Former Shutts residence given Landmark designation
By Mike Jones
The Calcasieu Preservation Society has presented its Landmark Award to Cyprien, the former home of Elmer Shutts, at 3218 Cyprien Lane, according to A.C. Bourdier, Landmarks chairman.
The award was presented to the current owners, Karl E. and Kathleen M. Boellert.
The Landmark Award is a decorative wooden plaque that is usually attached to the front of the structure, Bourdier said.
It is given in recognition of home owners who have restored a historic structure as near as possible to its original look, he said.
The land where Cyprien is now located consisted originally of about 8.5 acres and was purchased in 1926 from Cyprien Duhon by Elmer E. and Lillie Mae Shutts, who used the property as their summer residence until they built their permanent home that they called "Cyprien."
Construction began in 1938 and progressed over three years before the Shutts family moved in on Dec. 6, 1941.
The home was designed by the architectural firm of Wilson Morris of Houston. However, Elmer Shutts, a civil engineer, participated in the layout and construction and selected the actual location and placement of the home. He also collected quality building materials such as cypress, marble and bricks.
It is a typical early Bayou St. John Plantation design, generally patterned after Ormond Plantation on the Mississippi River, Bourdier said.
The exterior of the first story consists of double walls, made from brick, with a four-inch, sealed airspace between the two walls that are tied together by handmade, metal clips.
The second story is made from hand-selected, first-grade cypress wood, custom designed by Davidson Louisiana. It is reached by a suspended, semi-circular staircase fabricated at the Davidson Louisiana plant around two cylindrical drums set into the brick walls.
"The exterior, ground-floor shutter, protecting the glass-enclosed, lower porch, came from an old home in New Orleans and are over 150 years old. The interior shutters, together with their original brass fittings, came from the former Watkins Bank Building in Lake Charles," Bourdier said.
The floors are made of walnut planks, which are set into the screeds by countersunk screws, pegged with mahogany pegs and butterflies. The marble for the floor in the entrance hall and the ground floor porch came from the Majestic Hotel in Lake Charles.
The home contains nine rooms which comprise 4,317 square feet of living space. It has four bedrooms, three upstairs and one downstairs; two dressing rooms; four and one-half bathrooms; a living room with a large fire place, a dining room, kitchen, butler's pantry, laundry room, a two-car garage, a mechanical room and storage space on the inside and in the garage, which has a separate toilet, he said.
The dining room chandelier and entrance hall sconces are original Waterford.
Bourdier said the area surrounding the home is well landscaped with St. Augustine grass, banana plants, azaleas, and assorted shrubbery and bushes. It has several tall pine trees and some old as well as newly planted live and water oaks. On the waterfront is a 120-foot long pier, ending in a deck, particularly covered by a green and white striped awning.
An Indian Mound is located under the large oak tree behind the home. It consists mostly of clam and oyster shells; however, Elizabeth Shutts, the daughter of the building and first owner, Elmer Shutts, found and collected various artifacts, consisting mostly of Indian pottery, Bourdier said.
The cast iron hitching post in front of the home came from the Shutts home on South Ryan Street, where the builder's parents lived. "It was originally used by Frank Shutts for its intended purpose," he said.