Bernice Historical Society
People and Places
The Garland House
A few weeks ago some friends of mine passed through Bernice headed North on 167 and later commented to me on the beauty of the newly restored Heard House (more on that in a future article) and wanted to know the story behind it and the house south of it. Even to their untrained eyes they could all tell that both those homes possessed historical and architectural significance. I was glad to share my limited knowledge of the homes and how The Heard House came to be restored. That prompted me to think some of you might be interested in a little of the history of both places. I’ll begin with the house known locally as The Garland House.
This house was built in 1902 for a local physician, Dr. David B. Garland and his family. Dr. Garland was a native of Claiborne Parish having been born on the family farm there in 1861. Garland entered the medical school at Tulane University graduating in 1895 at the age of 34. Garland practiced medicine for a short while in central Louisiana and then set up a practice in Junction City for four years before coming to Bernice in the first year of its existence to serve as the physician for the local lumber mill.
In 1907 Garland assumed the title of surgeon for the Rock Island Railroad. In addition to serving these facilities he also served the local citizens as needed.
Garland was first married in 1884 and by this marriage had five children. When his first wife died in 1900, the doctor married Daisy Dawson of Lisbon. Miss Daisy as she was called would become the mother for the five children and made quite a name for herself in Bernice as a teacher. Miss Daisy would teach in the schools of Bernice for over 45 years. Their daughter Nell would also become a member of the faculty of Bernice High School.
It was shortly after his arrival in Bernice that Dr. Garland began thinking of a home that would handle his large family. He turned to local contractor J.T. Crews who would build nearly all of the earliest larger houses in town. Crews came to Bernice from Shiloh when the fire of 1899 destroyed most of the businesses there. He was kept busy by the local Bernice population and it was not until 1902 that Crews finished the large home for Dr. Garland.
The house is not only a historical home but an architectural significant one as well. It is a one-and-one-half story frame Queen Anne Revival style home with Eastlake details. The house is only one of six Queen Anne Revival residences in North Louisiana to feature the use of a turret which opens into a small second floor bedroom.
The home remained the property of the Garland family until 1964 when it was purchased by the Reeder family. Most people reading this article will remember the home as The Reeder House. The Reeder family sold the property in later years and the last known owner was Patrick Andrews, now a resident of Homer, La.
The home was placed on the National Register of Historic Properties in 1994.
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.