Bernice Historical Society
Bernice Dots #13
By Cathy Buckley
Fire once again struck the town of Bernice in the summer of 1923 when The Heard Hotel was destroyed. This building was originally known as the Moore Hotel and was built in 1900, making it one of the oldest buildings in town. Originally the property of T.J. Moore the hotel had been for the previous six years owned and operated by C.J. Heard. The hotel was known to the traveling public for its meals and hospitality. The hotel was rebuilt and was opened to the public with a huge reception held in August. Advertisements for the hotel’s daily operations can be found in numerous papers around north Louisiana.
The Shreveport Times had many patrons in Bernice and the paper often printed articles about Bernice. Many were submitted by their 135 customers in Bernice and others were the work of the Shreveport Times journalist who made regular trips through the area in search of newsworthy items.
One such article appeared in October of 1923 entitled BERNICE GROWS FAST IN YEAR – EVIDENCES OF PROGRESS ARE APPARENT ON EVERY SIDE; FUTURE IS BRIGHT. The article had many flattering things to say about the town:
“From a wilderness in 1899 to one of the most thriving and picturesque towns from which many prominent people have gone out over the state and many equally as distinguished remain, is the story like a happy romance of Bernice on the Rock Island railroad with a population of 1000. It boasts of more fine residences and more people owning their own homes, almost more business professions than any other town of its size in North Louisiana.
During last year 7 fine homes were built besides several places of business, prominent among these being the Twin Motor Company, under the management of A.S Garlington. This company reports business brisk.
The three story high school building erected at a cost of $30,000 from which 24 pupils graduated last year, is the pride of Bernice and community. This year the senior class has 40 members.
C.E. Miller’s filling station is another new building and there are three other gas stations.
Hotel Heard which has just been completed has 26 rooms with modern conveniences. At its opening receptions 100 guests were present.
The Civic Club house is evidence of the civic pride and efforts of its members. Its spacious rooms have been the scene of many pretty parties and important club meetings.
The state high school building, now used for grammar school claims to have turned out more boys and girls who have made “good” than any of its size in North Louisiana.
Bernice has two large churches. The Rev. P.W. Lofton is pastor of the Baptist Church and the Rev. O.L. Tucker of the Methodist Church.
G.E. Lindsey has done more to make Bernice a good town than any one man and is manager and director of Lindsey Mercantile Hardware Company, Lindsey Gin Company, Lindsey Cotton Yard and Warehouse Company, Lindsey Motor Company, Lindsey Hotel, all of Bernice and Lindsey Mercantile Market and Grocery of El Dorado; The meats and the produce being furnished from the extensive farm lands at Bernice.
Mr. Lindsey is police jury member of Bernice ward, chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Bernice and one of the directors of the Bank of Bernice.
J.M. Talbot is mayor; W.M. Tanner, marshal; J.B. Hollis, deputy sheriff and Frank Worrell, depot agent.
Bernice citizens all possess the same “pep” and enthusiasm that has made the business men prosperous. There is not an object of charity in the town. Owing to its elevation Bernice also is noted for its health.”
Included in the half page spread were pictures of the new school, Baptist church and civic club.
********************************************************************************************* Cathy Buckley is a native of Union Parish and lifelong citizen of Shiloh. She served as Principal of Spearsville High School for many years until her retirement. Cathy is now the director of the Bernice Depot Museum and a active member of the Bernice Historical Society.