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Chase House

Chase House

This residence is one of the most striking examples of the Queen Anne style that remain in Alexandria. It was built in 1897 by George A. Roberts, a Confederate veteran, Mason, and lumber and dry goods businessman. His daughter, Fannie Roberts Chase, and her husband, Henry Bright Chase, rented the house for several years and purchased it from Roberts in 1902. Henry Chase was a leading member of the community and a Mason, who was involved in both the railroad industry and insurance trade. This structure is representative of the “building fever,” fueled by the booming lumber industry of the area which struck Alexandria in the 1890s as prosperous businessmen built new residences, reflective of their wealth. The Chase house features a full length front porch supported by turned columns and railings, a front gable, asymmetrical form, colored tiles surrounding the fireplaces, patterned wallpaper, an entry hall with rooms leading off, patterned shingles, and bay windows, all typical of the Queen Anne style. It is one of the few 19th century buildings that survived the construction of the levee when the majority of 2nd St. buildings were demolished for improvements. Prior to the construction of the Chase House, this lot served as the site of the first public school in Alexandria.

As Alexandria became the center of a nine state area for the training of military personnel during World War II, The Bentley helped lodge the influx of people who came to Central Louisiana during this time for military-related purposes. The hotel also provided accommodations for several notable military officials during the Louisiana Maneuvers, including General George Patton, Lieutenant Colonel Omar Bradley, Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Second Lieutenant Henry Kissinger. Entertainers who came to perform for the troops also stayed at the Bentley during this time. Famous patrons of the hotel over the years are said to include John Wayne, Bob Hope, Roy Rogers, Cary Grant, Mickey Rooney, Governor Huey P. Long, and Governor Earl Long. Changing ownerships several times, the hotel eventually closed in 1968. It was purchased and renovated by Joe Fryer in 1972 and remained open until 1976. After an extensive renovation spearheaded by Tudor Construction Company in the early 1980s, the Bentley reopened in 1985 to accolades of “its original splendor.” Tudor Enterprises sold the hotel in 1997 to Baton Rouge developers Richard Hartley and David Vey. Hartley and Vey in turn sold it to Bob Dean in 1998, after the completion of its floor-to-floor room renovations and addition of an escalator. Dean ceased operations in 2004. The beloved hotel remained shuttered until 2012 when it was purchased by local businessman and preservationist Michael Jenkins. The hotel has since undergone a thorough and painstaking renovation.

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