The corner of Benton Road and Burt Boulevard is where the beautiful Bossier Parish Courthouse has found its forever home.
I say forever home because before 1972 the location for the Bossier Parish Courthouse was ever-changing. Starting in 1843 until the final resting point, the Bossier Parish Government met in five different places. This means for over 129 years the Bossier Parish Government had no exact meeting point. Talk about a hard time reaching a verdict.
The first Police Jury meeting in Bossier was held on June 19, 1843 to create the Jury. Another meeting was set to plan and propose the name and location of where they would continue to meet. When the Jury met again on July 6, 1843 it was held at Bodcau Bayou and they decided the name for the new meeting location for the parish government would be named Fredonia.
Four days later there was yet another meeting where they changed the name yet again to Society Hill. The indecisiveness continued on as the name changed again as well as the meeting location as. On August 11, 1843 the Police Jury named the new parish Bossier and also changed the name of the meeting place to Bellevue. In less than a month a wooden building measuring 25 x 30 x 12 feet high was built for the first official Bossier Parish Courthouse.
New Renovation Needs
The need for a new courthouse arose again and nine years later on February 2, 1852 a new two-story brick structure was built on a stone foundation. The brick building was fireproof and measured at 60 x 44 feet. All of the materials and building fees totaled to an approximate cost of less than $12,000. If only buildings were still that price! The Courthouse remained in use until 1892. Finally the Bossier Parish Government had a location that lasted longer than the one before.
If you have stayed with me I have told you of two locations. At the beginning I told you they met in at least five different locations. That means the two-story, fireproof, $12,000 brick building in Bellevue was not the final resting point for the Bossier Parish Courthouse. The thought for moving the courthouse again was in good reason. Moving the courthouse again was due to the fact that Bellevue did not have a railroad.
The Bossier Parish Police Jury voted on and decided in 1888 that Benton would be the moving destination for the courthouse simply because of the railroad located right through it. The idea of moving the courthouse to a new location caused much controversy throughout the parish. With the tensions high, the only way to move the courthouse would have to be done when no one was around. There was a group of 21 Benton citizens that stealthily moved all of the records to the new location in the middle of the night. Secret agent acts if you ask me.
The Courthouse Relocates…
The location that the records were stored was named the Robinson’s Hotel. This two-story hotel was located on Front Street near the golden railroad. Despite the altercations caused by the moving, it seemed promising. This building became the third Bossier Parish Courthouse and was rented out for $25 a month. Now that is my kind of rent money.
However, despite the awesome location right near the railroad tracks, the saga of the Bossier Parish Courthouse destination continued. Yet another courthouse was built in 1893. This was the fourth courthouse but the Bossier Police Jury’s previous verdict of moving it to Benton still stood. The new courthouse would remain in Benton on a plot of land that was donated to the parish for a whopping $1.00. The $23,684 courthouse was celebrated with a grand opening ball on June 10, 1893. This celebrated building was used for 79 years.
The Final Courthouse
After the many years of use in the previous building, the citizens of Bossier Parish voted a special tax to build a fifth and hopefully final courthouse. The tax was passed and the building was constructed and opened in 1972. The building still remains in use and houses the Bossier Parish government. Since the opening, there have been expansions and renovations done to the building to accommodate for the growing parish and its need for a growing government making this case closed.
Info for this blog was provided by Ann Middleton, the Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center and her article on the Bossier Courthouse.
Photos Courtesy of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center & Wikimedia Commons