Goldman House History
by Elizabeth Dart


This home was built by a man who loved his wife.

His name was Joseph Goldman. He was born in Breslau, Germany (now Poland), and in 1880 he married Hannah Teutsch, whom he called by a pet name, Hancha. He was 33 years old, she two years older.

She came to St. Francisville from Bavaria because her brothers were here. Why or how he came is a mystery.

Some years after his marriage, Joseph Goldman was able to buy "the contents and good will of a Bar Room * Grocery in Bayou Sara which he moved to the small building still standing on this property. The business occupied the front room, and the Goldmans lived in the room behind it.

The tiny kitchen was reached by a connected walkway. Joseph Goldman naturally wanted much better living quarters for his Hancha. After all, her brother Adolph had recently built in thriving, growing Upper St. Francisville a very fine house he named Evergreenzine. Hannah should not be living in one room.

Sometime after 1891, Joseph could afford to build Hannah a proper home. He chose to have built a fanciful Eastlake cottage, lively with Victorian gingerbread and bright with floor-length windows that let in lots of light. As the heart pine and cypress lumber arrived for the house, he came out of his barroom and carefully checked every piece. All must be perfect for Hancha.

The present owners bought the house in 1996 and have made some interesting changes, though the original footprint chosen by Joseph Goldman is still very evident.

Joseph and Hannah Teutsch Goldman were a part of the large Jewish community in St. Francisville and Bayou Sara that began about 1840 and ended only when the boll weevil destroyed cotton production.

The community really flourished after the Civil War, when Jewish merchants had access to credit that the ruined cotton planters needed so desperately. The Teutsch family was an influential part of this community, active in building a synagogue and creating Hebrew Rest cemetery, where the Goldmans are buried.

That Hannah was a Teutsch was a great part of her charm for the lowly-born Breslau native who was only a barkeep.

Joseph Goldman did not live long in Hannah's fine new house. He died in 1895. Hannah lived until 1915, ordering four Blue Georgia marble monuments for her grave, Joseph's grave, and the graves of a sister and brother-in-law.

After her husband's death, Hannah added a bathroom and an interior kitchen to her house, and , from the inventory made after her death, it would seem that she took in boarders.

All rooms except the dining room were used as bedrooms, and in two of them were placed spittoons. The hall served as a sitting area, but the communal room of the house was the dining room, crowded in European fashion with lamps and comfortable chairs as well as dining table.

The original solid brass Victorian hardware, hinges and doorknobs, are dated 1887 by stamp.

The fine natural stone mantles and cast iron fireplace covers might well have been imported. The eight-foot paneled doors, wide baseboards, and stylized door and window trim are original.

It is interesting to note that Joseph Goldman bought the lot in 1887 from Sarah Town, wife of William Town and mother of Joseph Town who built Magnolia Hill. the Towns were probably the carpenters so carefully watched by Joseph Goldman as they built this house for him.

Goldman House is a private residence, not open to tours.

 

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