History of the Town of Carrollton

View the Tulane MPS 2016 Presentation of the Carrollton Courthouse

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Incorporated in 1845, the town of Carrollton was first settled by Europeans during the War of 1812. American troops under the command of General William Carrollton of Tennessee camped in the area during the Battle of New Orleans in 1814-1815. General Carrollton gave his name to the area, which was at the time part of the McCarty Plantation.

Surveyor Charles Zimple laid out the town in 1833 and shortly thereafter the first house was built. The first brick house was not built until 1836. As Carrollton became a popular place to escape from the city life six miles downriver in New Orleans, land speculation drove up property values until the Panic of 1837 hit. By this time, the New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad was running trains back and forth between the two. The railroad company had even established a resort, the Carrollton Gardens, at the westernmost end of what is now St. Charles Avenue. This fashionable resort was a favorite of those looking for an easy, relaxing getaway.

Upon incorporation, John Hampson was elected mayor. The main thoroughfare, Carrollton Avenue—called Canal Street at the time—was laid out the following year in 1846. This shell road was opened to traffic as a turnpike (toll road) in 1847, converted to a plank road in the early 1850s, and paved around the turn of the century. Sidewalks along the road were put in in 1850 and paved in 1871.

As the seat of Jefferson Parish, Carrollton erected a courthouse in 1851. This building on the lot bounded today by S. Carrollton, Maple, Short, and Hampson Streets stood for only a few years. Architect Henry Howard was then commissioned to erect a larger courthouse on the same site. Construction began in 1854 and was completed in 1855.

The town of Carrollton only existed for about thirty years. Though neither party wanted it, annexation of Carrollton to the City of New Orleans in Orleans Parish was granted in 1874 but not complete until 1876. The courthouse in Carrollton was no longer needed to serve its original function. However, it took until 1888 for the building title to be transferred to New Orleans; it had remained in the ownership of Jefferson Parish after Carrollton was dissolved.

Sources:

“History.” Louisiana Landmarks. http://louisianalandmarks.org/history. Accessed 19 October 2015.

Kendall, John. History of New Orleans. Chicago: Lewis Publishing, 1922.

Janssen, James and Waldeman S. Nelson and Co., Inc. “The Town of Carrollton.” In Preservation in Print 12 no. 1, February 1985, 4-5.

McGee, Victor. “The Carrollton Courthouse.” In Preservation in Print 12 no. 1, February 1985, 7.

 

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