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115 N Washington Avenue, Mansfield, LA 71052

 

Keachi



Keachi is considered one of Louisiana’s richest treasuries of Greek Revival structures, like this wonderful old sentinel downtown, used as a studio by artist Travis Whitfield.

This town of less than 400, has 11 listings on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Keachi is known for its pristine white churches, and for its picturesque old fashioned festivals – at Halloween and the 4th of July, and spectacular Christmas Musicale – a chamber quartet with classical music and carols performed in a bandstand of red poinsettias in the Presbyterian church.

One of the first buildings erected in Keatchie was Good Hope Baptist church in 1852.  It had 18 members.  With the church was off to a good start, only a school was needed to make the community complete.  With financial backing from Mr. T.M. Gatlin, Keachie Female College was formally opened in 1857.  Under President  J.S. Bacon, students took Latin, Greek, biology, philosophy, geology, chemistry, German, French, elocution, art, voice, piano, violin and ornamental needlework. 

When the Civil War broke out, there were 125 young ladies from the best homes in Louisiana, but the school was forced to close when students and teachers alike joined the fight.  The DeSoto Parish Police Jury gave the Keachie Highlanders $1500 to organize their contingent.  They were known for their unusual dress, kilts and plaids.  During the war, the college was used as a depot for medical supplies shipped overland from Mexico, and after the battle of Mansfield, it was used as a hospital for Confederate wounded. 

A tornado in the Fall of 1880 killed President Jeremiah Tucker and a teacher and blew away part of the main building and damaged others.  They managed to repair it, however, and by 1891 enrollment had climbed to a record 217.  The opening of other colleges in Natchitoches, Ruston and Pineville and the Great Depression gradually took their toll. After efforts to revive it failed, the college closed forever in 1912.  

Today, no physical evidence of the college can be found, and the Keachi Heritage Foundation has plans to open a cultural center on the front lawn.