The Hardware Store at the Heart of It All

The Hardware Store at the Heart of It All

the restoration of Grace Episcopal Church, repairing damage inflicted during the Civil War.  The business remained successful until Gastrell retired in 1907.

11757 Ferdinand Street, home of the West Feliciana
Historical Society Museum.

Newly installed graphics and exhibits line the museum's west wall.

During its heyday, the port at Bayou Sara was one of the most
significant on the lower Mississippi River.

Eight colorful flags have waved over
West Feliciana Parish since its creation in 1824.

Artifacts serve as reminders of local culture and lifestyle.

This display depicts the once bustling and prosperous West Feliciana Railroad line.

The building that houses the West Feliciana Historical Society and Museum has an interesting history of its own.  The site dates back to the early 1800s when the town of St. Francisville was laid out by John H. Johnson.  The property changed hands a number of times but served almost continuously as a blacksmith shop and forge.

The current two-story building, built in 1888, is constructed of heart pine and is 90 feet long by 31 feet wide.  Beginning its life
as a hardware store, the building was first owned by A. T. Gastrell, a prominent Bayou Sara hardware dealer who, in 1896, supervised

A New Start

A New Start

In 1912, Charles Weydert acquired the store from Gastrell.  Weydert had a prosperous blacksmith business and hardware supply in Bayou Sara, but after several floods threatened the town, he decided to move his business up the hill to St. Francisville.

For the next four decades, Weydert offered customers in the St. Francisville area a wide range of products including grist mills,
corn shellers, mowers, tools, plows, binders, and haying tools.  These and a multitude of other items were displayed neatly on shelves in the aisles of the store.  Next to the hardware store was Weydert's blacksmith shop, originally operated by Rudolph Yunks and Jimmy Roth.

During the 1950s, the hardware store and the blacksmith shop were slowly phased out, and for a time the building was used by the Princeville Canning Company.  Eventually Mr. and Mrs. Jules Landry purchased the property and graciously made it available to the West Feliciana Historical Society.  This beautifully restored building now serves as its home.