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The Old Log Courthouse
The only one of its type & the second oldest courthouse in Louisiana.
The bell was used by the police jury to summon court.
By Act 88 of
1843 DeSoto Parish was created out of Natchitoches and Caddo. The
first meeting of parish officers was at Screamerville. Debate over
the location of the permanent parish seat was settled by purchase of a
quarter-section of land at the present site of Mansfield. Two lots
were dedicated for a courthouse and a jail. The price of the two
buildings was $900.00.Upon completion the log courthouse was accepted
by the Police Jury, August 7, 1843 and first term of court was August 5,
1843. The old log courthouse was lost sometime after it was replaced
by a new building, and was "rediscovered" over 100 years later within the
walls of the old General Ross Hewitt home as it was being demolished.
Realizing the significance of such a find, the
HISTORICAL SOCIETY, INC. endeavored to preserve the historical structure.
A committee spearheaded by the late Eileen Nabors set about the task of raising the necessary funds for the restorations
and preservation of the old courthouse. Through their efforts, over $30,000
was raised. Contractor Dennis Manthei reconstructed the old structure
under the supervision of local historian Raymond Powell. It is now
a museum operated by the DHS located on Polk Street at the courthouse square
mini park. Recently a period stair rail has been added courtesy of Charles
and Louise Odum. Hours are 8:00-4:30 Mon., Tues.,
Thurs., Fri. , 8:00-4:00 Wed. Visitors are encouraged to stop,
take a step back in DeSoto Parish history, and view the artifacts displayed
in the historic structure.
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