Centenary College stands as a monument to Louisiana's education,
being one of four major state Church schools existing prior
to 1860. The other three colleges were the College of St.
Charles at Grand Coteau, the College of the Immaculate Conception
at New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mount Lebanon University at
Mount Lebanon. Centenary College, founded in 1839, had first
been located in Clinton, Mississippi, then in Brandon Springs,
Mississippi, before removing to Jackson in 1845. When Centenary
College moved to Jackson in 1845 from Brandon Springs, Mississippi,
it took over the physical plant of the College of Louisiana,
which was being discontinued.
The East Wing at Centenary College was designed by a Captain
Dalafield of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and built in
1832-33. The West Wing was built in 1837 as a duplicate of
the East Wing. In 1857, at a cost of sixty thousand dollars,
a large central building located between the two wings was
erected, containing a sizable auditorium, library rooms and
Although its former campus was a 3-building complex, now
only the West Wing of the main building remains along with
the "professor's house," as it was once known to
students. The West Wing is two stories high, one room deep,
with a two-story free standing colonnade encompassing the
south front and east and west ends. Each floor was divided
into 12 rooms, each with a front window and two rear windows.
Chimneys were set between each pair of rooms, an arrangement
that was later modified.
Centenary College, then proclaimed as a "church school,"
was the perfect replacement for The College of Louisiana.
Unlike The College of Louisiana, Centenary College upheld
a thriving record of enrolling students until the semester
just before the Civil War. During the war, its buildings were
used as a military hospital and to house Confederate troops.
Consequently, it was during this time that the Greek Revival
buildings of the school were considerably damaged. After the
war, the college's fortunes declined, and in 1906 the trustees
of the college and officials of the Methodist Church accepted
the offer of a 40-acre site in Shreveport, and Centenary College
moved to its present location.
Centenary College is located off Hwy 10 at E. College and
Pine Sts. in Jackson. Operated by Louisiana State Parks, the
Centenary College Commemorative Area is open daily 9:00am
to 5:00pm, there is a fee for admission. Call 1-888-677-2364
for further information or visit the park's website.