The French Family at 1220 Blythe Avenue

1904 Sylvester’s Map of Alexandria, Louisiana
1904 Sylvester’s Map of Alexandria, Louisiana shows the undeveloped area that would later become the portion of Blythe Avenue in which the subject house of this article is located (the section labeled H.H. White to the left of Polk Street).

In 1904, The Town Talk newspaper described the new addition called the Kilpatrick Addition. This addition was designed by Charles M. Kilpatrick the Rapides Parish Sheriff at the time.

In 1919, a petition was brought to pave Blythe Avenue between Polk and Turner Streets with gravel.

In 1919, a petition was brought to pave Blythe Avenue between Polk and Turner Streets with gravel.

This was the same notice in the Town Talk which described the authorization to the Municipal Street Railway to purchase three street cars.

1921 Sanborn Map at Polk & Blythe

In 1929, George French (1892-1967) purchased the lot which at that time had the address 1116 Blythe. The French family built their home and lived there to raise their family.

French Family 1930 at 1116 Blythe Avenue

The French Family, 1930 at 1116 Blythe Avenue. The family consists of George and wife Marguerite, children George Jr, Marguerite, Lewis, and a children’s live in 18 year old nursemaid, Lucille. The house was valued at $7000.

Alexandria City Directory

Like many people in the 1930’s the French family had some financial difficulties. George, Sr. actually lost the home and the family lived in a rental around the corner at 1824 Turner Street for several years.

1220 Blythe Avenue, Alexandria, Louisiana

George French Sr. worked in several positions over the years, such as a municipal bonds buyer and an inspector for the State Revenue Department. His wife, Marguerite Kelsoe French, also had a career as an abstractor for local title companies. The couple returned to the home and even left it to their children who held ownership until 1990.

U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 for George Edward French

Of special interest is their son, Colonel George Edward French, Jr. (1921-2015) who had an interesting career as a pilot beginning with his service during WWII. He began his training at Foster Field in Victoria, Texas which was established to give advanced training for single engine flying school for fighter pilots.

George Edward French, Jr.
George Edward French, Jr. (1921-2015)

“He flew 45 missions in the B-24 “Liberator” in WWII as part of the “Long Rangers” of the 370th Squadron, 307th Bomb Group, 13th Air Force.

In his return to civilian life after the war, George attended LSU, spent a year with Delta Airlines and received his BS in Accounting from the University of Colorado. He received his MBA from the University of Texas, re-entered the ranks of the Air Force and was Liaison Officer with the Auditor General’s office for the US Air Force Academy. Command and Staff School followed, as well as Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama.

After a stint at the Pentagon, heading up the F104G “Starfighter” program, George retired from his beloved Air Force and moved his family to Dallas, Texas. He was the program director at LTV for the A-7 “Corsair II” Navy fighter jet.

After spending several years in the real estate business with Ebby Halliday in Dallas, he retired for good and moved to Florida.” See full obituary here

In his return to civilian life after the war, George attended LSU, spent a year with Delta Airlines and received his BS in Accounting from the University of Colorado. He received his MBA from the University of Texas, re-entered the ranks of the Air Force and was Liaison Officer with the Auditor General’s office for the US Air Force Academy. Command and Staff School followed, as well as Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama. After a stint at the Pentagon, heading up the F104G “Starfighter” program, George retired from his beloved Air Force and moved his family to Dallas, Texas. He was the program director at LTV for the A-7 “Corsair II” Navy fighter jet. After spending several years in the real estate business with Ebby Halliday in Dallas, he retired for good and moved to Florida.” See full obituary here

Congratulations to my lovely clients on their recent purchase of 1220 Blythe! I hope this history helps you connect to the house’s past and that your future in the home will be blessed! –Heather Matlock

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