Historic Walking Tour 2

Historic Walking Tour After Railroad Track Tour 2

25. Anna Gray Noe Park (251 Oak St.)

Located in the heart of downtown, this beautiful park was named after Anna Gray Noe, once the first lady of Louisiana and wife of former Governor James A. Noe. Dedicated to Mrs. Noe because of her work on local beautification projects and participation in the garden club, the park is an accurate representation of her love for nature and earthly beauty.  It was the former site of the Monroe City High School.

27. Vantage State Building (122 St. John St.)

Built in 1925, the Virginia Hotel boasted three ballrooms, including one on the roof. Guests enjoyed dancing under the stars to the sounds of the big bands of the day.   Social events, such as proms, wedding receptions and conventions were all held there.  A popular destination on Sunday afternoons, the hotel dining room was often full.  The ground floor was home to a variety of retail and service establishments including a coffee shop, barbershop, beauty shop, cigar stand, bar and drug store.  In the late 1960s the State purchased the then closed hotel to serve as the local State Office Facility.  The building is now the home of Vantage Health Plan and was totally restored in 2016.  It is now called the Vantage State Building.

26. First Baptist Church (201 St. John St.)

First Baptist Church was built in 1911. The handsome two-story church is a neo-Palladian style building with the original octagonal dome, columns and pediments. St. Francis opened  July 14, 1913.

28. Ouachita National Bank

The Original Ouachita National Bank opened in 1906 and continued printing money up until its closing in 1933. During those 27 years—a normal lifespan for a national bank—the Ouachita National Bank issued six different types of national currency and moved location three times.

a. 1906 (112 St. John St.)
This beautiful neo-classical limestone temple was the site for the original Ouachita National Bank in 1906. The building now is home to Saint John Pharmacy. 

b. 1920 (130 DeSiard St.)
In 1920, the Ouachita National Bank moved to this location, which is now home to Vantage Health Plan, Inc. The eleven-story brick and limestone building has the words Ouachita National Bank inscribed above the second story and has colossal Doric pilasters on the top and bottom floors.

c. 1925 (141 DeSiard St.)
The bank moved for a third time in 1925 to this eight story Chicago style brick office building. Now it is home to the 141 Lofts.

29. 141 Lofts (141 DeSiard St.)

Located in the heart of downtown, this beautiful park was named after Anna Gray Noe, once the first lady of Louisiana and wife of former Governor James A. Noe. Dedicated to Mrs. Noe because of her work on local beautification projects and participation in the garden club, the park is an accurate representation of her love for nature and earthly beauty.  It was the former site of the Monroe City High School.

31. Central Bank and Trust Building

This building was completed in 1925. In 1927, Delta Airlines was created in the bank’s boardroom. Since the establishment of Delta Airlines, the annual stockholders meetings were held in the “Delta board room” until July, 1999. Because of the influence of Delta Airlines, the table in the boardroom was made to resemble an airplane wing. In 2009, Vantage Health Plan bought the building and restored it.

30. The Palace (220 DeSiard St.)

In 1924, the six floor Palace Department store was built. For over 50 years, it brought customers from all over Northeast Louisiana to shop for anything they needed. Portico Church bought the Palace in 2009 for the purpose of giving back to downtown and bringing life back to the grand building

32. Frances Tower (300 Harrison St.)

This gorgeous, eleven-story modernistic skyscraper was built in 1934. Hotel Frances, as it was then known, was designed as a terra-cotta Modernistic building with vertical shafts between the windows, roof finials, and an elaborate two-stage water tower on the roof. Converted into a living center for senior citizens, the Tower features a lobby that transports one back to the 1930s.

33. St. Matthew’s Catholic Church & Rectory (121 Jackson St.)

St. Matthew’s was founded in 1851 in a small community. The town struggled for a small period of time before growing in the late 19th century. In 1897, the construction of the church began on one of the oldest churches in Monroe. With a large frontal tower that echoes those in Europe and a mid-Victorian gothic revival feel, this beautiful Catholic Church is unique to Monroe. The church is befittingly famous for its dramatic arched ceilings hand painted by Glen Kennedy and dubbed The Blue Heavens. Come and see this downtown gem with painted ceilings, unique woodwork and stunning stained glass windows. 

Mass held: Tuesday through Friday: 7 a.m. Saturday: 4 p.m. Sunday: 8 a.m.stmatthewofmonroe.com

 

35. Mural on 428 DeSiard (428 DeSiard St.)

Based off an original painting by local artist Nicholas Bustamante titled Finding Home, the mural explores the beauty of Louisiana by referencing images of Louisiana. Specifically, it references images of Black Bayou and celebrates the rich culture of the region.

34. United States Courthouse & Post Office (201 Jackson St.)

This United States Courthouse and Post Office was built in 1932. The three-story Modernistic building houses a post office on the ground floor, marble facing, fluted window slits, and decorative teas relief located between the windows on the first and second floors.

SOUTH OF DOWNTOWN (Tour 3)

36. Cooley House (1011 S. Grand St.)

During the late 19th and early 20th century, Prairie School architecture was all the rage. With roots leading back to Chicago, it became a common style found all throughout the Midwest. The Cooley House was designed by internationally acclaimed architect Walter Burley Griffin in 1908, but wasn’t built until 1925. One of the last surviving examples of Prairie School architecture in the south, the Cooley House is Griffin’s last structure to be completed in the United States. The house features the horizontal lines, hipped roof and windows assembled in horizontal bands that deem it a Prairie School. Now a museum, visitors can see the original central vacuum system, central steam heating, incinerator, steam shower, sunken tub and cork flooring the house was designed with in 1908. http://www.cooleyhouse.org/history.php

38. Masur Museum (1400 S. Grand St.)

This Tudor style estate was built in 1929 by Clarence Edward Slagle for his wife Mabel. Acquired by the Masur family in the 1930s, the house was inhabited until the early 60’s. The Masur children donated the house to the City of Monroe with the intention of it becoming a fine art museum. With the help of the city and the Twin City Art Foundation, the home became the Masur Museum of Art. The Museum features dozens of artists from all over the country working with different mediums and styles. Its hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 12 – 5 p.m. http://www.masurmuseum.org/

37. Layton Castle (1133 S. Grand St.)

IOriginally built in 1814 as a two-story plantation home by Judge Henry Bry, the façade underwent a dramatic change in 1910. The house was expanded in the late 19th century by Bry’s daughter Melinda and her husband Robert Layton. It wasn’t until 1910 when their son’s widow—after spending several years in Europe—began the extensive makeover that is visible today. Inspired by European architecture, Eugenia designed a red tile roof, two-story-high arches and the stunning round tower at the corner of the building. Though the ground floor is now divided into apartments, this unconventional castle can be reserved for group tours, weddings and special events.

39. Thomas Leigh House 1401 S. Grand St.

This Bungalow Style house was built in 1940. The style traits feature group windows, an asymmetrical front with various wings and no porch.

 

40. The Bancroft House (1200 St. John Dr.)

Built by Thomas Ovartree Bancroft in 1927, this Neoclassical style house features grand classical columns; a majestic full height porch; symmetrical windows; and the original arch, called a curved transom, above the front door.

42. Julia Wossman House (1205 St. John Dr.)

One of the oldest homes in the neighborhood, with the exception of Layton Castle, the Julia Wossman house is circa 1890. It’s a Queen Anne style, with traits including an irregular shaped roof, bracket trim on the half porch and cutaway bay windows.

41. Herbert Land Sr. Hs. 1204 St. John Dr.

This unusual house is beautiful, if not out of place in the south. Built in 1927, it has all the characteristics of a Spanish Eclectic building with it's low pitched roof with traditional red tiles, asymmetrical stucco facade, arched wall, and a balcony that doubles as a door cover.

43. Governor Luther Hall House (1515 Jackson St.)

Designed by one of Monroe’s most outstanding architects, William Drago, the Hall House was built in 1906 for Luther E. Hall and his family. The family lived there until 1912, when Hall was elected Governor of Louisiana. Featuring aspects of Georgian Revival, Beaux Arts Classicism and Queen Anne detail; the two-story home is a mishmash of design that makes it unique. The home was entered into the National Register of Historic places in 1979, and a full restoration was completed in 1994. The house is now home to The Wellspring, a non-profit organization centered on strengthening and valuing individuals and families through professional services and community leadership with compassion and integrity.