Continuing last week’s article from The Bossier Press issue of February 29, 1968 about the Jim Hughes House, Cora Seward wrote that “Following an architect’s suggestion of using the basically sound chimney as a guide line, the [Bossier Restoration] Foundation is raising and lowering as the case may be, the walls, beams, sills and roof of the house.”
“Heaps of weathered logs surround a tri-section of the site creating a frontier effect. The seasoned timbers are to be used to construct the needed accessory buildings to complete the ante bellum atmosphere. A tool shed, a smoke house, syrup mill, grist mill, are a few in the planned area of endeavor. The logs were obtained from the Toledo Bend Water Shed project, having been used in a similar fashion by the uprooted natives of that section.”
“Financing is to be on a matching-fund basis with the Resource Conservation Development Program of Bossier and Webster parishes. Improvements being made on the properties donated to the Foundation by the William Clark Hughes Family of Shreveport, and the accumulation of authentic artifacts will count as matching funds.”
“A[n] unusual attraction is the curbed water well directly behind the main building. A large tree, fed by the moisture, protrudes daringly from the excavation causing a conflict of emotions among the historical organization..cut it down..or leave it. At the present , it stands. Water is obtained from a spring across the road. ‘Good water,’ Mrs. Abb Knighton says. She is in favor of letting the ‘mighty oak’ stand. Á major portion of the details of the overall planning is credited to Mrs. Knighton. She attended a Houston symposium to obtain needed information for the group and is scheduled to attend another such symposium on ‘architecture and the arts on the Southern Frontier’ later in the spring.”
“Starting with the formation of the restoration group, the second Saturday of each month was designated as work day at the site. In mid-April a pageant will be presented along with other forms of entertainment with the public invited to attend. Costumes will be worn…there will be a ‘covered basket dinner’…the flag will be waving.”
The first restoration of the 1840s structure, originally used as an office for the Stewman and Hughes Plantation, occurred in the 1960s. Until the late 1970s it was used as a museum and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1995 the most recent restoration began after it was determined that the house should be moved to Benton from Rocky Mount. After the move a split shingle roof was installed, the porch was rebuilt and all rotten wood was replaced. Because of the move, a second application to the National Register of Historic Places was necessary. The application was approved.