ALBANY, La. — Louisiana’s newest museum opens Wednesday (Sept. 27) in a 111-year-old school in Albany.
The Hungarian Settlement Historical Society restored the building and is leasing it from the Livingston Parish School Board as the Hungarian Settlement Museum .
The school was built in Springfield in 1906 and moved to Albany in 1927. It was a school until 1944, then a nursing home. After that closed in 1976, the building was ignored until 2000, when the historical society decided to turn it into a museum.
According to the museum’s website, the community was established in 1896, when its three founders checked an advertisement in a Hungarian-language newspaper for 20-acre plots being sold by a lumber company that had clear-cut the land. They called the community Arpadhon: “the Home of Arpad,” after the leader many Hungarians consider the nation’s founder.
They invited other Hungarians from the North and East to join them.
Its population had grown from 11 families in 1900 to about 200 families farming the area by 1920, with strawberries as their major cash crop.
The society says Hungarian Settlement, is currently the nation’s largest rural Hungarian community.