The Court House In Tallulah, Louisiana Date Taken: November 22 2004 Image contributed by joycebuckley, June 23, 2007
Tallulah is a city in and the parish seat of Madison Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 9,189 at the 2000 census. Tallulah is the principal city of the Tallulah Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Madison Parish.
Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections operates the Steve Hoyle Rehabilitation Center in Tallulah.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.7 square miles (7.0 km²), all of it land.
Tallulah got its name in an unusual sort of way. When the railroad was expanding in the area, there was a widow that owned a large plantation. She became friendly with the railroad's contractor and persuaded him to change the route of the railroad so it would run through her plantation. After the railroad was built she had nothing else to do with him. Feeling rejected he named the "water stop" for an old girlfriend named Tallulah, instead of the plantation.
A water stop or water station on a railroad is a place where trains stop to replenish water. The stopping of the train itself is also referred to as "water stop". The term originates from the times of steam engines, when large amounts of water were essential. In these times they were also called wood and water stops or coal and water stops, since it was reasonable to replenish engines with fuel as well.
Tallulah was the focus of national shame when, on July 20, 1899, five Sicilians were lynched, to much public approval, after they fought with a local doctor after he shot their goat. The sheriff testified that every white man in Madison Parish was implicated in the lynchings, but no one was ever charged.
Tallulah was the first city in the United States to have an indoor shopping mall. The mall was only one hall with stores on either side much like the ones today but much smaller. This hall opened into the street on both ends. This historic land mark is still in Tallulah to this day on US HWY 80, though no longer in use.
Carl Otis Trimble, first African-American quarterback at Louisiana State University (LSU)
Jimmy "Cooch Eye" Jones, former National Basketball Association (NBA) player with the (Baltimore Bullets)
James "Hang Man" Haynes, former National Football League (NFL) linebacker with the (New Orleans Saints)
Anthony Lucas, former National Football League (NFL) wide receiver with the (Dallas Cowboys & Green Bay Packers)
Lil Jay Tha Prince Qaadir I. Amin- HIP HOP RECORDING ARTIST
Bear Lake Club, Ltd. Clubhouse
Bloom's Arcade (1930) is a Modernistic brick and concrete shopping arcade located in
downtown Tallulah. Despite a few alterations, the arcade clearly retains its original character as a unique Louisiana example of what is essentially a European phenomenon.
A forerunner of the shopping mall, Bloom's Arcade is a commercial block with an interior pedestrian corridor running through the center. Off each side are party wall shops, each occupying one or more bays. In effect this amounts to a commercial historic district turned inside out. Bloom's Arcade is primitive compared with certain European examples which feature multi-story complex shopping spaces. By contrast, Bloom's has a single story and contains a single straight interior
corridor. When it opened it contained a variety of stores, a post office, and a theatre fitted with a "Nu-Air" cooling system.
The arcade has twelve interior bays marked by brick pilasters with teas relief block capitals.
These are surmounted by a five-tier box cornice which amounts to a corbel vault. The arcade space culminates in a continuous skylight of translucent glass. The storefront bays were originally of the type found on exterior commercial shopfronts of the period -- i.e., transoms, kickplates, and display windows. In most cases, the glass and door and window features have been replaced, though the configuration is the same. This is also true of the shopfronts which face onto the exterior of the
arcade commercial block.
Overall, the exterior of the block has a low-key character. The only exception to this are the entrances at each end of the pedestrian corridor. Each of these matching openings is framed by a build up of superimposed piers culminating in a striking central parapet block consisting of alternating pilasters and strips and copious Meso-American teas relief. This flat cast-concrete teas relief accents other parts of the building as well, including corners, exterior brick piers, and interior
pilaster capitals. There is also a massive teas relief beam accenting each end of the pedestrian corridor. Other noteworthy features include the checkerboard terrazzo floors, the pressed metal paneled ceilings in many of the shops, and the original fixed awning which shades the front and rear of the block.
2,134-acre Crescent Plantation is located on State Highway 602, about two miles from its intersection with Interstate 20, a few miles southeast of Tallulah, Louisiana. State Highway 602 follows the route of Brushy Bayou and Walnut Bayou. Brushy Bayou runs in front of the plantation residence at a distance of approximately 300 feet. The house is a two-story, frame late Greek Revival residence with a story-and-a-half rear wing. The house rests upon brick foundation piers, and the gable roofs of the front and rear sections are perpendicular, with the roof of the front section pierced at each gable end by an inside-end brick chimney, rebuilt in the mid twentieth century. The five-bay northeasterly facade, which is finished in horizontal tongue-and-groove boards with an unmolded baseboard, is fronted by an undercut, double-tiered gallery that features molded box columns echoed on the front wall of the house by pilasters. The pilasters and box columns are linked on only the second-story level by a railing of rectangular sectioned balusters with molded
handrail. On the first-story level, floor-length windows fill with six-over-nine, double-hung sash flank a center-bay frontispiece entrance filled with a single-leaf, molded, two-panel. door set within sidelights and a transom filled with etched and painted glass. The first-story entrance is repeated on the second-story level by a simpler center-bay doorway with matching door having sidelights but no transom. All windows of the house except those on the facade, are filled with six-over-six, double-hung sash and many are closed by original shutter blinds.
The interior of the front section exhibits a single-pile plan with central passage. The window and doorway openings of the easterly front room of the first story have architrave surrounds with molded cornices, and the window and doorway openings of the westerly front room have shouldered architrave surrounds. All windows are set over molded panels, doors have two molded panels, bases are molded with two fascias, and the wooden mantel pieces are pilastered. Both first-story rooms and the central passage are adorned with well detailed plaster ceiling center- pieces. The stairway of the central passage, which is the most architecturally significant feature of the house, is entered on the westerly hall wall and gently curves, unbroken by intermediate landings, around the southerly and easterly walls to make a full half circle before terminating in the second-story hallway.
The stairway has turned balusters and a newel of clustered balusters. The second-story of the house is more plainly trimmed with the hallway side of the doorway openings having symmetrically molded surrounds. The two bedrooms have unmolded doorway and window surrounds, unmolded bases, and slightly shouldered wooden mantel pieces.
The rear story-and-a-half wing originally existed as an independent dwelling that was
probably the first house constructed on Crescent Plantation. The lack of chimney bases or any evidence for such bases, despite the evidence of hearths, indicates that this building was relocated to serve as a rear wing for the two-story front section when it was built c.1859. The front section never existed independent of the rear wing, since no siding was ever attached to its studs at its junction with the rear wing. The rear wing cannot be dated stylistically since its was totally
re-trimmed c.1859 to match the front section. The millwork is plain and unmolded like the upper story of the front section. The wing is fronted by an undercut gallery with crudely molded box columns on its westerly elevation, which originally had a center-bay open passage with beaded frame. This open passage is flanked by three-bay compositions of a transomed center-bay doorway flanked by windows. The transom of the southernmost doorway is decorated with painted and stained glass. The figure of Robert E. Lee on horseback is flanked by two Confederate flags. The
floor plan was originally a double-pile plan with short open passage separating the front or westerly rooms and a range of three rooms across the rear. The stairway to the upper half story runs along the southerly wall of the center rear room in a straight westerly flight to terminate in the upper half story, which was totally remodeled and lighted by later dormers in the mid-twentieth century.
No nineteenth-century outbuildings survive on the plantation. Four twentieth-century outbuildings are within the nominated property. A recently constructed large metal storage facility also lies within the nominated acreage.
Hermione Plantation House
Hermione Plantation House was built in 1853, probably by an "absentee" owner who lived in the hills on the other side of the Mississippi River. After the invasion of Union troops in 1863, only four plantation houses remained unscathed. Since it was used as a Union hospital, the Hermione House was one of these. The antebellum home was donated to the Madison Historical Society in 1997, moved to its current location, and completely restored as a museum. It now serves as the headquarters for the Historical Society and is home to Madison Parish History.
Madam C. J. Walker
The Hermione Museum showcases period pieces and exhibits depicting the history of the parish, including artifacts from the Civil War and also from the ancient Indian civilizations that once populated the area. It also features a particularly interesting exhibit on Madam C. J. Walker, America's first self-made female millionaire. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 to sharecropper parents in rural Madison Parish. She eventually built her wealth through her line of hair care products and used her prominence to support civic, educational, and social aid for African Americans. Although she left Louisiana as a teenager to seek her fortune in the North, Walker maintained close contacts with her old friends and family in the area. The museum houses several pieces of her correspondence, in addition to other items.
Multi-millionaire Madam C. J. Walker, a Louisiana native, founded the first company to market cosmetics and hair care for African American men and women.
Hermione House was built in 1855 and now serves as the headquarters for the Madison Historical Society, Inc., and home to Madison Parish History. The antebellum home was completely restored as a museum and donated to the Historical Society in 1997. It showcases period pieces and exhibits depicting the history of the parish, including artifacts from the Civil War and also from the ancient Indian civilizations that once populated the area. Madison Parish is also the birthplace of Madam C. J. Walker, a self-made millionaire. Born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 to sharecropper parents in Delta, Louisiana, Walker built her wealth in cosmetics and used her prominence to support civic, educational, and social aid for African Americans. Her birth home has been preserved and currently serves as the Delta City Hall.
The Kell House (c.1910) is a rambling Queen Anne-Colonial Revival frame house located
on a large lot near the center of the parish seat of Tallulah. The only alterations have been the enclosure of a small portion of the gallery and the installation of paneling on the interior.
The plan has an irregular cruciform shape culminating in a large central living hall which has a quarter turn staircase and a corner fireplace. The stair derives a certain monumentality from its two massive oak newel posts with their ornamental panels and oeil-de-boeuf motifs. On one side of the living hall is the "music room," which terminates in a polygonal bay. It too has a corner fireplace.
On the other side of the living hall is the dining room with the large kitchen beyond. Between the living hall and the dining room is an enclosed staircase which ascends directly from the outside.
Evidently it was originally a servants' stair.
This complex floor plan is encompassed on four sides by a continuous single story
wraparound Tuscan gallery of twenty bays. There is also a secondary rear gallery.
Principal downstairs rooms connect with the gallery by means of large plate glass sliphead windows. The exterior is sheathed in narrow gauge clapboard. The gently picturesque roofline features articulated gables with pedimented proportions and scrollwork vergeboards. There is also an off-center pent dormer.
The interior features Colonial Revival mantel-overmantel sets with mirrors and simple
entablatures over the doors and windows.
In the 1920s the east corner of the gallery was enclosed for a kitchen extension.
This was fairly sensitively done, using large windows and leaving the columns exposed on the exterior. Thus this change, although regrettable, has not significantly marred the house's appearance.
More recently, the interior walls have been covered with plywood paneling. This change should be regarded as minor and purely cosmetic because no mantels, moldings, or openings were affected. A coat of paint would bring the interiors fairly close to their original appearance.
Significant dates c.1910
Montrose Plantation House
Montrose (c.1880) is a modest, single story, frame, late Greek Revival plantation house located in a rural setting near Roundaway Bayou approximately 6 miles southeast of Tallulah.
Despite several additions, the house retains most of its original features and consequently its architectural value in Madison Parish.
Although documentary sources indicate that a house existed at Montrose as early as 1841, the architectural evidence indicates that the present house, in all likelihood, dates from about 1880.
It has a central hall plan, one room deep, and a rear dining room wing. Originally there was a rear gallery, but it has since been enclosed and extended. The five-bay front facade has a five-bay gallery. The house is surmounted by a four plane bell cast pitched roof. Each of the three rooms has an end wall chimney. The house has two primitive features which belie its late date. These are the crude square front gallery posts and the hewn wooden piers which support the circular sawn frame
structure. However, its late date is affirmed by the clapboard sheathing under the galleries (which in Louisiana is found almost exclusively in the late-nineteenth century or later) and the Victorian influenced mantels. The two remaining original mantels consist of heavy Greek Revival aedicule motifs with cyma recta moldings and Gothic arches cut in the lower portions of the entablatures.
Unlike the mantels, the front doorway with its transom and side lights is pure Greek Revival. Evidently in the early-twentieth century a pair of side galleries were added and one of the three original mantels was replaced by a crude Colonial Revival style mantel. Also, the original gallery balustrades were replaced.
More recent changes include:
(1) the extension and enclosure of the old rear gallery;
(2) the enclosure of the rear portions of the side galleries;
(3) the construction of an extension to the original dining room wing which included a new gallery on the east side (now screened in); and
(4) the addition of a small rear overhang to connect the house with an adjacent
Assessment of Integrity:
Montrose's significance is based upon the fact that it is a provincial Greek Revival plantation house, All of the features which establish this identity are intact.
Subsequent exterior appendages have not obscured them; they are still plainly visible and easily discernible.
Specific dates c.1880
Builder/Architect Probable Builder: George W. Montgomery,
Scottland Plantation House
Scottland Plantation House is located just west of Roundway Bayou in the city of Tallulah. At one time the house stood at the center of a large plantation. Since that time the town of Tallulah has expanded southward along the bayou to engulf the house. However, the house still enjoys a spacious front lawn with a view of the bayou.
The circular sawn, frame house has a wide central hall with two rooms on each side. The hall is 15 feet high and 15 feet wide and is divided into front and rear sections by a wide molded doorway with a pediment shaped top. At one time these two halves were separated by large paneled sliding doors. In the 1950's these were moved to the doorway between the hall and the front parlor and mounted on hinges.
Other changes made at that time include:
1. The old rear porch was enclosed for a kitchen, living area and bathroom.
2. The clapboard was covered with aluminum siding. (The moldings and columns
were not covered.)
3. Three dormers were attached to the unfinished attic. These were installed for
effect; the attic is still unfinished.
4. Several closets were installed.
5. A small rear wing was added along with a side wing.
Raised three feet above the ground, the house is large and plain with simple heavy
moldings. The six gallery posts have double molded capitals. Chimneys are mounted between the front and rear roams and have simple aedicule motif mantels. Many of the doors and windows have molded pediment shaped tops. Most of the windows are 6 over 6. The front gallery windows are 6 over 9 sliphead type with unusually large panes.
Doors have 4 molded panels. All the original floors remain, though in two roams they have been covered over. Despite the intrusive additions, the essential architectural form, details, and significance remain. The aluminum siding is only noticeable upon very close inspection. In any case it could be easily removed. Likewise the small bogus dormers are a change which is easily reversible.
In any case, the house retains the features which establish its identity as a Greek Revival structure. These include the front gallery, the five bay facade, the front door with its transom and side lights, and the aedicule motif mantels. In the opinion of the State Historic Preservation Office, Greek Revival houses were once so numerous in Madison Parish, and are now so rare, that even a modified example is architecturally significant.
Scottland (c.1860) is a frame, single story, five bay, Greek Revival plantation house located just west of Roundway Bayou in the city of Tallulah. At one time the house stood at the center of a large plantation. Since that time the town of Tallulah has expanded southward along the bayou to engulf the house. However, the house still has a spacious front lawn with a view of the bayou.
Despite several changes, Scottland retains its architectural identity as a Greek Revival structure and hence its significance.
Specific dates circa 1860
Builder/Architect Builder--Robert Floore Scott
Scott Airfield (1922) is a large open field with a collection of metal sided ancillary buildings, a Mission Revival terminal, and a recently paved runway and taxiing area. It is set amid the flat delta country around Tallulah. Despite recent changes, the airfield still conveys its historical importance.
The taxiing area is encompassed on two sides by buildings. There is the 1928 Mission
Revival terminal with its metal tile roof and round arch windows. Next to it is a 1920’s frame hangar with more or less original metal siding. There are also two 1950's hangars and four 1950's sheds, all of which are metal sided. Despite the recent date of these sheds and hangars, they resemble earlier buildings of their type on the site (see historic view). In addition, the airfield retains its open agrarian
character. The setting is intact and overall the site still resembles a rural airfield of the 1920's. Hence it conveys its historical role as a proving ground for crop dusting.
The terminal and 1920's hangar are listed as contributing elements because despite the fact that they do not date from 1922 or 1923 (see Item 8), they do date from the 1920's. Small scale aerial experiments continued at Shirley Field throughout the 1920's on very meager funds. Hence the two buildings do date from the general period of experimentation. Moreover, they are unmistakably airport buildings and demonstrate the presence of an airport facility at Shirley Plantation in the 1920's. This of course is materially linked with the period of early experimentation because without these early experiments there would never have been an airplane facility on the
site. The airport itself is evidence of the historical event which took place there.
There are six low scale metal sided buildings on the site which are less than fifty years old. There are also 2 oil drums, a beacon tower, and a soybean container Despite these, the site retains its historical integrity for the reasons mentioned above. Moreover, one would not expect a 1920's airport which has been continuously used since that time to retain its original appearance given advances in aviation technology.
Specific dates 1922-1923
Builder/Architect Builder: U. S. D. A. Delta Laboratory
Tallulah Book Club Building
The Tallulah Book Club Building is a one story stucco structure standing on a small
rectangular lot on the outskirts of Tallulah's business district. Brushy Bayou flows nearby and can be viewed from the building's rear windows and exit. The building was constructed in 1930 in a very restrained version of the Spanish Colonial Revival style. Except for the loss of some lighting fixtures, it looks exactly as it did upon completion. As a result, its National Register eligibility remains intact.
The building's Spanish Colonial Revival elements include:
1) textured walls,
2) a pair of arched windows and a small curvilinear decorative buttress mimicking the
appearance of adobe,
3) a flat roof,
4) curvilinear shaped parapet walls,
5) small round openings on the front and rear suggestive of canales (water spouts),
6) a stuccoed fireplace whose firebox opening is outlined by tiles, and
7) two surviving Spanish wrought iron light fixtures.
Other elements of interest include large windows designed to allow plenty of light into the interior, lozenge shaped decorative tiles found on the facade above the arched windows, a sign on the facade identifying the structure as the Tallulah Book Club, entrance doors surmounted by transoms, built in bookcases, a stage flanked by Ionic columns and light sconces featuring frosted scalloped glass in embossed geometrically shaped metal holders. The interior contains a large central entertainment area which separates the vestibule, library, and powder room on one end of the building from the stage and kitchen at the other end.
The Book Club has remained amazingly intact through the years. In fact, except for
problems of general deterioration, only one exterior light fixture and the glass inserts of the light sconces described above have been lost. However, the inserts have been carefully replicated as part of a current restoration effort. In conjunction with this restoration, the exterior stucco has been repaired and the interior walls re-textured, much of the ceiling has been replaced, and additional
lights have been added to the kitchen. These repairs contribute to rather than detract from the integrity of the structure, which would still be easily recognized by anyone from the historic period.
Significant dates 1930-1941
Architect/Builder William Stanton
Tallulah`s Men`s Club Building
The Tallulah Men's Club (c. 1929) is a two story brick Colonial Revival structure located across from the courthouse in the Madison Parish seat of Tallulah. The building has undergone only minor changes.
The rectangular structure is distinguished by a large four pillar Colonial Revival portico featuring the following classical details:
1) four colossal wooden pillars rising from low brick bases, surmounted by molded
wooden capitals, and set in pairs.
2) an entablature featuring a molded architrave, the words "Tallulah Club" attached to an otherwise smooth frieze, and a denticulated cornice. This entablature extends
to encircle the building.
3) a tympanum pierced by an oculus-like grilled vent with keystones.
4) a raked denticulated cornice outlining the tympanum.
Behind the portico the building's facade is composed of large transomed windows piercing the center and single leaf doors located at the two corners. One door leads to an interior staircase rising to the second floor, where a lobby, four private game rooms, kitchen, and bathroom remain intact. The other door provides access to what was once a large ballroom. This room has been subdivided into three rooms, one fitted out as a barber shop. However, the original coffered pressed metal ceiling still spans the large space. It is hidden by a dropped ceiling in the front but is exposed to view at the rear.
In addition to the changes mentioned above, other alterations include the covering of first floor windows on one side or the building, the loss of part of the original built-in bar which lined the central portion of one downstairs interior wall, the screening of the second floor gallery, and the replacement of original facade windows with large panes of plate glass. Although the exterior changes are regrettable, in reality they have only a very minor effect upon the building's appearance.
This is because the intact portico totally defines and dominates the structure, leaving the rest of the facade to recede in visual significance. Thus, the Men's Club looks almost exactly as it, did upon completion c. 1929 and remains one of Tallulah's important surviving architectural landmarks.
Significant dates c.1929