Marker Name: Third Parish Courthouse 1882 – 1957
Marker Dedicated: December 8, 2003
Marker Sponsor: 2003 West Baton Rouge Parish Council members: Curtis Anderson; Riley Berthelot, Jr., Chairman; Huey Brown; Harlan Cashiola; Larry Johnson; Jeff “Petit” Kershaw; Dantin V. LeBlanc; Betty Nelson and Keith K. Washington, Sr.
Marker Location: West Baton Rouge Museum grounds; 845 N. Jefferson Avenue; Port Allen, LA 70767
Marker Text: Site of third West Baton Rouge Parish Courthouse. Saved by the efforts of the West Baton Rouge Garden & Civic Club, who established the first library on the 2nd floor of this building July 11, 1933. After partial demolition in 1957 Clerk of Court’s records vault opened as the West Baton Rouge Museum in 1970. In honor of 75 years service by the oldest civic organization in West Baton Rouge Parish.
Background: A very important “historic” event occurred in our parish during February 2003. The West Baton Rouge Garden & Civic Club celebrated their 75th anniversary. Their 1st meeting was held on February 7, 1928, and this organization represents the oldest civic organization in our parish. The building we know as our museum today was “saved” from total destruction so that the Garden Club could have a place to hold their meetings and a place to begin our 1st parish library. All that remains of our 3rd parish courthouse lies on these grounds. So, the West Baton Rouge (WBR) Historical Association made a proposal to the WBR Parish Council to honor the Garden Club with this “visible” sign for residents and visitors to learn about this important piece of history.
During the summer of 2003 Neal Williams, our new Curator, noticed that the grass died in a strange pattern right in front of the remaining section of the old courthouse. While Rob Mann, State’s Division of Archaeology Department, was doing some excavation work on the Museum grounds, he located the original courthouse footings. Our new marker was placed right on the border of these footings in tribute to the old courthouse.
For more information:
• West Side Journal, January 8, 1970
• State Times, Monday, August 6, 1957
• Courthouse dedication brochure November 14, 1958
• West Side Journal Volume 67, Number 22, Thursday, December 18, 2003
• Along the River Road by Mary Ann Sternberg, page 202
• Chronicles of West Baton Rouge by Elizabeth Kellough and Leona Mayeux, 1979, pages 168-169, 242-243
• Ecoutez, September 2003 published by the West Baton Rouge Historical Association
• National Register of Historic Places nomination (Sandbar Plantation House) for info on 1st parish library
• Program dedication December 8, 2003
• State Historic marker files at the West Baton Rouge Museum
• Reference files at the West Baton Rouge Museum and Library