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Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society

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912 Pujo Street, The Schindler Home

Landmark Registered in 1993 as The Leopold Kaufman Cottage, Circa 1895  

912 Pujo Street
This early brick cottage is a remarkable find in Lake Charles, a town better known for its traditional wooden architecture of pine and cypress.  
 
The cottage was constructed by Leopold Kaufman, a French immigrant from Alsace-Lorraine who settled in Lake Charles in 1879 and who pioneered several mercantile businesses in the region.  He was a leader in the Jewish community, and helped to organize Temple Sinai and the First National Bank, as well as the public library board on which he served until his death in 1937. 

Architectural historians describe the cottage as a double-bay shotgun cottage in brick with unique coastal south features. A few scholars consider the cottage as the unique example of a solid brick pre-twentieth century bungalow in the state, citing its unusual building style and type. 

The cottage possibly housed members of the Kaufman family early on, but was soon outgrown and served as rental property.  Records show that L. E. Stanley was an early longtime occupant and he opened his strongly-built home to neighbors and refugees in the 1918 hurricane.  

The brick structure, which is of solid brick including interior walls, features solid working storm shutters, a broad hipped roof and other features that allowed it to survive many hurricanes without a flutter while many wooden-framed structures were heavily damaged or destroyed. Griffin T. Hawkins, Reverend R. H. Wynn, and Arthur L. Clemens, among other area notables, have resided in the house and continued the tradition of providing shelter to neighbors and friends in hurricane situations.

Owners in the late 1980’s updated the house with air conditioning, insulation, electrical and plumbing improvements.   The current owner, Sara Schindler, added the playful railings and tapered porch supports and continued to improve interior utilities and mechanical systems.  She enhanced the custom interior with heirloom furniture items, fine art and decorator pieces, and added the porte-cochere and extensive garden features on the west.  Approaching 120 years of age, the Kaufman Cottage is well-suited to continue to shelter and inspire generations.

Highlights from 'If Walls Could Talk' by Nola Mae Ross

The brick cottage with storm shutters and wide overhangs has been referred to as a "double shotgun house with tropical characteristics"

The property was part of the land patented to Victor Touchy in 1860.

After Kaufman built his family home at 725 Bilbo, the cottage was used as a rental property.

The cottage was a gathering place for neighbors during the 1918 and 1957 hurricanes that hit the area.

The city directory list names like Stanley, Garry, Griffin T Hawkins, Rev. R. H. Wynn, Mr. Glaser, Arthur L Clements and Mr Roberts as occupants of the home through 1940.

In 1987 Luke C LeJeune & Ronald P Guidry bought the home. They added central air and heat, updated wiring and refinished the kitchen and bathrooms. The Cottage also received fresh paint and a new roof.

The current owners purchased the home in 2009.