22 Apr Baton Rouge: history through its houses and architecture
Here is an interesting fact. Did you know that the city of Baton Rouge is divided into parishes instead of counties? This is all thanks to the city’s rich history. Wandering around the streets of Baton Rouge, you can gaze at the abundant historical structures that decorate the city. It is almost like taking a trip down memory lane.
When talking about Baton Rouge historic homes, the Magnolia Mound Plantation comes right to mind. This French Creole house was built in 1791, but has maintained its original plan and charm for more than 200 years. The entire house was constructed using cypress beams as support and flooring. It is a testament to the unique, outstanding quality of old, Southern architecture. Currently, the Magnolia Mound Plantation is the site of educational tours and courses designed to teach visitors and school students the rich French Creole culture that has shaped much of southern Louisiana. I still remember my field trip there as an elementary student. The intricate cotton loom and other historical antiques were beautifully displayed throughout the wooden mansion to provide a romantic experience into the distant past.
Also noteworthy among the Baton Rouge historic homes is the Nottoway Plantation. Located just above the Mississippi River, this huge mansion shows an unorthodox blend of ancient Greek architecture and more modern designs. Built in 1859, the Nottoway Plantation possesses many characteristics which were rare back then. It is truly an architectural wonder for its time.
Famous for being the oldest plantation home ever built and recorded in the Mississippi Valley area, the Destrehan Plantation has endured both colonial and the civil war to hold on to its splendor since its establishment in 1787.
In terms of design and color, the San Francisco Plantation is undeniably the most unique of the genuinely-restored Baton Rouge historic homes. Constructed in 1856, this popular landmark features an 1830 Slave Cabin, an 1840 Schoolhouse, and a Museum Store, all situated amongst 300 year old Oak trees. It is truly an interesting site to be visit.
Myrtles Plantation is another famous historic home in Baton Rouge, but for a different reason than the homes mentioned above. The Myrtles Plantation ranked tops as one of the country’s most popular Haunted Houses. Built in 1796, this 2-century old plantation boasts a 120-foot veranda, extravagant French furnishings, crystal chandelier, hand-painted glass, and of course, its ghosts.
Once upon a time, tours offered on the Laura Plantation were ranked as the “Best History Tour in the US”. Nowadays, the Laura plantation still lives up to its reputation. Constructed in 1805, its 12 buildings feature salve quarters that fully exhibit the lifestyle of Creoles and slaves during that period.
The Baton Rouge historic homes speak truth to the city’s rich, past life. Not only do the homes educate us about the past, but they also provide us with something magical to help motivate our imaginations.