Gretna Historical Society Museum
German immigrants Claudius Strehle and Catherine Nousz built the four-room house in 1840, then raised nine children in it.
There was an outside stairway to the attic where the children slept. The home is furnished with artifacts from the late 1800s through 1939.
The cottage is named after the youngest daughter, who was the last of the family to live in the home. She is a landmark herself by having taught school for more than 55 years and has a school named in her honor. The Catherine Strehle Elementary School is in the community of Avondale. Kittie graduated at age 16 and actually taught school in her home. The boys were in one room and the girls another with an open doorway between them. She also gave piano lessons to the young people of Gretna in order to supplement her income.
When the Strehle’s purchased the corner, first their home was built and then they sold the next lot to the David Crockett Fire Company. It is now the oldest, continuously active volunteer fire company in the USA. Of course, this building is now a museum with another working firehouse built on Lafayette Street but closer to the West Bank Expressway.
In the rear of the property another cottage was built for one of the sons, Ignatius. It is now the Gretna Historical Society Museum, with displays on the city’s mayors, police department, religions, and education.
Another pride and joy is the building known as the Gretna Green Blacksmith Shop. For group tours, a demonstration on the “art of blacksmithing” is given. We also have another use for it, which is explained further in the section, Valentine Weddings.