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Louisiana State University (LSU) at Baton Rouge

The 46 historic buildings on the campus vividly reflect an important period in American architecture.

Louisiana State University
Photo Credit - The Louisiana Office of State Parks


Louisiana State University (LSU) at Baton Rouge is the principal campus of the State University system. The historic campus consists of 46 buildings, with the majority of these dating from the 1920s and 1930s.

Styled in a manner reminiscent of the architecture of the Italian Renaissance, many of the buildings achieve this effect with stucco over masonry construction and similar features. The campus presently rests on its fourth location; its first location in Pineville, Louisiana opened in 1860 and was destroyed by a fire nine years later.

Following the fire, classes moved to the State School for the Deaf and Dumb in Baton Rouge, which also no longer exists. The third move for the University was to the Pentagon Barracks in 1886, which were used as a stronghold by first Confederate then Federal troops in the Civil War.

Finally in 1918 the University purchased Gartness Plantation south of downtown Baton Rouge. Growth of the campus was spurred by the ascension of Huey P. Long to power in 1928. As governor and later U.S. Senator, Long made the growth of LSU a special item of interest, launching a major building campaign which continued through the 1930s.

The 46 historic buildings on the campus vividly reflect an important period in American architecture. The eclectic style they express has its roots in the French Beaux Arts system. This architectural spirit of learnedly imitating the past came to America in the late 19th century; LSU is by far the largest of the dozen or so eclectic complexes in the state, with 43 consistently styled buildings.

The Memorial Tower on campus, built to resemble the historic clock tower at the basilica in Vicenaza, and the Old President's Home, designed in the Victorian Italianate Villa style, are but two examples on campus reflecting this architectural movement The architect who is primarily credited with the design of Louisiana State University's campus is Theodore C. Link, a former student of the Ecole des Beaux Arts.

Louisiana State University campus is located near the intesection of Hwys. 30 and 42 in Baton Rouge, with the historic section lying between Hwy. 30 and University Lake. The campus is open to the public Monday-Friday for tours. For further information, please call 225-388-3202.