Museum of the New Llano Colony


"During this entire depression we have never had any unemployment. We have always had many times more work to be done than we could possibly do. While conditions are as they are, with the future unknown, I am urging you to get behind Llano... for it is building the future for you and your family, and your friends. It is building for humanity as a whole." Llano Colonist, June 24, 1933

Archives

Do you have items from the New Llano Colony that you would like to share with others? The Museum of the New Llano Colony is currently seeking items that represent the history of the cooperative colony. This could be photographs, letters, publications, handmade items, machinery, etc. In return, we will house and protect your items in a controlled environment. Items may be donated outright, loaned to the museum for an indefinite period, copied while you wait, or possibly even purchased. Transportation for larger items may be arranged. For more information, please call the museum at (337) 238-1185 or the Vernon Parish Tourism Commission at (337) 238-0783 ext. 103.

"I should think that what has occurred all over the nation during the past four years, the demonstration given how the very bottom can drop out of everything and how the average person is left without a nickel and without a job, would be sufficient lesson to anyone that protection for the future is of utter importance." Llano Colonist, June 17, 1933

Collections

Dr. Lynda Boren Collection
Born in Leesville, Dr. Lynda Boren received her Ph.D. from Tulane in 1979 and has taught at Tulane, Middlebury College in Vermont, Georgia Tech and Northwestern in Natchitoches. As a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Boren also lectured in Germany and Thailand on American Literature and Women's Literature.

Though not members of the colony, her family lived on their own property which was located within the colony boundaries and as a child, she heard lots of stories about the people who lived there. Over the years, she has maintained her interest and collected a huge assortment of documents relating to the New Llano Colony and to socialism in general.

The collection consists of correspondence, newspapers, music books, photos and books relating to the colony.

Fredie Boswell Collection
Consists of copies of scrapbook pages from Blair Pickett; photographs of abandoned New Llano properties; random newspapers ranging from 1981 to 1988; books from the Commonwealth College; and other assorted documents.

These items were donated to Fredie Boswell, former Mayor of New Llano, from a variety of undocumented sources over the years.

Mayor Boswell has lived in New Llano since childhood and has many fond memories of playing in the abandoned buildings left behind by the colony.

Robert and Madine Mueller Papers
Consists of correspondence of George T. Pickett dates ranging from 1928 to 1957; random newspapers dates ranging from 1921 to 1971; a selection of books with subjects ranging from Arithmetic to "Common Sense in Idealism"; and other assorted documents.

These items were given to Mayor Freddie Boswell by Robert and Foy Madine Mueller who found them in the attic of the late M.G. Foster's home as it was being destroyed to make way for Hwy. 171 in the late 1970's. This house was located near Hwy. 171 Speedway in New Llano. 

NOTE: Although we have not been able to confirm this, we believe that Mr. Foster was a relative of Sidney I. Foster who was the attorney for the colony.

Martha Palmer Collection
Consists of copies of several publications, most related directly to the New Llano Colony in Louisiana, as well as an assortment of items made and sold at the colony, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs and more.

Unofficially dubbed Vernon Parish historian, Martha Palmer has collected much memorabilia relating to the entire area, but she's always had a great interest in the New Llano Colony.

As a child, she met some of the former colonists and, always very interested in history, was enthralled by their story. As an adult, she has not only maintained those relationships, but -- due to her interest in the subject -- met many more.

Over the years, she has collected a wide assortment of items related to the New Llano Colony.

Museum of West Louisiana
Consists of a variety of items once used in the New Llano Colony including a plaster bust of George Pickett owned by John and Jerry Pickett; dishes from the New Llano Hotel owned by Carl Peecher; and a variety of items which have been given or loaned to the Museum of West Louisiana, including photographs, books, paintings, furniture and more.

Other Donors:

Roger Brinkley
Arnold Brough
William "Bill" Brough
John Crook
Stanley Fletcher
Jean Foley
Nelva "Billie" (Brough) Goodner
Irene and Chuck Harper
Virginia Harrison

David Labby
Duffie Moore
Sharon Legg Moore
Janet Mulshine
Justin Overman
Carl Peecher
Town of New Llano
Vernon Parish Tourism Commission

"The trouble started when the 'market' -- whoever that is -- quit buying sweet potato crates last fall, and the crates piled up in our warehouse until there are over $3,000 worth of them waiting there to be used. Because of that -- and other things -- we could not pay the wholesale grocery concern, Kelly-Weber Company of Leesville what we owed them for groceries... When George offered Kelly-Weber the $3,000 worth of sweet potato crates as security for their account of about $1,650, they refused the crates... We have heard that Kelly-Weber owes about $600,000 which they cannot pay. Probably they are worried." Llano Colonist, June 10, 1933

Reading Library

Stop by the museum and read any of the books on our reading list which features a variety of books related to the New Llano Colony, as well as several collections of documents.

"It's a heart-breaking kind of a job lately, facing those who have come hundreds of miles, to knock at the doors of Llano. One such man had his right arm off at the shoulder and was 60 years old; had nothing but the clothes he stood in; and had come from a poor-house in Texas. He was willing to work, he said he used to be a skilled logger; he knew how to file saws -- but he didn't have a file, even. Llano Colonist, June 24, 1933

Videos

While you're here, ask to see the LPB documentary "American Utopia". Filmed in 1994 by Louisiana Public Broadcasting, the film features interviews with several former colonists who still lived in the New Llano area, as well as locals who remember the colony.

Also available for viewing is the Academy Award-winning drama "Reds" starring Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton which tells the story of John Reed, American Communist, journalist and activist and his love affair with writer / feminist Louise Bryant against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution.

In 1928, while still a young girl, Irene Maki came from Minnesota with her mother, Mary Christina, and siblings Gertrude, Myrtle, George, Chick, and Milton. Her YouTube home videos, made in 2013-14, offer a glimpse into her personal memories of the colony. Please make adjustments as needed with the sound - the videos are worth it.
New Llano Colony I: Moving In
Llano Colony: After School Jobs
New Llano Colony: Money, Medical Treatment, and the Rust Brothers
Working at the hotel, Saturday Night Dances, and Laundry
Women in the New Llano Colony

"It was the intention of those who organized the Llano Movement to permit people to join themselves with other fellows in the production of the necessities of life, giving not only food, clothing, and shelter, but education and social advantages that can be participated in by all, produced by all, and used by all, without any other cost than the effort of its production. This was one of the most attractive parts of the Llano Movement to me... Personally I have not been disappointed in my existence in Llano Colony..." Llano Colonist, December 9, 1937



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