The Monroe City High School

Monroe City High School

It isn’t the best view of the Monroe City High School (Monroe Grammar School), but it is an interesting shot!  It was taken at the corner of Wood and Jackson Street (Jackson to the left, Wood on the right).  It was built around 1900 as the city’s high school.  It had a basement and fire escape slides in the “turrets”.  When Neville High School was built in 1932, the old building was turned into a Grammar School.  The building was torn down in the 1950s and the site is now Anna Grey Noe Park.

Traveler’s Rest Plantation Parade

Travelers Rest

This is another one we don’t know who, where or even when.  We do, however, know a lot about the plantation it is named for.


1893 World’s Fair Editon
Monroe Evening News
(Special Collections, OPPL)

Traveler’s Rest plantation was built between 1835 and 1840 by David Hasley.  When his widow, the philanthropist Phinetta Hasley passed away in 1878, Major Thomas McGuire bought it and renamed it Traveler’s Rest.

The plantation had a 72 foot long verandah, big columns and was painted white.  The original section was made of hand-hewn cypress logs and the rafters were pine poles.  Hand-molded brick made the chimney.  Unusual for the time, it had a brick lined cellar.  The DAR in the 1960s collected the McGuire papers into a great book and there is a very detailed inscription of the interior that is wonderful!  One fact I will share from the book that made me laugh:  It seems the plantation was a perfect stopping spot for the night for travelers along the Arkansas Road.  The McGuire’s were very welcoming and guests would eat them out of house and home!  Thomas’ wife Mary decided to start charging guests $1 per night.  This put a stop to most of the uninvited guests!  The welcoming nature of the McGuire family lead to the name “Traveler’s Rest”.

Monroe’s Riverfront in 1907.

Low Water on the Ouachita

I love this one!  The water was incredibly low during the summer of 1907.  Can you imagine wading across the Ouachita?  The big building in the foreground is Ouachita National Bank and Central Savings Bank and Trust Company building built the year before on Grand Street.  It would  be torn down the 70’s.  The building with smoke coming out from behind it is the Monroe Hotel.  Of course the bridge is the “Traffic Bridge” which most citizens at the time would call it the “DeSiard Street bridge”.  We now call it the Endom Bridge!

The Courthouse Square and St. Matthews

Courthouse Square and St MatthewsThe upper photo was one I had never seen until we were given the scrapbook.  It shows the courthouse, mostly hidden behind trees.  A slightly blurred woman in her bonnet passes by on her errands.  To the left is the John G. Sanders Machine Shop with South Grand Street running in front of it.  Directly ahead is Oak Street.  It once emptied onto Grand Street, but now dead ends at the Sheriff’s office.  You can also make out the original Monroe Hotel in the distance down Grand.  The little Clerk of Court building sits in the trees on the Oak Street side of the Courthouse.  It was later stuccoed and is known as the Chapter House.  It is one of the oldest buildings in Ouachita Parish.

The bottom photo shows St. Matthews Catholic Church, at the corner of Grammont and Jackson streets.  Just peeking out beside it is a white building, which was St. Hyacinth’s School.  Down the way is Temple Sinai, the Jewish synagogue, with the ten commandment tablets peeking behind the telegraph pole.  Beside it was the “parsonage” where the rabbi lived.  What caught my attention, was the round window open in St. Matthews!  I didn’t know the window opened at all!  Must have been a hot day!

Early Car in Monroe

Early Monroe Car

Nothing about the above photo is identified.  We don’t know the street or the two men in the car.  All we know is that it was taken in Monroe between 1904 and 1907.  The men’s faces aren’t clear, but could one of them be George W. Zeigen?  George was a Spanish American War Veteran from Michigan who came to Monroe around the turn of the century and opened a bicycle shop.  He was a man who could make anything run.  This was why, when G.B. Cooley bought the first automobile in Monroe, George was asked to figure out how to drive it!  George figured out how to start the car.  He was able to back the car down off the freight car, but could not make it go forward.  And so, to George’s embarrassment, the first automobile in Monroe was driven down the street…in reverse.

Monroe’s Methodist Episcopal church

ME Church

Here is another scrapbook page.  The Methodist Episcopal Church stood at the corner of Wood and Jackson Street.  There is a parking lot now where the church once stood.  You can see St. Matthews Catholic Church without it’s steeple in the upper photo just down the road.  In the lower photo, Sanborn Fire maps state the big white house was the parsonage for the church.  Just look at all that stained glass!  I’ll bet it was gorgeous in it’s day!