The Homer museum walks you through the history of this northern Louisiana town, from the area’s first inhabitants, to the pioneers and an early 20th century oil boom. The Herbert S. Ford Memorial Museum occupies a former two-story hotel building, the Claiborne Hotel, built in 1890, that faces the parish courthouse square.
artifacts saved from the dump
The local museum is named after Captain Herbert S. Ford who served in World War One. Ford’s interest in collecting was sparked by children’s curiosity. “His sons went out to play in the Homer dump and came back carrying a German infantry officer’s helmet,” explains Beverly Smith, a local historian and member of the museum board. She added, “He realized that things were being lost”. Ford began collecting numerous items that were part of the early days of Claiborne Parish.
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homer’s boom days
The discovery of oil near Homer in 1918 led to an early oil boom in northern Louisiana. “The Homer oil boom is said to have furnished the money for the building of the LSU stadium,” says Smith. Other major oil discoveries followed at nearby Haynesville in 1921, and Lisbon in 1936. The museum has numerous photographs of landscapes filled with towering wooden oil wells and train cars loaded with oil.
stepping back in time in homer’s museum
The Ford Museum in Homer also has a vintage gasoline pump as part of its showcase on the local oil boom. “I have a vague recollection of seeing those as a child,” says Smith. She adds, “You could see the liquid bubbling at the top through the glass jar”.
from pioneers to high fashion
The museum has an extensive display of farming tools used by the first pioneers who settled in the Homer area. Arrow points and pottery from the area’s earliest inhabitants, including a dugout canoe, are also part of the exhibit. And the Homer museum includes a small fashion exhibit from designer Geoffrey Beene. Beene was born and grew up 15 miles away in Haynesville.
The Herbert S. Ford Memorial Museum is located on the courthouse square in downtown Homer, LA. The address is 519 S. Main Street, Homer, LA, 71040. Phone: (318) 927-9190.