ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Sites of St. Francisville, Louisiana
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Historic Sites of St. Francisville, Louisiana
St. Francisville, Louisiana
Rosedown State Historic Site is one of a half-dozen
historic plantation homes around St. Francisville
that are open to the public.
Audubon State Historic Site
Oakley Plantation, where
famed naturalist John James
Audubon once worked, is
near St. Francisville.
Grace Episcopal Church
Completed in 1860 with a
cornerstone laid by Leonidus
Polk, the fighting Bishop, the
church survived cannon fire.
St. Francisville, Louisiana - Historic Sites & Points of Interest
History, Intrigue & Scenic Beauty
Market Hall in St. Francisville
Completed in 1819, Market
Hall was built to regulate the
public sale of produce and
house the magistrate's office.
Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Established as a Spanish monastery during
the years 1773-1785, St. Francisville is one
of the most unique and beautiful small towns
in Louisiana and the South.

Home to fewer than 2,000 people, the town is
the oldest in the Florida Parishes and was
once the capital of an independent nation,
the Republic of West Florida. It is surrounded
by a cluster of beautiful plantation homes, a
number of which are open to the public and
some of which date from the 1700s.

From its beginning as a monastery during
the years of the American Revolution, St.
Francisville developed as a settlement atop a
high ridge overlooking Bayou Sara and the
Mississippi River. The location was ideal for
a river port and the modern town was born in
1809 when John H. Johnson chartered La
Villa de Francisco at the site. The area was
under Spanish control at the time, but the
name has since been Anglicized to St.

The town was born in a time of great turmoil
in the Florida Parishes. Spain then claimed
all of the territory from the Mississippi River
east to present-day Florida and from the 31st
Parallel south to Lake Pontchartrain and the
Gulf of Mexico. The United States disputed
this claim, however, alleging that the region
had been included in the Louisiana
Purchase of 1803.

Local residents and planters took the
situation into their own hands in 1810 when
they declared their independence and rose
up against Spain. St. Francisville was
declared the capital of the new
Republic of
West Florida and revolutionary forces
overwhelmed the Spanish fort at Baton
Rouge and tried to take Mobile, Alabama.

It was as the national flag of the Republic of
West Florida that the famed "Bonnie Blue
Flag" of the South was born. It is made up of
a blue field with a single white star in the
center. St. Francisville was one of the first
places the banner ever flew.

The Republic was short-lived. U.S. President
James Madison annexed the entire expanse
by proclamation on October 27, 1810. Not all
of the leaders of the fledgling country were
happy about it, but the U.S. Army moved in an
occupied the capital of St. Francisville on
December 6, 1810.

The town prospered over the years that
followed and Bayou Sara, on the low ground
below the ridge, turned into the busiest
cotton port between Memphis and New
Orleans. Paddlewheel steamboats nudged
into the navigable bayou and commerce in
the area surged. Some of the most beautiful
plantation homes in the South were built in
and around St. Francisville.

Siege and Battle of Port Hudson took
place just 12 miles south of St. Francisville
during in 1863 and Union forces also shelled
the town itself. On June 12, 1863, however,
St. Francisville became the location of an
unusual event still commemorated today as
"The Day the War Stopped."
West Feliciano Museum
An hardware store from the
late 19th century houses the
museum of the West
Feliciana Historical Society.
Lt. Commander John E. Hart of the gunboat
U.S.S. Albatross killed himself in a delirium
likely caused by fever. Officers of the U.S.
Navy approached St. Francisville under a flag
of truce and asked that Hart be buried with
Masonic ceremonies at
Grace Episcopal
Church. Church leaders and Confederate
commanders agreed and peace reined for a
day in St. Francisville as Hart was laid to rest
with full Masonic honors provided by Masons
from both North and South.
Please click here
for more information on the incident and the
planned commemoration this June.

The community also hosts the annual
Audubon Pilgrimage each March. The event
offers visitors a chance to explore historic
homes and experience the culture of the
historic Florida Parishes.
Please Click here
for information on this year's pilgrimage.

St. Francisville today is a charming historic
town surrounded by an array of antebellum
plantation homes. Among those open to the
public are the Myrtles, said to be the most
haunted house in America; the magnificent
home and gardens at
Rosedown Plantation
State Historic Site, and Oakley house at
Audubon State Historic Site.

Port Hudson State Historic Site, scene of the
major Civil War battle, is on U.S. 61 twelve
miles south of St. Francisville.

The Town of St. Francisville, Louisiana, is
located at the intersection of U.S. 61 and
Louisiana Highway 10, thirty miles north of
Baton Rouge and sixty miles south of
Natchez, Mississippi.
Please click here to
visit the town's official tourism site.
Cannon at Port Hudson
The Battle and Siege of Port
Hudson was fought just 12
miles south of St. Francisville.
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