The Bates - Fogle - Irving Home
508 Fort Ave



508 Fort Ave. Built in 1840’s by Col. Wm. Bates, bought by John McDonald Sr. c. 1865, inherited by Perl McDonald Fort 1898 bought by W.R. Fogel 1932.


This beautiful old house at 508 Fort Ave is one of the oldest homes in North Louisiana and one of the best preserved and maintained. It is structurally sound and although it has come through some harrowing experiences, including the terrible tornado of 1932, in which it suffered wind and water damage.

This sturdy building made of hand hewn cypress has existed for approximately 162 years. It is incredible that the original cypress siding is presently as good as new on the North and South sides of the house.

There are no known records to document the construction of this house, but all available information indicates it was built by Col. William Bates (1798-1858) after 1840 and before 1850. Col. Bates came to Minden from Mississippi and brought with him his slaves. Some of whom helped build this house. The columns on the front porch were hand hewn cypress made by these very slaves. Bates sold it to Nelson J. Scott and William C. Copes sometime before 1849. Claiborne Parish records of this time are incomplete as the courthouse burned in 1849.

Charles Hans Veeder, the founder of Minden acquired this property from James Hiler, January 13, 1840 and sold it to Col. William Bates. Scott and Copes sold to William G. Maples and John R. Evans on March 8, 1850. Maples and Evans sold to J.W. McDonald January 24, 1860.

By marriage of a McDonald daughter to a Fort it became known as the McDonald-Fort place and remained in the possession of that family until 1919 when it was sold to W.R. Fogle, Jr. by Arthur Fort and Mrs. Sallie Fort Goodwin. W.R. Fogle, Jr. employed architect Stewart Moore from Texarkana, Texas to make plans for remodeling. At that time the house was in a bad state; the roof leaked, the front and back porches needed serious attention. At this time electricity and plumbing were added. The chimney and fireplace location were not changed but were replaced with new brick as the old Masonry was too bad for use.
Another architectural change in 1919 was the addition of six dormers in the roof which made the old attic space into very large and comfortable bedrooms. The original kitchen was separate from the main house and was situated a few feet north of the house. In 1919 it was moved to its present location where plumbing and wiring were added to make livable quarters for servants or family members from time to time. The kitchen is now used as an office.

The large barn was built in 1919 and has served many purposes. Cows were milked daily here fro several years and coal was stored for fireplaces before natural gas come to Minden.

Col. William Bates’ grandson Pashal P. Bates, Jr. (1862-1944) visited with W.R. Fogel, Jr. on more than one occasion and recalled his earlier visits to his grandfather’s house. He also reminded Mr. Fogle that Col. Bates and four other members of the family were buried in a private plot a few hundred feet from the home at what is now the Southwest corner of Beck and the Lewisville Rd.


Redrick B. Fogle acquired the house and two acres of land April 5, 1982 and lived here with his wife Georgine until 1989 when it was purchased by John and Frances Irving. The Irvings remodeled the inside with painting, replaced the canvas wallpaper and added beautiful fabrics. The home is furnished with English antiques throughout. John and Frances dearly love their old home and enjoy filling it with grandchildren.

History written by Frances Irving in 2007