HISTORICAL CAMPUS SITES

Normal Hill, the oldest part of the Northwestern campus, is the longest continuously occupied site in Louisiana for higher education.  As the college grew and the campus expanded, many historic events have happened and been documented by various plaques and markers.   This collection presents them along with descriptive materials on their origins and importance.

Colonial Gateway Corral

 

Metal plaque installed on the Northwestern campus April 11, 1970 by the Louisiana Tourism Commission:

 

FIRST SIGHTED BY ST. DENIS AND

BIENVILLE IN 1700, THIS HILL WAS

LATER ST.DENIS’ VACHERIE. HERE

THREE PATHS MET. FROM THE SPANISH

WEST CAME CATTLE AND HORSES;

EASTWARD WERE HIS HOME AND THE

ROUTE OF FLATBOATS TO NEW ORLEANS.

A ROAD WOUND NORTH TO THE FORT.

 

The plaque was dedicated April 11, 1970 by the Natchitoches Chapter

Colonial Dames XVII Century

Alumni Plaza

 

ESTABLISHED 2006

 

THE ALUMNI PLAZA WAS ESTABLISHED AS A PERMANENT TRIBUTE TO THOSE PATHS WHO LED THEM TO AND THROUGH NORTHWESTERN. CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ALUMNI AND FRIENDS MADE IT POSSIBLE TO PROVIDE THIS COMMEMORATIVE AREA FOR MEN AND WOMEN WHOSE LIVES HAVE BEEN TOUCHED AND ENRICHED BY THIS GREAT UNIVERSITY.

 

RANDALL J. WEBB, PRESIDENT

NSU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

NSU FOUNDATION

 

Dedicated October 27, 2006

Conception: William E. Brent | Design: Larry Richards AIA/IA

Memory of Rebel Hall

 

DEDICATED TO THE

MEMORY OF REBEL HALL

SO WARMLY REMEMBERED BY ITS

RESIDENTS, WHO ENJOYED SUCH

CAREFREE DAYS AND LASTING

FRIENDSHIPS.

AS OTHERS READ THIS PLAQUE, MAY

THEY ALSO BE REMINDED THAT

UPON THIS LOCATION, THE LEGACY

OF NORTHWESTERN WAS PASSED ON TO THOSE THAT FOLLOW.

 

OCTOBER 22, 1994

Centennial Plaque

 

Bronze place dedicated on October 6,1984 as part of the Centennial Celebration of Northwestern State University. The base was constructed of bricks from the Caldwell Hall, the oldest building on the campus when it burned in 1982. The base was donated by the Interfraternity Council and is noted on an attached plaque.

 

THE CENTENNIAL PLAQUE

1884-1984

THE CENTENNIAL OF NORTHWESTERN STATE

UNIVERSITY WAS COMMEMORATED BY THE

INSTALLATION OF THIS PLAQUE ON

OCTOBER 6, 1984, THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY

OF THE CHARTERING OF THE INSTITUTION

 

The base is constructed of bricks from Caldwell Hall, built in 1906, which at the time of its destruction by fire in 1982 was the oldest building on the campus.

 

Plaque on base reads:

 

BASE PRESENTED BY

1984

INTERFRATERNITY COUNCIL

Sibley Drive Plaque

 

Plaque dedicated in 1947 naming Sibley Drive in honor of Sam J. Sibley.

 

SIBLEY DRIVE

HONORING

SAM J. SIBLEY

WHO SERVED

NORTHWESTERN

STATE COLLEGE

OF LOUISIANA

THROUGH THE YEARS

1920 – 1947

Freedom Tree

 

Plaque dedicated during the Vietnam War to prisoners of war and missing in action and placed at the base of a live oak on the campus.

 

THE FREEDOM TREE

WITH THE VISION OF UNIVERSAL FREEDOM

FOR ALL MANKIND

THIS TREE IS DEDICATED TO

THE POW/ MIA’S OF LOUISIANA

AND ALL

PRISONERS OF WAR

AND

MISSING IN ACTION

1973

Normal Hill Plaque

 

Poem written by Dr. Ralph Ropp in 1940 about Normal Hill, the original site of Louisiana State Normal School, later to become Northwestern State University.

 

OLD NORMAL HILL

THERE’S A LONG WINDING ROAD WE CAN GO

ON THE WAY UP TO OLD NORMAL HILL

A ROAD THAT WAS CROWDED LONG AGO

THERE ARE THOUSANDS WHO FOLLOW IT STILL.

 

THERE IS A BANNER OF PURPLE AND WHITE

WE PROUDLY HOLD UP ABOVE

THERE’S A FIELD WHERE THE BRAVE DEMONS FIGHT

TO GLORIFY SOMETHING THEY LOVE.

 

THERE’S A POTPOURRI FILLED WITH FACES

OF FRIENDS WHO HAVE COME AND GONE

THERE ARE MEMORIES OF DEAR OLD PLACES

THAT LINGER AS THE YEARS ROLL ON.

 

THEN HERE’S TO THE PURPLE AND WHITE

AND HERE’S TO THE DEMONS SO TRUE

MAY THE YEARS EVER BRIGHTEN THE LIGHT

ON THESE MEMORIES FOR ME AND FOR YOU.

 

Written in 1940 by Dr. Ralph L. Ropp

Professor English and Speech; Debate Coach

1926-1949

The Columns

 

The columns were once part of the Bullard Mansion, built in 1832 and demolished in 1904. The Bullard Mansion was the first building at the State Normal School, and the three standing columns that commemorate it have been adopted as the official symbol of Northwestern State University.

 

REMNANTS OF

THE BULLARD MANSION.

 

AS EARLY AS 1856 THE BUILDING

WAS USED AS A CONVENT.

SINCE 1884 TRADITIONAL TO

NORTHWESTERN STATE COLLEGE.

 

PRESENTED BY

CLASS OF 1950-51

St. Denis Homesite

 

Plaque mounted on rock at the top of Normal Hill. The site was on the right front side of Caldwell Hall, built in 1905 and destroyed by fire in 1982.

 

SITE OF THE HOME OF

ST. DENIS

MARKED BY SUMMER CLASS

1928

 

During the early days of the settlement of the United States, Louisiana consisted of the land between Canada and Mexico, bounded on the east by Carolina.

 

The French, who then owned Louisiana, had heard that the Spaniards from Mexico intended on taking possession of this region.   To prevent Spanish interference, in 1714 Lamothe Cadillac, governor of Louisiana, sent Juchereau de St. Denis, a dashing adventurer, with a band of Canadian Indians, to place a garrison at Natchitoches.  The was the first permanent settlement within the present limits of Louisiana.

 

St. Denis, who had not yet satisfied his longings for risk and daring, set out with a few companions into Mexico to see the possibilities of development of trade with that province.  Spanish authorities had refused to allow French agents to enter Mexico; consequently, St. Denis was seized and sent to Mexico City and finally allowed to return to Mobile, after two years’ absence.

 

On a map of Natchitoches, the old French post was noted with a spot marked “habitation.”  This spot corresponds almost exactly to the location found by surveyors who drew lines along the river and in Natchitoches to determine the site of St. Denis’ home.  This was considered sufficient proof, and a rock was placed on the spot under the arbor in front of Caldwell Hall to mark the place where once lived the man who led such an adventurous life; who, in an effort to protect his country’s interests, established a post, the oldest city in the Louisiana Purchase.   We are proud of the rock that reminds us of St. Denis, founder of Natchitoches.

 

Potpourri -- 1929

© 2014 Traditions of Northwestern State University of Louisiana