from Red Stick
to River Capital
Three Centuries of Baton Rouge History

Introduction

This electronic exhibition is based upon a physical exhibition in Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University, March 8 - July 2, 1999. Only a portion of the physical exhibition is presented for online viewing. A list of all items displayed in Hill Memorial Library is available as part of this electronic exhibition.

This exhibition was curated by V. Faye Phillips, Associate Dean for Special Collections, LSU Libraries. It features materials from LSU Libraries' Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections.

From Red Stick To River Capital: Three Centuries of Baton Rouge History explores how Baton Rouge's history has shaped the present-day city. Native Americans, French, Spanish, English, African and American cultures and heritages shaped the early history of the region. Descendants of these peoples and many later immigrants have all played a part in the growth, vitality, economy, and culture of Baton Rouge through the past three centuries.

1999 is celebrated as the tricentennial of Baton Rouge's "discovery" because on March 17, 1699, French explorer Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, first viewed the Native Americans' ceremonial "red stick" boundary marker near the present location of Baton Rouge. France ceded its holdings in eastern Louisiana to Great Britain at the close of the French and Indian War in 1763. The Treaty of Fontainebleau (1762) gave Spain New Orleans and western Louisiana. With British territory separated from the Spanish territory only by the Mississippi River and Bayou Manchac, Baton Rouge was strategically important as the southwestern outpost of British North America. The British quickly built and occupied Fort New Richmond near the present site of the Pentagon Barracks next to the state capitol.

Members of Hernando de Soto's expedition in 1542 were the first Europeans to visit the area, but the Spanish did not influence life here until 1779. Spanish territorial governor Don Bernardo de Galvez took Fort New Richmond in September 1779, renaming it Fort San Carlos. When Napoleon sold "Louisiana" to the United States in 1803, the fort remained in the possession of Spain. It became the only post on the Mississippi River that did not belong to the United States.

Americans residents of Fort San Carlos, with the backing of the United States, rose against Spanish rule in September 1810, took over the fort, and raised the flag of the "West Florida Republic." The commandant of the militia, Philemon Thomas, led the assault, and a former American diplomat, Fulwar Skipwith, was named president of the West Florida Republic. In October 1810 President James Madison authorized the governor of the U.S. Territory of Orleans, William C. C. Claiborne, to take over the West Florida Republic. Fort San Carlos' citizens changed the town's name back to Baton Rouge. For the next 51 years Baton Rouge, which became Louisiana's capital in 1847, was a moderately prosperous, growing town in the United States of America.

Before Louisiana seceded from the United States of America in January 1861, Louisiana militia units loyal to the Confederacy took over the U.S. garrison at Baton Rouge. Sixteen months later Federal troops retook Baton Rouge. They occupied the city for the duration of the war and moved the state capital to New Orleans, where it remained until 1882.

The return of the state capital to Baton Rouge brought with it economic revival. Baton Rouge entered the 20th century on a prosperous note. In 1909 the arrival of Standard Oil Company changed the Baton Rouge economy from one based on river commerce and agriculture to one based on the oil industry. Through seven decades, Baton Rouge's business was oil. The industry's economic downturns of the 1980s brought diversification to the city's economy. Today the metropolitan area has grown to 231,000 citizens representing almost every nationality in the world living within 75 square miles, with a diversified economy that includes government, higher education, tourism, services, river commerce, and trade.

The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Mark Thomas Carleton (1935-1995) and Marshall Stone Miller, Jr. (1938-1991). Dr. Carleton was the author of River Capital: An Illustrated History of Baton Rouge; Mr. Miller was responsible for the pictorial research. Both Dr. Carleton and Mr. Miller were associated for many years with the LSU History Department and the LSU Libraries Special Collections. This celebration of three centuries of Baton Rouge history, based on their book, is a tribute to their work and lives.

Credits

From Red Stick To River Capital: Three Centuries of Baton Rouge History was made possible in part by a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibition was Curated by V. Faye Phillips, Associate Dean for Special Collections, LSU Libraries.

Several staff of Hill Memorial Library assisted in the selection and evaluation of materials for the exhibition, including: Elaine Smyth, Curator of Rare Books and the E. A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection; Jo Jackson, University Archivist; Frances Huber, Exhibitions Coordinator, LSU Special Collections; Charles Thomas, Interim Curator of the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections; Emily Robison, Political Papers Curator; Renate Zietz, Unit Head, Image Resources; and Merle Suhayda, Electronic Imaging Laboratory Manager.

The physical exhibition was coordinated and arranged by Frances Huber, Exhibitions Coordinator, LSU Special Collections.

The electronic version of this exhibition was authored by Charles Thomas (revised version by M. Mullenix). Image scanning was conducted by Merle R. Suhayda and Mark Martin.

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Exhibit Case 1: Native Americans & Colonial Origins

Interpretive text

Items displayed:

 

* LSU Museum of Natural Science. The LSU Campus Mounds: A National Treasure. Baton Rouge: The Museum, 1998. Courtesy of the Museum.
* B. F. French, Historical Collections of Louisiana.... New York: Lamport, Blakeman & law, 1853. LLMVC Rare F366 F87, v. 5, c 4.
* 1797 Gayoso Land Grant. LLMVC, Survey Collection.
* Vincente Sebastian Pintado. Plano de los terrenos ...de Galveztown...que fuerte Sn. Carlos de Baton Rouge, 1804. LLMVC G4010 1963 H6 No. 37.

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Exhibit Case 2: River Port

Interpretive text

Items displayed:

 

* Daniel Hickey Letter, 1793. LLMVC, Miscellaneous Collection.
* Alvin E. Rabenhorst, Photographs "Flood of 1897" (1897) and "Convicts repairing Baton Rouge levee," (1897?). LLMVC, Alvin E. Rabenhorst Photograph Collection.
* A Comprehensive Study of the June 1989 Flood . Baton Rouge, LA: City of Baton Rouge and Parish of East Baton Rouge, Department of Public Works, Engineering Division, 1990. LLMVC GB 1399.4 L8 E37 1990.
* Baton Rouge Transportation Records, Log of the Steamer City of Baton Rouge, 1917. LLMVC, Miscellaneous Collection.
* Mark Twain. Life on the Mississippi. London: Chatto & Windus, 1883. LLMVC Rare F353 C634.
* China cup from the steamboat J. M. White. LLMVC, Sophie Cooley Pearson Collection.

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Exhibit Case 3: Civil War and Aftermath

Interpretive text

Items displayed:

 

* Sarah Morgan Dawson. The Civil War Diary of Sarah Morgan . Edited by Charles East. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, c1991. LLMVC E605 D28 1991.
* Anonymous Civil War Letter, Baton Rouge, April 1863. LLMVC, Miscellaneous Collection.
* Baton Rouge One Dollar Bills, 1861 and 1862. LLMVC, Currency Collection.
* Andrew Lytle, Photograph "Federal Occupation, Baton Rouge," 1860s. LLMVC, Andrew Lytle Photograph Collection.
* Andrew Lytle, Photograph "Federal Encampment, Baton Rouge," 1862. LLMVC, Andrew Lytle Photograph Collection.
* Artifacts shown courtesy of the Louisiana State University Rural Life Museum, Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Embroidered cloth notebook cover, once belonging to W. H. Tunnard.
* W. H. Tunnard's "housewife," presented to him by S. "Lou" Dyer, Woodville, Mississippi.
* Andrew Lytle's riding crop.
* Civil War-era belt buckles, "US" and "CSA."
* Civil War-era cannon ball, cut in half.

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Exhibit Case 4: Social History

Interpretive text

Items displayed:

 

* Frank Marion Uter. A History of the Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, 1792-1992. Baton Rouge: St. Joseph Cathedral, 1992. LLMVC BX1418 B28 U83 1992.
* "Programme of the Annual Closing Exercises of the Collegiate Institute, 1887" LLMVC, William S. Hamilton Papers.
* "Washington Fire Company No. 1, Notice of Washing of Fire Truck, 1843," A. S. Herron Letter. LLMVC, Miscellaneous Collection.
* Andrew D. Lytle, Photograph "Early Firemen." LLMVC, Andrew D. Lytle Photograph Collection.
* "German Benevolent Society Constitution and Bylaws, 1851." LLMVC, Gertrude Saucier and Family Papers
* Front view and verso view of "German Benevolent Society Anniversary Ball Dance Card, 1884." LLMVC, Miscellaneous Collection.
* "Playbill, Academy Hall, May 19, 1864." LLMVC, Eugene M. Violette Collection.
* Masonic Temple Postcard. LLMVC, Baton Rouge Postcards Picture Collection.
* St. Joseph's Convent Postcard. LLMVC, Baton Rouge Postcards, Picture Collection.
* Postcard 1 and Postcard 2: Two postcards of the High School, Baton Rouge, La. LLMVC, Baton Rouge Post Cards, Picture Collection.

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Exhibit Case 5: Transportation and Progress

Interpretive text

Items displayed:

 

* Standard Oil Postcard. LLMVC, Baton Rouge Postcards Picture Collection
* Esso Standard Oil Company. The Story of the Baton Rouge Refinery . Baton Rouge, LA: The Company, [1948?] LLMVC HD9569 E7 E78.
* Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: The Greatest of Fresh Water Harbors. Baton Rouge: Ramires-Jones Printing Co., 1920s. LLMVC F379 B33 B36.
* The Baton Rouge, Grosse Tete and Opelousas Railroad Stock Certificate, 1867. LLMVC, James O. Fuqua Papers Collection.
* Baton Rouge Board of Trade, Aviation Meeting, 1911. LLMVC, Imprints Collection.
* Jasper Ewing, Photograph "Third Street," (1940s?). LLMVC, Jasper Ewing Photographs.

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Exhibit Case 6: Baton Rouge Women

Interpretive text

Items displayed:

 

* Advertisement for Baton Rouge Female Institute, 1837." LLMVC, John Laycock and Family Papers.
* "LSU Comus Edic," photograph, 1916-1917. LLMVC, Henry Wallace Stopher Papers.
* William Octave Hart. Rights of Women in Louisiana. New Orleans: Andree & Elliott, 1910. LLMVC Rare PS664 L8 L68.
* Dorothy H. Brown and Barbara C. Ewell, eds. Louisiana Women Writers: New Essays and a Comprehensive Bibliography. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1992. LLMVC PS266 L8 L68 1992.
* InRegister:Baton Rouge's city/social publication. Baton Rouge, LA: Horn Media Consultants. Vol. 10, No. 1, July 1998. Photograph ca. 1996 by Mike LeBlanc

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Exhibit Case 7: The Changing Face of Baton Rouge

Interpretive text

Items displayed:

 

* Charles East. A Walking Tour of Historic Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge: Committee for the Preservation of the Port Hudson Battlefield, c1963. LLMVC F379 B33 E3.
* Baton Rouge City-Parish Planning Commission. Comprehensive Plan for Baton Rouge: A Future Community for 425,000 Persons. Baton Rouge, 1972. LLMVC HT168 B33 E218.
* Baton Rouge Office of the Mayor-President. Baton Rouge 2000 Update: A Development Program for the Downtown Development District. Baton Rouge, 1987. LLMVC HT168 B33 B36 1987.
* Wilbur Smith and Associates. Horizon Plan Summary Comprehensive Land Use and Development Plan: City of Baton Rouge. Houston: Wilbur Smith Associates, 1991-1992. HT168 B33 W54 1991b.
* Web pages from PLAN Baton Rouge and the Advocate.

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Exhibit Case 8: African-Americans in Baton Rouge

Interpretive text

Items displayed:

 

* "Bill of Sale, 1844." LLMVC, French-Edwards Family Papers.
* Broadside "No Contrabands," Provost Marshall's Office, 1863. LLMVC, Baton Rouge Civil War Broadsides.
* Longwood Plantation Advertisement" undated. LLMVC, Sabin Gianelloni, Sr. Papers.
* Lora O. Hinton, Jr. Varsity Letterman Plaque, 1973-1975. University Archives.
* Pinkie Gordon Lane. Girl at the Window. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1991. LLMVC PS3562 A4845 G5 1991.
* Baton Rouge Post. Courtesy of Willis V. Reed.
* Johnny Adams. CD. Courtesy of Jo Jackson.
* Photograph of Sharon Weston. Courtesy of Sharon Weston.

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Exhibit Case 9: The Businesses of Baton Rouge

Interpretive text

Items displayed:

 

* Tessier Building Papers. LLMVC, Imprint Collection.
* Fraenkel's Baton Rouge Directory, 1890. Baton Rouge, 1890. LLMVC F379 B33 A18 1890.
* Baton Rouge, the Future Manufacturing Metropolis of the Awakened South. Baton Rouge: The Chronicle, 1915. LLMVC Flat F379 B33 C53.
* Bliven, Bruce. Baton Rouge, a Great Refinery Produces for War. Illustrations in color by Adolph Dehn. [n.p. : Standard Oil Co. of La., 1944?] LLMVC HD 9569 S82 B55 1944.
* David King Gleason. Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1991. LLMVC Oversize F379 B33 G57 1991.

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Exhibit Case 10: Histories of Baton Rouge

Interpretive text

Items displayed:

 

* Fortescue Cuming. Sketches of a Tour to the Western Country, ... Commenced ... in ...1807, and con-cluded in 1809.... Together with a Notice of an Expedition Through Louisiana. Pittsburgh: Cramer, Spear & Eichbaum, 1810. LLMVC Rare F518 C97.
* Joseph St. Clair Favrot. ...7th Port Pageant. Homecoming Celebration. April 15-21, Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge: Ramires-Jones Printing Co., 1923. LLMVC F379 B33 F28.
* Rose Meyers. A History of Baton Rouge, 1699-1812. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1999.
* Mark T. Carleton. River Capital: An Illustrated History of Baton Rouge. Woodland Hills, CA: Windsor Publications, 1981. LLMVC F379 B33 C35.
* David King Gleason. Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1991. LLMVC Oversize F379 B33 G57 1991.

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Exhibit Case 11: LSU in Baton Rouge

Interpretive text

Items displayed:

 

* LSU Press. Publicity Poster. "The All-Girl Football Team," 1986. University Archives. LSU Press.
* Lewis Nordan. The All-Girl Football Team. Vintage Contemporaries Ed., 1989. University Archives.
* Programs: 1986, LSU Baseball; 1992-1993 Lady Tigers Basketball. University Archives.
* Original building brick, ca. 1860s. Louisiana State Seminary of Learning, Pineville, LA. University Archives.
* Postcard. LSU Stadium, New campus, 1925-26. University Archives.
* LSU Calendar, 1913. Cover photo Hill Memorial Library. University Archives.
* Program, 1926, LSU New Campus Dedication. University Archives.
* Prather Warren. Photograph "Aerial View of LSU Campus, 1997." Courtesy of Jim Zietz.
* G. D. Bently, 1904 LSU Ring. LLMVC, Nita Sims Breazeale Collection.
* LSU Commencement Hop Dance Card, 1872. University Archives.
* Thomas D. Boyd's Tiger statue. c. 1920? University Archives, Presidents' Records.
* M. K. Shuman. Meriwether Murder. Courtesy of Fran Huber.
* LSU Pom-pom. University Archives.

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Exhibition Case 12: City Politics

Interpretive text

Items displayed:

 

* Postcard, Louisiana State Capitol. C. 1904. LLMVC, Baton Rouge Postcards, Picture Collection.
* James Dakin Diary, 1848. LLMVC.
* Philip Gould. Louisiana's Capitols: The Power and the Beauty. Lafayette: Galerie Press, 1995. LLMVC. NA4413 B36 G68.
* Bust of Huey Long. LLMVC, Huey Long Collection.
* Photograph of Earl Long, undated, in office at State Capitol. LLMVC, Earl Long Papers.
* Photograph of President Lyndon Bains Johnson and Senator Russell B. Long, 196?. LLMVC, Russell B. Long Papers.
* Robert Penn Warren. All The King's Men. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1996. LLMVC PS3545 A748 A7 1996.
* Photograph of Huey Long Funeral Flowers at State Capitol, 1935. LLMVC, Huey Long Collection.

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Other Photographs

* Andrew Lytle, "Baton Rouge National Cemetery," n.d. The cemetery opened in 1867. Evergreens such as holly, wild peach, and bay lined its shell-covered walks. LLMVC, Andrew Lytle Photograph Collection.
* A. M. Robinson, "Gas-powered Tractor," circa 1920s. The introduction of gas-powered tractors improved agricultural work and made it more financially successful. LLMVC, Sabin J. Gianelloni, Sr., Papers.
* Jasper Ewing, "Cars on the Steps of the State Capitol," circa 1939. The steps of the "new" state capitol building have always been a popular place for photographs, political demonstrations, and relaxation, but few photographs are as comical as these "new" autos on show. LLMVC, Jasper Ewing Photographs.
* Fonville Winans, "Ferry Landing," circa 1938. Before the river bridge was completed in 1940, cars and people traveled from one side of the river to the other on ferries. LLMVC, Fonville Winans Collection.
* Fonville Winans, "LSU in Snow," circa 1930s? Even in Baton Rouge it sometimes snows. Fonville Winans took this rare aerial photograph. He piloted the plane and shot photographs at the same time. LLMVC, Fonville Winans Collection.
* Elemore M. Morgan, Sr. "Baptism at Dawson Creek," circa 1950s. In Baton Rouge, baptisms took place in creeks, bayous, and lakes well into the 1970s. LLMVC, Francis A. de Caro Collection.
* Jasper Ewing, "Webb Moss Gin," circa 1930s. This rare photograph shows employees working at Sidney B. Webb's moss factory located in a black residential section of the city near the railroad. Louisiana was the leading producer of Spanish moss used for construction, mattress stuffing, and other products. LLMVC, Jasper Ewing Photographs.
* Elemore M. Morgan, Sr., "Ruins of The Cottage," circa 1961. Constructed in 1825 for Frances Duncan Conrad, this plantation house stood through the Civil War and was used briefly as a hospital for Union soldiers. In 1960 it was struck by lightning and burned. LLMVC, Elemore M. Morgan, Sr., Collection.
* A. E. Woolley, "Baton Rouge Bus Boycott," 1953. Woolley was one of a few photographers determined to record this historic event. In 1953 Baton Rouge was the site of the first successful bus boycott. This boycott was the model for the more publicized boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, and set the stage for desegregation in the Deep South. The T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History has mounted an electronic exhibition about the boycott at http://www.lib.lsu.edu/special/exhibits/boycott/index.html. This on-line exhibition includes photographs, an historical timeline, and the personal recollections of some of the major figures behind the bus boycott. LLMVC, A. E. Woolley Photographs and Papers.
* The Register Records, "Orene Muse Morning Treat Billboard," circa 1950. Orene Muse Huckabay and her husband, Elton J. Huckabay, began publishing The Register, a society newspaper, in 1949. Mrs. Huckabay was a famous local personality who added familiarity to the billboard. LLMVC, The Register Records.
* Elemore M. Morgan, Sr., "Paramount Theater," circa 1960. The Paramount Theater was one of the first theaters constructed in Baton Rouge to show "moving pictures." LLMVC, Elemore M. Morgan, Sr., Collection.
* LSU Public Relations, "Peace Rally," 1970. LSU student Luana Henderson participated in a peaceful protest against the Vietnam War held in 1970 on the LSU campus. The poster behind her refers to the killing of four students by National Guardsmen during a protest that turned violent at Kent State University in Ohio. University Archives, LSU Public Relations.
* A. J. Meek, "Exxon Fire and Explosion, Christmas Eve, Baton Rouge, Louisiana," 1989. On Christmas Eve, 1989, a massive explosion ripped through Baton Rouge's Exxon refinery, killing two men. Photographer A. J. Meek captured this shot with a panorama camera. LLMVC, A. J. Meek Photograph Collection.
* A. J. Meek, "High Water, Mississippi River, Baton Rouge, Louisiana," 1990. In January 1990 flooding along the Amite and Comite rivers damaged more than 800 homes and brought the Mississippi River to one of its highest recorded levels. "High Water" and "Exxon Fire" are recent additions to the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections. LLMVC, A. J. Meek Photograph Collection.
* Jim Zietz for LSU Public Relations, "Steele Burden," 1993. Steele Burden is credited with much of the original the landscaping of the current LSU campus. The Burden family donated the land on which the LSU Rural Life Museum is located. University Archives, LSU Public Relations.
* Jim Zietz for LSU Public Relations, "Rural Life Museum," 1995. The Rural Life Musuem operates on self-generated funds and draws over 100,000 visitors a year. University Archives, LSU Public Relations.
* David King Gleason, "Southern University," circa 1990. Gleason took this photograph for his book Baton Rouge, published by LSU Press in 1991. LLMVC, David King Gleason Collection.

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Stone Miller, Jr. (1938-1991). Dr. Carleton was