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State park featuring Civil War-era forts opens in Pineville

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Scott Dearman from the Mansfield State Historic Site explains to visitors at Fort Randolph and Buhlow State Historic Site how a Civil War-era cannon is fired. Dearman fired the cannon during opening ceremonies at the new state park in Pineville on Thursday.

thetowntalk.com

By Jeff Matthews

A “jewel” of local history was unveiled to the public Thursday when the Forts Randolph and Buhlow State Historic Site was officially opened in Pineville.

Several hundred people attended a dedication ceremony Thursday at the site on the Red River in Pineville, which includes a visitor center and a boardwalk running through the remains of the Civil War-era earthen forts.

“I’m so excited this park is opening,” said Stuart Johnson, assistant secretary of the Office of State Parks. “There’s so much history here. Louisiana has such great history, and the Civil War is an important part of that.”

The twin forts were built to defend against a return thrust by Union forces up the Red River Valley, like the one in 1864 that ended with Union armies being defeated at Mansfield and retreating south, burning Alexandria along the way.

The forts were completed in early 1865, but the war ended months later, and they never saw action.

Johnson said the site fits in with the state’s plans to develop “a comprehensive Civil War trail.” He sees it synergizing with sites such as Kent House in Alexandria and Mansfield State Historic Site.

“This museum will be a great contribution to our quality of life here in Central Louisiana,” said Charles Charrier, president of the Historical Association of Central Louisiana. “It makes me feel immensely proud. I know (deceased former Historical Association President) Oberia Price would be extremely proud on this day.”

Price, who died last year, “for over 15 years dreamed and re-dreamed the concept of a museum that this date has become a reality,” Charrier said.

The project, which cost more than $5 million, was funded with money from the state’s capital outlay budget and about $1.4 million from the Red River Waterway Commission.

RRWC member W. Alvin Owens said the site is “a tremendous asset to Central Louisiana” and ties in with the commission’s mission by offering recreational, educational and economic development components.

“This is good for everyone,” said Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields. “This is a jewel placed here for us. Now here’s an opportunity for us, not just Pineville, but Central Louisiana, to take advantage of that jewel. I’m looking forward to the opportunities.”

“We certainly know this will bring great tourism opportunities here, and we appreciate it,” said Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy. “This is going to be another big piece for us.”

Admission was free on Thursday, but normal admission is $4 per person. Seniors (age 62 and over) and children (age 12 and under) get in free.

The site is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

For more information about the site, visit www.lastateparks.com or www.crt.state.la.us/parks/iftsrandbuhlow.aspx; or call 1-888-677-7437 toll-free or (318) 484-2390 locally.

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Written by demon53

November 19, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] posted here:  State park featuring Civil War-era forts opens in Pineville « The … By admin | category: LOUISIANA STATE | tags: assistant-secretary, civil, great-history, […]


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