John W. Harrop House
The John W. Harrop House at 928 South Division is situated on property that was carved from the extensive land grant to David J. Reid by Abraham Lincoln on July 1, 1861. Much of the Charpentier Historic District was once a part of this Reid grant. The original grant was subdivided in stages between 1881 and 1913.
The Harrop family acquired lots 1, 2, and 3 (present day 821, 920, and 923 S. Division) from Marial Clements in 1896. John W. Harrop is listed as residing at “920” in 1913 but the house was listed officially as “928” in 1915.
This house changed hands, almost on a yearly basis, beginning in 1923 to Cecile Christensen, in 1924 to Edwin Anderson, in 1926 to Stella Moore, in 1927 to William McFaddin, in 1928 to Mrs. Iris Muth, in 1936 to Mark Pickrel, in 1939 to Frederick Wackman, in 1943 to Alfred Roberts (who was Mayor of Lake Charles 1960-1964), in 1988 to Faye Green at Mrs. Roberts death, acquired by another family who sold to the Warren Nelson family.
The new owners and present residents, Dr. Steve and Amy Springer and family purchased the house in 2010 from the Nelsons and have added their own personal touches. This imposing structure is a frame Georgian colonial-style two story with a one-story pedimented front porch. The house has 3,737 square feet of living space with polished wood floors consisting of four bedrooms, three baths, living room, dining room, den/great room, kitchen with pantry, and a wood burning fireplace. There was once a large screened porch on the east side and two at the rear of the house. Before the days of air conditioning, these were called “sleeping porches.” These were closed-in sometime early after the 1920s for more square footage.
It is speculation that this house is a Sears-Roebuck or Morgan Kit house, as this particular design is similar to those in the various catalogs. Kit houses were popular at the turn of the last century and the pre-cut building materials were ordered as a kit, complete with a 75 to 100 page manual on how to assemble the pieces. However, there is no physical hard evidence to back up that speculation.
Over the years and through many owners, the interior has been redecorated to a variety of tastes. At one time, pink was the thing; wallpaper, carpet, paint, and even matching asbestos siding on the exterior. The yard has had changes also. When Evelyn (Mrs. Alfred) Roberts lived there, she planted the camellias and maintained a prize rose garden.
At one time there were two historic markers on the house. In the foyer was an oval bronze one that read “Harrop House, constructed 1913, 928 S. Division, Lake Charles, Louisiana”. The second marker was on the front porch near the door and read “Charpentier District, Harrop-Nelson House c. 1915, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, by the United States Department of the Interior. Neither can be located today according to the current owners.