Historic Walking Tour
Before the Tracks – Tour one
1. The Gunby House – 1705 No. 3rd St.
This 1855 Greek Revival Style house, which moved from Bry District, illustrates the traits of this type of architecture. The house has a low pitch roof, full gallery, square columns, front door with narrow sidelights, and a transom. This house was owned by Andrew Augustus Gunby who was a judge for the Louisiana Court of Appeals from 1881 until 1892.
3. Cemetery of Congregation B’nai Israel -180 Manassas St.
This cemetery has been around since the Civil War. The earliest recorded burial was in 1861. Mayor Arnold Bernstein is buried in this cemetery. He was mayor of Monroe from 1918 to 1937. He died from a heart attack while in office. During his administration, the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo was founded, and the Monroe school system started with one school and increased to six! The Temple B’nai Israel and the Jewish Community of Monroe continue to use this cemetery as a burial ground.
2. St. Mathew’s Cemetery – 1207 Washington St.
4. Neat /nēt/ Mural – 515 N. 3rd St.
5. Tipitina’s – 502 N. 2nd St.
Tipitina’s began in 1977 in New Orleans by a group of music fans hoping to provide musicians with a local place to perform. The venue was named after pianist, composer and performer Professor Longair’s famous recording “Tipitina.” Now sponsoring musical Co-Ops throughout the state, Tipitina’s continues to provide up-and-coming artists with a place to perform, an involved audience, and the magic of music from New Orleans.
7. The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum – 323 Walnut St.
The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum is a hands-on learning place where parents and children alike can enjoy a fun-filled family experience. The museum hosts a variety of family-focused events throughout the year, along with birthday parties, school field trips, outreach programs and Santa’s Christmas Village. So, grab your kids and head to the BIG purple box of fun in downtown Monroe. Hours are Tuesdays-Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the summer, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 per person for ages 1 and up. Group rates are available.
6. Warehouse No. 1 – 1 Olive St.
8. Chef Hans Mural – 310 Walnut St.
9. PostCard Mural (309 Walnut)
This is the Monroe portion of the postcard mural project; its match is in West Monroe. The paintings depict different scenes of Monroe and West Monroe. These wonderful works were created by ARROW Public Art and were completed in the summer of 2017.
11. SQ’s (209 Walnut St.)
10. Ouachita Coca-Cola Bottling and Candy Co. Mural
Joseph Biedenharn is well known in the South as the first person to bottle Coca-Cola, which was originally bottled in Vicksburg, Mississippi in the summer of 1894, at his wholesale candy company. Biedenharn moved his manufacturing and bottling operations to Monroe in 1913. Though no longer in operation, locals and visitors can still see the faint words Wholesale Ouachita Candy Co. imprinted on the brick out front. You can find a stunning Coca-Cola mural located on the southern wall.
12. Morning Star Sculpture (Corner of N. 3rd & DeSiard Sts.)
After RailRoad Tracks (Tour2)
13. Southern Hardware (108 Walnut St.)
This Southern Hardware store has a history that belies its newer façade. The Marx family founded the company in 1889 across from what was then the original railway station (where the parking lot of the Monroe Chamber offices are). A couple years later, the store became the Sugar Opera House. In the 1920s, the movie theatre moved to the Paramount on DeSiard Street. Southern Hardware became well-known to locals and visitor as the corner of South Grand. This spot was famous for gambling and “red light” activities. Though no longer a brothel, the owners still have a couple of brothel coins as tokens. There are future plans to renovate this old hardware store into a hotel and event center.
15. Austin’s by the River (100 S. Grand St.)
Also an 1890s Italianate commercial building, Austin’s by the River features a stuccoed rock face stone patterned with arches. The original windows were replaced with the stained glass ones present today. A popular special event center, Austin’s is capable of hosting weddings, receptions, parties, trade shows or business meetings. The attached courtyard provides a lovely backdrop for any pictures. http://austins-by-the-river.com
14. Restaurant Cotton (101 N. Grand St.)
16. Henry Bry Park (110 DeSiard St.)
17. Old Monroe Hotel (223 S. Grand St.)
Built in 1900, this three-story Italianate stuccoed commercial building contains the same popular shallow window arches as its neighbors, but differs in its small central gable parapet located above the third door. Originally the Old Monroe Hotel, the building was bought by the Kidd family in 1978. It has now become a favorite downtown building known for its brightly colored doors and history.
19. Ouachita Parish Courthouse (301 S. Grand St.)
This building was originally intended as the parish courthouse, but now houses the District Court Probation Office, Clerk of Court and Ouachita Parish Court Reporters as well as holding court Built in 1924, the four-story neo-classical structure features imposing columns and limestone facing. The wings were seamlessly added in 1950 while keeping the existing history in mind.
18. Riverscape (223 S. Grand St.)
20. RiverWalk/RiverMarket (316 S. Grand St.)
21. Fort Miro Monument (beside the Origin Bank RiverWalk) (S. Grand St.)
Going back to the very roots of Monroe, Fort Miro was finished in February of 1791 with the sole purpose of protecting early settlers from the Choctaw, Ouachita and Natchez Indian attacks. Fort Miro was primarily used by women and children of the area since the men would have to travel several miles away to hunt and fish for the colony. Named Miro after one of the Spanish governors, the Fort was sold to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The site of downtown Monroe is more-or-less the location of the old Fort.
23. Ouachita Grand Plaza (501 S. Grand St.)
Located across from the RiverWalk and Ouachita River, the Ouachita Grand Plaza is a historical 1924 building unique with its Jacobean brick style and cement trim. Once the home of Ouachita Parish High School, it has expansive windows, breathtaking views, soaring ceilings and hallways lined with antiques showcasing the Plaza’s historic past. Now converted into a retirement home, residents and guests can enjoy the beautifully landscaped gardens and an enclosed courtyard in addition to the stunning architecture.
22. Jack Hayes Memorial Monument (beside RiverWalk) (S. Grand St.)
24. Arrow Public Art (520 S. Grand St.)