• Pre 18th Century

“The Houma Indians were apparently the inhabitants of what is now Livingston Parish at the time the first explorations by Europeans occurred.  It is generally conceded that the Houma hunting grounds extended north of the famed "red stick" in Baton Rouge, which divided their lands from that of the neighboring tribe, and that they ranged far to the east, including Livingston Parish as part of their territory. Whether the Tunica Indians, who massacred inhabitants of several Houma villages and drove the remainder of the tribe away from the area, extended their conquest beyond the Amite River is not a matter of available record.”

  • Exploration Era

    • French Explorers

      • Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville

      • Pierre Le Moyne was born in July 1661 at Fort Ville-Marie, now Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the third son[2] of Charles le Moyne de Longueuil et de Châteauguay, a native of Dieppe or of Longueuil near Dieppe, Normandy in France and lord of Longueuil in Canada, and of Catherine Thierry (called Catherine Primot in some sources) from Rouen.[2][4] 

      • He had eleven brothers, most of whom became soldiers. One, Jacques Le Moyne de Sainte-Hélène, led French and Indian forces in the Schenectady massacre in present-day New York's Mohawk Valley. Charles le Moyne de Longueuil, Baron de Longueuil, was governor of Montreal. Another, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne Bienville, founded New Orleans. Jacques and Paul LeMoyne were with him on James Bay, and Joseph LeMoyne was with him in Louisiana.

      • Le Moyne d'Iberville was raised Catholic under the Jesuit order. Parish records indicate that, at the age of 12, he received the religious sacrament of First Communion.[5] D'Iberville received his formal education at a Sulpician seminary, where his academic knowledge was also embedded with religion.[6]

      • Destined for the priesthood, he chose a life of adventure. At the age of 12, he became a cabin boy on his uncle's ship trading to Port Royal, Acadia.

      • Iberville, who grew up in Montreal, was sent to France as a young man to serve in the Navy. While there, the combination of his New World roots and French nationalism nurtured his growing anti-British sentiments. In 1686, the French launched an attack on British military installations around James Bay in Canada. Iberville and his brothers were among those soldiers who made the brutal trek across mountains, waterways and cruel climatic patterns for the offensive attack.. The soldiers hoped to retain control of the region for its wealth of animal pelts. The attack was successful and became the first in a series against British holdings.

      • In 1690, Iberville captured a number of English sailing vessels, and returned to Quebec with prisoners and their stashes of furs. Six years later, the fighting intensified: Iberville battled the British at Acadia, the Bay of Fundy and Fort William Henry. Meanwhile, a battle at Newfoundland nearly ended all British presence in the area.

      • In later years, Iberville turned his efforts to the south, most notably to the southern Mississippi River region. In 1699, he explored the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico and established Fort Maurepas, near present-day Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The following year, he established Fort La Boulaye, near present-day New Orleans. This area would remain under French influence until the Louisiana Purchase negotiated by American President Thomas Jefferson in 1803.

      • Iberville died suddenly in July of 1706 in Havana of an unknown illness, the day prior to a major expedition against the British in Carolina

      •  

  • Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne of Bienville was born in Montreal on February 23, 1680, from the union of Charles Le Moyne and Catherine Primot. Officer in the Navy troops, explorer, governor of Louisiana from 1699 to 1743, he founded the city of New Orleans in 1718. He died in Paris on March 7, 1767.

  • At the age of seventeen, Bienville joined his brother Iberville on an expedition to establish the colony of Louisiana. Bienville explored the Gulf of Mexico coastline, he explored 1699 as far up as into Mobile Bay which was not deep enough to go any further, founded Belle Fontaine they had discovered an artesian spring bubbling and leaping from the beach. This spring is now 300-400 feet out into Mobile Bay. Bienville played a huge role in founding part of the coast line here in Mobile, Alabama. He then went on to discovering the Chandeleur Islands off the coast of Louisiana as well as Cat Island and Ship Island off the coast of what is now the state of Mississippi before moving westward to sail up the mouth of the Mississippi River. Eventually, the expedition ventured all the way to what is now Baton Rouge and False River.

  • Before heading back to France, Iberville established the first settlement of the Louisiana colony, in April 1699 as Fort Maurepas or Old Biloxi (at present-day Ocean Springs, Mississippi), and appointed Sauvolle de la Villantry as the governor with Bienville as Lieutenant.

  • Following Iberville's departure, Bienville took another expedition up the Mississippi River and encountered English ships at what is now known as English Turn. Upon hearing of this encounter on his return, Iberville ordered Bienville to establish a settlement along the Mississippi River at the first solid ground he could find. Fifty miles upriver, Bienville established Fort de la Boulaye.

  • Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville

  • "Lone Star Republic" of West Florida

  •  

    FLORIDA PARISHES
     

  • Those portions of Southeast Louisiana north of the Bayou Manchac-Amite River-Lakes Maurepas-Pontchartrain and -Borgne confluences, south of the Thirty-first degree North latitude, east of the Mississippi and west of the Pearl River are historically identified as the Florida Parishes.

     

    Experiencing over lordship by French, British, Spanish and American military occupiers respectively, the eight modern parishes of East Baton Rouge, West Feliciana, East Feliciana, St. Helena, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Washington and St. Tammany maintain a distinct regional identity linked by geography and a peculiar common history.

     

    Only the Florida Parishes . . .

  • were associated with every major colonial power occupying Louisiana.

  • remained separate and distinct from the original Louisiana Purchase.

  • through an armed insurrection successfully overthrew the existing government and lead to the establishment of an independent nation, the original "Lone Star Republic" of West Florida.

  • For More Information http://www2.latech.edu/~bmagee/louisiana_anthology/texts/arthur/arthur--west_florida.html

  • 19th Century

  • 1800’s

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  • Indians

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  • 1828

  • The original land claims of John Noblet and Alexander Hogue form what is now the older section of Denham Springs, including the first residential and business districts. In 1828, William Denham, a Wilkinson County, Mississippi, native, married Mercy Hogue, the daughter of Alexander Hogue; three months later he purchased the 640 acres (2.6 km2) originally claimed by his father-in-law.[5] Denham purchased the land and a slave for $1,350 - a sum equal to $31,150 in 2019.

  • 1832

  • The Livingston Parish was originally part of the Florida Parishes. The parish was created on February 10, 1832, when the state Legislature split St. Helena Parish in two.

  • Historians differ as to which one, but the parish was definitely named after either Robert or Edward Livingston.

  • William Denham

  • William Denham was born in 1805 in Wilkinson County. He was the son of Hugh and Margaret Denham. They had 12 children including Sarah Denham who later married Robert Benton.

  • In 1828 William married Mercy Hogue in Livingston Parish. William Denham discovered the springs and the town be came known as Denham Springs.

  • Mercy was the  daughter of Alexander Hogue,a Scot who migrated from Georgia.

  • William and Mercy had 8 children when they lived in the area. The 1860 Census lists 2 more children in East Baton Rouge Parish.

  • After 1880 William and Mercy and their 3 youngest children moved to Texas.

  • 1850’s

  • It was in the 1850s that Amite Springs became synonymous with the area that is now Denham Springs

  • 1855

  • On May 1, 1855, Denham sold the Hogue tract to Stamaty Covas of New Orleans for $3,050, and Denham eventually moved to Baton Rouge and to Texas.

  • Apparently during the time Covas owned the Hogue-Denham tract, and before the Civil War, a health resort did flourish at Amite Springs—as the hamlet was known at the time. Several newspaper articles and advertisements survive from that period, which describe the hotel and the facilities which it offered.

  • Following the Civil War, Covas, lost possession of the Hogue-Denham tract when George L. Minton bought it for delinquent taxes of $124.00.

  • Springs Hotel

  • Benton’s Ferry

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  • 1856

  • An article in the Baton Rouge Daily Comet, on June 25, 1856, notes that a bridge of boats had been formed at Benton's Ferry over the Amite River to facilitate travel to Amite Springs.

  • Benton's Ferry was the name of the post office which was established near Amite Springs on January 25, 1856, and named for Robert Benton, its first postmaster and also the operator of the ferry across the Amite.

  • Sarah Denham Benton was married to Robert Benton. She was the sister of William Denham for whom Denham Springs was named

  • Robert Benton

  • Robert was the son of John and Hannah Benton from East Feliciana’

  • When he came to Denham Springs he was a widower with 3 children.

  • He married Sarah Denham and owned and operated a large plantation with a cotton gin, sawmill, commissary and warehouse.

  • He floated his lumber and cotton bales to Mr. Vincent’s port to be floated to New Orleans or to be transported by one of the steamers in the area.

  • He had served in the Mexican War and was called Colonel Benton.

  • He had studied law at Yale University and was an accomplished violinist.

  • Robert Benton Continued

  • Colonel Benton lost three sons in the Civil War which began in 1861.

  • He was captured during a skirmish at Benton Ferry and held as prisoner at the old New Orleans Mint until the end of the war in 1865.

  • During this time the Yankees burned down the plantation and all the out lying buildings, except the small overseers house, because Colonel Benton refused to divulge any  information about the Livingston Parish home guard.

  • After the Civil War the Colonel was elected judge and lived until about 1870.

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  • 1869

  • In 1869, the parish lost territory when Tangipahoa Parish was created.

  • It later gained additional land when Maurepas Island was made part of the parish.

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  • River Transportation

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  • The Alice

  • The Alice was a steamboat which operated on the Amite River between the ports of New Orleans and Port Vincent.

  • An excursion steamer on the Amite River in Louisiana (circa 1895)

  • Post Office

  • In October, 1879, John Sullivan made an application for the establishment of a post office north of the present city limits. The location of the office was given as one mile (1.6 km) south of Beaver Creek and one mile (1.6 km) east of the Amite River on what is now La. Hwy. 1028, or the Old River Road.

  • Three names were considered for the post office - Pine Bluff, Allen Springs and Hill's Springs - with the Post Office Department settling on the latter when it was finally established on January 12, 1880.

  • By at least 1890, John R. Allen had become the postmaster, and the office was moved inside the present city limits.

  • On May 9, 1898, the name of the post office was changed to Denham Springs.

  •  

  • 1882

  • Samaty Covas, the New Orleans businessman, lost possession of the Hogue-Denham tract when George L. Minton bought it for delinquent taxes of $124.00.

  • According to the 1882 act of sale, the land was bounded "east by Chambers, south by Noblet, west by the Amite River, north by Allen, and known as the Denham Springs tract." This points to the fact that although William Denham had moved away nearly 30 years before, his name was still associated with the mineral spring area.

  • Minton, the first mayor of Denham Springs and founder of the Denham Springs News, now the Livingston Parish News, thus received title to much of what is now the downtown section of Denham Springs.

  • Conveyance records at the parish courthouse show that he then began subdividing the tract and selling the lots for residences and businesses. By this time, the large Noblet holdings were also being subdivided and sold to newcomers, and the village that became Denham Springs began to grow.

  • Barataria Gunboat Burns and Sinks in Lake Maurepas

  • Artist Lionel Kabel’s original rendition of the gunboat from a sketch that appeared in an 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly magazine. This beautiful art work hangs in the foyer of Old City Hall in Denham Springs. Donated by Lionel Kabel.

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  • Denham Springs Collegiate Institute

  • Denham Springs Collegiate Institute, was founded by a group or residents in 1895. The Collegiate Institute was located on the site of the Presbyterian Church, on property sold to the private school by George L. Minton.

  • The first buildings included a large meeting hall and a smaller frame structure. The four-year institution was financed by tuition paid by students from Denham Springs and neighboring communities, and the board of directors was able to attract teachers from as far away as Virginia.

  • According to a graduate of the institute, the school was a good one, attracting boarders from miles around. The boarding students may have created more demand for hotels than did invalids visiting the springs, although the hotels did have many guests in the summer.

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  • Denham Springs Collegiate Institute Cont.

  • The tuition for attending the Institute was an average of ten cents per day per child.

  • In 1897 one of the first actions of the newly formed Livingston Parish School Board was to dissolve the Collegiate Institute as a private school and require that non paying students be allowed to attend. Paying students would continue to attend and be reimbursed for the remaining school year.

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  •  

  • 1907

  • 20th Century

  • 1900’s

  • 1902

  • Another reason given for the development of Hill's Springs and Denham Springs in the 1890s and early 20th century prior to the completion of a Baton Rouge to Hammond railroad line was the development of the springs by hotel owners.

  • A New Orleans publication entitled Men and Matters described the so-called health-restoring properties of the spring water in a 1902 article on Denham Springs. Ivy Cockerham and J.B. Easterly built hotels in the area near the present public park on Tabernacle Street, and evidently there were some who believed the springs to be beneficial to a sickly person.

  • Artist

    Lionel Kabel’s

    rendition of Range Avenue in 1915.

  • Artist

    Lionel Kabel’s

    rendition of the new City Hall in 1940.

  • Railroad

  •  

  • Railroad

  • Several factors influenced the growth of Denham Springs after 1900, notably the construction of the railroad line, the growth of Baton Rouge as an industrial center, and the corresponding improvement of roads which made Denham Springs a desirable place for Baton Rouge workers to live.

  • The railroad prompted the gradual movement of businesses toward the present Range Avenue area, and later made Denham Springs the shipping hub of a large truck crop region.

  • The Baton Rouge-Hammond line was completed by the Illinois Central railroad during the first part of February, 1908 and the first train ran on February 26.

  • Denham Springs almost missed being included on the route, however, as the Baton Rouge, Hammond and Eastern Railroad Co., which was later purchased by the IC, at one time considered bypassing the village, perhaps to force some concessions on the local residents' part.

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  • Above is the original depot at Denham Springs built in 1908. It was later replaced or remodeled to include a platform along the eaves used to ice refrigerator cars.

  • 1903

  • George L. Minton was the first mayor (1903) and apparently served until J.M. Smiley was elected in April 1912. Smiley moved from the village later that year and J.O. Brannon was elected mayor in a special election. He got 17 votes and was unopposed.[4]

  • On May 8, 1903, Gov. William W. Heard issued a proclamation incorporating the village of Denham Springs. 

  • 1908

  • Several factors influenced the growth of Denham Springs after 1900, notably the construction of the railroad line, the growth of Baton Rouge as an industrial center, and the corresponding improvement of roads which made Denham Springs a desirable place for Baton Rouge workers to live. The railroad prompted the gradual movement of businesses toward the present Range Avenue area, and later made Denham Springs the shipping hub of a large truck crop region. The Baton Rouge-Hammond line was completed by the Illinois Central railroad during the first part of February, 1908 and the first train ran on February 26. Denham Springs almost missed being included on the route, however, as the Baton Rouge, Hammond and Eastern Railroad Co., which was later purchased by the IC, at one time considered bypassing the village, perhaps to force some concessions on the local residents' part.[4][5]

  • Oar Factory

  •  

  • William F. Brown

  • William F. Brown was born in Texarkana, Arkansas, in 1861 and became interested in the manufacture of boat oars as a young businessman. He worked in oar factories in Texas and Louisiana. By 1908, he had moved to Denham Springs, the same year that the railroad was constructed.

  • Once here, he built his W. F. Brown & Sons’ Oar Company, which was located directly behind the present day Brown Hotel and Café. His plant grew so much that it became the largest of its kind in the south, making him a wealthy man. He contributed substantially to the industrial and commercial development of Denham Springs.

  • With the money he made from his oar company, he set out on other business ventures, including the construction of a hotel on adjacent property. Mr. Brown first bought the property fronting N. Range Avenue in 1918 from Richard Hummell.

  • The property then exchanged hands once more, without any buildings being constructed on the site, until Mr. Brown bought it again in 1927. At that point, he built the only hotel in the area – the Brown Hotel and Café. 

  • 1908

  • About 1908, the board of directors of the Denham Springs Collegiate Institute deeded the property to the public school system, which was coming of age with the construction of consolidated schools, and shortly thereafter, a two-story brick building was erected on the same site.

  • This was the beginning of Denham Springs High School, now the parish's largest senior high school.[5]

  • 1929

  • Governor Huey Long designated Denham Springs as a town on February 5, 1929

  • Amite River 1929

  • 1957

  •  Lt. Gov. Lethar Frazar, standing in for the Kingfish's brother Earl, proclaimed Denham Springs to be a city on September 5, 1957.[4][5]

  •  

  • The construction of good roads and the advent of the automobile, combined with the growth of the petrochemical industry in Baton Rouge, over a period of years led to Denham Springs becoming the so-called "bedroom of Baton Rouge". Denham Springs became the banking and commercial center of Livingston Parish.[4]

  •  

  • Flooding

  • On the Amite River

  • 1993

  • The Denham Springs City Hall was listed in the National Register of Historic Places listings in Louisiana on April 16, 1993.

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  • Bridges

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  • Denham Springs, Louisiana Quick Facts:
     

  • Country, State … City in Louisiana, United States

  • Denham Springs is a city in Livingston Parish, Louisiana, United States.

  • The 2010 census placed the population at 10,215,[3] up from 8,757 at the 2000 census.

  • The city is the largest area of commercial and residential development in Livingston Parish.

  •  As of the 2010 census, Denham Springs and Walker are the only parish municipalities classified as cities.[4]

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  • Created By

  • Jenny Bauer and Jessica Schexnayder

  • Special Thanks to “Denham Springs The Early Years” and Barbara Chaney for her tireless devotion to this community!!

2017 Denham Springs  Main Street