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Aug 17, 2008

Baton Rouge Trivia

[This post will be added to occasionally]

In letter of orders of:
G. W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War, (US).
I see no reason for the destruction of the barracks and arsenal at Baton Rouge. You will therefore preserve them, unless, in your opinion, there is some urgent reason for their destruction.
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An Indian mound, or mounds, used to be in an area in or around Lafayette Park. 
"Galvez [Spanish Governor of Louisiana Bernardo de Galvez] placed six cannons on one or more Indian mound' about one thousand yards south of the [British] fort ("redoubt", a fortification, not as one generally thinks of as a fort) near the present intersection of North Boulevard and Lafayette Street."  Source
Note: I suppose the mounds were good for elevation on the sides of a mound.
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A Civil War soldier died, in the Baton Rouge vicinity, when he was hit by a stray bullet as he slept once again in his home bed. He is buried in Highland Cemetery. Source
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A granite Baptismal Font was given to St. James Episcopal Church in 1887 in memory of the Union commander Thomas Williams who attended the church during his stay in Baton Rouge, Thomas died in the Battle Baton Rouge. Williams was a Brigadier General in the Fifth U. S. Artillery, commander of the occupying Union forces that held Baton Rouge under Union control.
-->Source 
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Perkins Road existed in the 19th century, but was known under different nicknames, "the road from Baton Rouge to Amite River" and the "Middle Highland Road"), source didn't said it was call Perkins in the 19th century. Source
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Public Worship by non-Catholics was forbidden in Baton Rouge at the start of the 19th century. Source Protestant's was not allowed to be buried in the city cemetery, they were buried in the old military post cemetery on the, now, Capital grounds behind the Arsenal Building.
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Rabenhorst Funeral Home, was first located, in 1866, at the rear of the Ronaldson & Puckett Store, Main and Fourth streets. Ronaldson & Puckett was a general merchandise, hardware, and wholesale grocery store.
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The office of Mayor used to be called the Magistrate. John R. Dufrocq (term 1846-1855) was the first town executive to be known as mayor when the title of the position changed in 1850. Source
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The Elks Club opened their new theater and office building in November 1900 on the corner of Third and Florida. Source
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Jules Roux operated a “tonsorial parlor” on Third Street, what we would call a barber shop.
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After the Civil War, the Louisiana State Seminary and Military Academy at Alexandria, Louisiana moved to Baton Rouge and became Louisiana State University (LSU). Source
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The "Democratic Advocate", founded 1842, is the oldest ancestor of today's "Advocate". Alcee La Branche fought a duel with editor over an article which the editor wrote.
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The town of Baton Rouge in those early days was laid out in a series of "towns" (sic) or districts, which included Gras, Devall, Leonard, Hickey, Duncan, Mather and Beauregard towns. Source , [and an 1855 map legend.]
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Alex Grouchy (grew-SHAY) (1870-1945) (affectionately known as Mr. Alex, of the Grouchy Hotel family) and Jules Roux were instrumental in introducing a professional baseball team (of the Cotton States League) to Baton Rouge in 1902.
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City Park Golf Course, built in 1928, was designed by Tom Bendelow; It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, one of only 20 courses in America. Source
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Roseland Terrace was Baton Rouge's first subdivision, it was "staked out" in 1911; it was developed on the site of Magnolia racetrack (horse races, blog owner believes). Along the fence of the track were Cherokee Roses, thus the name Roseland Terrace. Source Government Park was the location of the old Magnolia Racetrack with its enormous grandstand. Source
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The record set on February 14-15 1895, is Baton Rouge's heaviest snow in recorded history - 12.5". Baton Rouge Snow Record
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Pentagon Barrack's: Much of the construction the U. S. Army Garrison, commonly called the Pentagon Barracks, in Baton Rouge,  was supervised by Lieutenant Colonel Zachary Taylor. Taylor liked Baton Rouge so much he made the town his official residence... Source 
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Mrs. Margaret "Peggy" Taylor, wife of Zachary Taylor, the 12th President of the United States, attended Saint James Episcopal Church on N. 4th St., then called Church St.
Zack and Margaret Taylor's son, Richard (Dick) , was the brother-in-law to Jefferson Davis.
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Buffalo was here in the place we call Baton Rouge, according to an account of a man who was with the French explorer's, he wrote, "Never in my life have I seen such great number of buffalo, harts (rabbits), and roes (deer)..." He wrote of seeing Birds, Turtles, Alligators, fur-bearing animals, and of the lake we call "Capital Lake" being abundantly supplied with fish, including Catfish (sad the lake is polluted now, nothing can live in it) Source [page 1]. University lakes' real name is Bayou Garrison, and was not a lake until it was dammed. page 7
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Zachary Taylor (Old Rough and Ready) Bio, after his return from the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), called his homestead in Baton Rouge where he lived, Buena Vista which means "Beautiful View", it was just a few yards South of the Pentagon Barracks. Buena Vista is also the place in Mexico where General Zachary Taylor's command defeated the forces of Santa Ana.
Note: After the war was won, Mexico agreed by treaty to give up Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and part of Colorado and the U.S paid Mexico $15,000,000.
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Bluffs on the River: Istrouma Bluff is the name of an area along the Mississippi River at the end of Convention Street that rises to 30 feet above sea level (not river level), it is said to be a cliff. Source
The Old La. State Capital Building in Baton Rouge sits on a bluff over looking the muddy Mississippi. Southern University was built on Scott's Bluff, and they call it Highland Road because it is high lands.
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The "BR" Area Chamber of Commerce was once called the "Baton Rouge Board of Trade"
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The Board of Selectmen, were the Parish Counsel of that period, I don't know the time frame in which that term was used, I do know that it was used in the mid 1800's, that term is still used in places today. Also, East Baton Rouge Parish had a Parish Ranger[s], their job were more of finders of missing livestock.
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Before the Federal occupation of Baton Rouge, "Magnolia Cemetery" had "a good substantial board fence", this fence was taken off by Federal soldiers to make use of in their camp. Source The city fathers contracted two tradesmen (out-of-towners I suspect) to construct a brick and stucco fence, but before they could finish the task they died of Yellow Fever in the 1878 epidemic. local workmen finished the job.
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Gov. Henry Luse Fuqua, was warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at one time, during which He had stripes removed from prison clothes. and he was a businessman.  When as Governor he enacted laws making the masked efforts of the Ku Klux Klan illegal.
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Mary Todd Lincoln's favorite half brother, Lieutenant A. H. Todd CSA, was killed by friendly-fire in Baton Rouge August 1862.
Mary Todd Lincoln’s brother and three half-brothers all fought in the Confederate Army during the Civil War? In fact, two of her half-brothers were killed — one in the Battle of Baton Rouge and the other in the Battle of Shiloh. Source
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The BR Police Department was formed immediately following the Civil War with the appointment of the first Chief of Police.  Source
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Daniel D. Avery, a Baton Rouge attorney and Justice of the Peace (mid-1830s) became a planter at Petite Anse Island which was renamed Avery Island. Source
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Catfish Town was so named because residents thereof caught many a catfish from their front porches when the flood waters receded. Source
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LSU was built on the Gartness Plantation (purchased 1918, then LSU President Thomas D. Boyd and Governor John M. Parker presiding.) Source
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One-third of the town was burned or torn down by Federal forces so that the gunboats, located above and below town, during the Federal occupation of the city, would have a clean sweep should the Confederate try a second attempt to retake Baton Rouge. Source   
General Butler ordered the commanding officer of Federal forces in occupied Baton Rouge, Colonel H. E. Paine of the 4th Wisconsin to burn Baton Rouge to the ground when the Federal vacated the city. Three days later, he countermanded his orders. Source
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Baton Rouge General Hospital was founded in the early 1900s by, Dr. T. P. Singletary, on the corner of Florida and Fourth Street. Source 
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Street Name Changes
  • Third St. used to be Garrison Lane. because it ran from the, then, State Capitol Building to the U.S. Garrison (commonly called the Pentagon Barracks). Source

  • 4th St. used to be Church St. (changed in mid 1920's because of growth of commerce on the street.)

  • Fifth St., by Capitol building, was referred to as Uncle Sam Street:  For many years because at the corner of Fifth and Boyd there was an old granite marker with US engraved in it which denoted the boundary line of the United States Garrison compound (US Army post).   Source
  • Sixth St., was once, Broad Way (extra wide street), according to 1837 map (link below)
http://cdm16340.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15196coll4/id/14/rec/10
  • Seventh St. used to be Penitentiary Street (Source Above)
  • Acadian Thruway used to be 33rd street. Source
  • N. 8th St. used to be Union Street. Source 
  • Claycut Road predates the Civil War and used to be two words -  or Clay Gut road (as I saw one reference to). A recent visitor to my site confirmed the original name as Clay Gut and said that there was a gut where the Buffalo frequented as a path.
  • Lafayette St. used to be Second Street, it was changed after the 1825 visit of General Marquis de Lafayette to the city.
  • 19 St. used to be Dufrocq St., named after JOHN R. DUFROCQ, first BR Mayor
  • Park Blvd., used to be Goldenrod
  • Monterrey used to be Simson Rd.
  • Gus Young Avenue used to be Capitol Avenue. Source
  • Florida Blvd used to be called Shell Road, because it was paved with little white shells to keep the funeral processions from getting stuck in the mud. Source
  • South 12th St. used to be Liberty Street. Changed 1929. Source
  • South 13th St. used to be Champagne Street. Changed 1929. Source
  • Lakeland Drive used to be Middle Street. Source
  • Scenic Highway used to be called Bayou Sara Road (the town Bayou Sara doesn't exist today).
  • Greenwell Springs Road use to continue up North Street at least to Magnolia Cemetery, at some point it turned into North Street as it continued on, according to a map depicting military positions in 1862.
    [Note: When posting this post it was going to be a post about the Federal troops stealing the wooden fence around Magnolia, thus the URL has that name in it, as so, 
      http://historicalbatonrouge.blogspot.com/2008/08/before-yakee-occupation-of-baton-rouge.html; I would have liked the URL to have "Baton Rouge Trivia" in it, but can't change it now.]

      1 comment:

      Super Cajun said...

      This was one of the most interesting posts I've ever read. I love learning cool facts about my hometown. What makes it so neat is that you can actually drive around and see these places instead of just reading about them!