|The classically built Citizen's National Bank Building in Hammond, LA.|
Casa de Fresa in its glory days. The Citizens National Bank building was styled
after the hotel with the red and white facade pictured here.
Cases de Fresa Hotel stayed open until 1966 when economic hardship forced it to close. For the next 10 years, the building lay in disuse for years with several key Hammond citizens lobbying for it to be salvaged and brought back to its former glory. However, a final fire in 1979 laid the hotel to rest but gave a new business a chance!
Richard Woods, owner and operator of a local leather business, Rainbow Lotus, was in the middle of growing his new venture. He had the idea of using reclaimed wood as a building material. He knew that the virgin growth wood that could be salvaged from dilapidated building would make a strong, stable, beautifully aged building resource that is environmentally friendly. Woods bought doors and beams from what was salvageable from the burned Casa de Fresa, allowing the glory of this celebrated hotel to live on. The purchase helped Albany Woodworks begin building its inventory to allow it to continue to grow. Now with its 40th anniversary on the horizon, Albany Woodworks recognizes how the historical hotel that played such a prominent role in the community allowed it to grow into a mainstay of the Hammond area.