Metoyer-Brown Town House

Brief History

The property on which the Metoyer Town House was built was part of a 1723 land grant made to a Frenchman, Monsieur Barbier, and his wife. This grant, which extended from Bayou Amulet to what is now Touline Street, was one of the earliest in Natchitoches. One of Barbier’s duties was to serve as the Customs Officer, of “Douanier.” The Custom House was located on the Customs Corner, the present site of this home. This original land grant was recorded on Broutin’s map of Natchitoches, dated 1732.

In 1781, Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer claimed the five-acre portion of this property on which the Metoyer Town house was built circa 1850. In his forties, Metoyer had accumulated quite a fortune and needed a family to whom he could legally bequeath his wealth. In 1788, he married the widow Pavie, Marie Therese Buard, and of this marriage, three French children were born. It was their youngest son Francois Benjamin whose family were the original owners of this home.

Benjamin Metoyer and his wife, Marie Aurore Lambre, frequently referred to as “Madame Ben,” had twelve children who married into prominent families in this area. “Madame Ben” wonders abundant acreage on the Côte Joyeuse came to town on feast days and for various celebrations; therefore the well-to-do maintained country and town houses. A slave lived in the back quarters and cared for these houses when the families were in the country. Benjamin Metoyer died in 1845; Marie Aurore lived 32 years as a widow until her death in 1877. It is possible that this structure was begun before Benjamin’s death. Amelie Metoyer, their youngest daughter, married Winter Wood Breazeale and was the last Metoyer to won the home.
Cora Lee Henry, whose grandfather bought the house in 1885 from Amelie Metoyer Breazeale, wrote on the back of an original photograph of the house that it was built in 1850 by Triscini and Soldini for the Metoyer family at a cost of $17,000. The original roof was slate and was brought from England at a cost of $1,500.

The Metoyer Town House is a typical two-story Late Greek Revival house, with French influence. The house was extensively remodeled in the early 1900’s in a “Mission Bungaloid” manner: the open veranda was enclosed, the roof was made to project out at the gables, a coating of rough stucco was applied overt the original masonry. However, its original mass, many openings, and stair hall were preserved.

The original plan of the house, which encompasses approximately 7000 square feet, consisted of a center stair hall with three rooms on the left and, on the right, a double parlor which opened onto a back gallery. A unique aspect of the plan is that each first floor room had a glass-paneled door giving access to the street or yard.

Dr. and Mrs. Steve M. Brown, III, bought the house in 1974. All rooms on the first floor, except the hall, were cleared down to the brick and ceiling joists; certain areas of the masonry were left exposed in the remodeling of the interior. The restoration of the home’s exterior involved removing the enclosed front porch, rebuilding the veranda, replacing the columns and the grill work banister and removing the overhang of the roof. The stucco was not removable; therefore, it was repaired and painted.

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