in-aid from the Division of Historic Preservation, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism and the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. The grant project director was Dr. Susan Roach, Louisiana Tech folklorist, and the architect was Lestar Martin. The restoration was done by Triad Builders of Ruston.
More than 30 years have passed since the restoration, and the home is now in need of repairs and long-term maintenance. Problems in the foundation and wall on the west side and the roof need to be addressed. The foundation of the floor on the west end of the house on each side of the chimney needs stabilizing and repairing. This includes reworking the piers on the southwest side and leveling the floor to close a gap that has developed between the wall and the chimney.
The Autrey House is one of the few remaining dogtrot houses from this era. Lincoln Parish Museum invites your help in maintaining this historic Louisiana treasure. Tax-deductible donations of any amount can be mailed to the Autrey House Museum, c/o Lincoln Parish Museum, 609 No. Vienna Street, Ruston, LA 71270.
VISITING THE AUTREY HOUSE
The Autrey House Museum is located at 8292 Highway 151, Dubach, LA 71235.
Open by appointment. Please call or email (in advance):
The Lincoln Parish Museum & Historical Society: 318-251-0018 / firstname.lastname@example.org