Keachi Country Store, Keachi Louisiana

Date added: January 24, 2023 Categories: Louisiana Retail Greek Revival

The Keachi Store stands far above other Louisiana country stores, most of which date from the late nineteenth century or later, and most of which are humble unpretentious structures with no architectural refinement.

DeSoto Parish was settled principally in the two or three decades prior to the Civil War and is one of three parishes (other than New Orleans) considered to be major centers of Greek Revival architecture in the state. Although many examples from this architectural flowering have been lost, including the impressive Keachi Female College, an astounding number survive. DeSoto boasts about twenty residential examples of the style, four churches, a Masonic hall, and the Keachi Store. This special heritage represents the parish's architectural apogee, and the temple-fronted Keachi Store is an important part of this identity.

Building Description

The Keachi Store (c.1850) is a frame, temple-style, Greek Revival commercial building located in the small crossroads community of Keachi in rural DeSoto Parish. Although there are some late nineteenth-century alterations and some cosmetic deterioration, the store retains its Greek Revival character-defining elements.

The Keachi Store is a conventional mid-nineteenth-century commercial building with sales space in the front and living quarters to the rear. (It is not known if the living quarters were ever actually lived in.) Although the store appears to be only one story from the front, the sales space is in fact two stories high, and the rear living space occupies two full floors with a fireplace on each. All this is contained within a unified temple form culminating in a four-column projecting portico with a full entablature and strong architraves marking the upper edges of the tympanum. The facade has a very large central door flanked by a pair of massive windows.

Flanking the front wall is a pair of pilasters that echo the columns, with their boldly molded capitals and pronounced necking. The pilasters are cut with a sawtooth pattern to enable them to fit snugly against the front clapboarded wall. This might lead one to assume that the pilasters, and indeed the entire classical-style portico, are a later addition. But the building's framing system is consistent throughout, demonstrating that there was always a portico.

The present interior is largely the result of remodeling in the late nineteenth century. At that time a mezzanine balcony with octagonal columns and a simple Italianate balustrade was added on all four sides of the sales space. A pair of winding staircases at the rear of the sales space gave access to the upper (balcony) level. Also, in the late nineteenth century, many of the doors and windows were repaired or reworked and a small side wing was added. Much of this reworking was done with reused 1850s materials, and hence it is difficult to tell exactly what was done to the windows and doors, although the openings themselves were retained.

In the twentieth-century portions of the winding staircases were removed and the lower portions of the front columns were boxed in due to rot.

Keachi Country Store, Keachi Louisiana Front and side (1988)
Front and side (1988)

Keachi Country Store, Keachi Louisiana Rear (1988)
Rear (1988)

Keachi Country Store, Keachi Louisiana Interior (1988)
Interior (1988)