Wednesday, December 12, 2018


The October 21, 1948 edition of The Planters Press reminded its readers of how Barksdale Air Force Base got its name.

“The name of Barksdale Air Force Base came from a World War I ace, Lieut. Eugene Hoy Barksdale of Rankin County, Miss., who lost his life in 1926 while testing an army plane at Dayton, Ohio.”

“He did not have to take the risk himself, but it was characteristic of the distinguished flier never to ask another to face danger which he himself would not face.”

“His life sized portrait is in the officers’ club at the base, some of the material for the painter’s use having come from word picture by Gen. Jerry Brandt, now retired, but once commanding officer of Barksdale Air Force Base, who was a buddy of Lieutenant Barksdale in the first world conflict.”

“Born at Goshen Springs, Miss., Lieutenant Barksdale flew with the British Royal Air Force during the First World War and participated in the Sommes, Amiens and Cambral offensives.”

“He died Aug. 11, 1926, when the parachute became entangled in the rear flying brace wires of an airplane from which he had been forced to jump. His grave is in Arlington Cemetery.”

“Located in Bossier Parish, three and one-half miles from Shreveport, Barksdale Air Force Base consists 20,886 acres which was donated to the United States government by the city of Shreveport. The reservation is nine and one-half miles long and 5 miles wide.”

“The base was officially dedicated Feb. 2, 1933 when 131 visiting planes landed on the new runways for the ceremonies.”

“The property was acquired by the city at a gross expense of approximately $1,650,000. Many months were required to acquire the 135 tracts in the site from 800 individual owners.”

“From 900 to 1,100 men, primarily from Shreveport, were employed at the height of the building period during June, July and August, 1933. Of the initial $3,500,000 invested, $1,400,000 was spent for labor.”

“The buildings are of French Colonial design and those of a large and public labor are fireproof. The homes of officers and non-commissioned officers are of hollow tile covered with tinted stucco.”

To find out more about Barksdale Air Force Base’s exciting history visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center.

By: Ann Middleton

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

This Month In Bossier Parish History

December: Through the Years
Dec. 1, 1945: The Times: Sawed-off shotgun and nine loaded shells were taken from Henry Methvin, one-time companion of Clyde Barrow of Bonnie and Clyde, following his arrest at a Bossier Night club.  The night before he was arrested in another Bossier night club for fighting.

The Times: Dec. 1, 1945 Image of the shotgun and shells taken from Henry Methvin. 

The Times: March 18, 1945 Henry Methvin goes on trial for the murder of an Oklahoma Officer. 

The Times: Sept. 21, 1935 Henry Methvin granted pardon for betraying Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. 

Dec. 6, 1888: Pioneer High School's laying of cornerstone ceremony.

Bossier Banner: Laying of the Pioneer High School's cornerstone took place in Plain Dealing.  Dec. 19, 1888.

Plain Dealing School opened on January 1, 1889.  Was divided into primary, intermediate, and high school departments: divided into primary, intermediate, and high school. The school seems to have been opened on the 6th day of January, 1889. This date is fixed upon by an entry in a diary kept by the late Hon. L. T. Sanders, which stated; "Janie went to school this morning".
Original photo of Pioneer High School established c.1888
2018.010.050  Wilton and Mary Corley

Cornerstone of Pioneer High School dated 1888. Stone block from Pioneer High School, engraved with: "Pioneer High School/ Constructed Dec. 19th A.D. 1888/ SJ Zeigler JE Johnston} Founders"
1998.086.001   Plain dealing High School Collection

Dec.12, 1929: James Rodgers from Plain Dealing submits his "Dear Santa" letter to The Plain Dealing Progress. 

James Rodgers' Dear Santa Letter

Second grade class of Mrs. Bessie Caldwell, 1923 Plain Dealing.
Maurice  McCall Collection    

Dec. 17, 1954: Bossier High School’s Christmas Tree was filled with the “White Christmas Plan” where students collected food, clothing and toys to distribute to families in the community.

The Times: Bossier High School students surrounded by presents that where collected for the community. 

Emmett Cope, principal: 
1954 Bossier High School Yearbook. 


Bennett McDowell: 
1954 Bossier High Yearbook  pg. 31

Margie Smith: 
1954 Bossier High School Yearbook pg. 32

Dec. 25, 2018    
Happy Holidays!
from the Bossier Parish Libraries Historical Center

Christmas card addressed to Mr. Harry C. Edwards
2009.044.116 Jeannine Beekman Collection


3rd Attack Group A-12 Planes in 1935
Eunice DeField collection: 2002.027.009
The Planters Press issue for February 28, 1935 announced that Barksdale Field was the best air  defense base in the United States.

“Bossier City is now the home of one of the leading aerial defense bases of the entire nation.  This became a fact yesterday when the remaining three planes and about 300 officers and enlisted men arrived at the Field from Fort Crockett, Texas.”

“Col. Gerald C. Brant, new Barksdale Field and Third Wing Commander, with his wife, arrived in Bossier City Tuesday.  Although his official duties begin March 2d, he is expected to begin organizing his staff at once.”

“Forty planes arrived at Barksdale Field from Fort Crockett several days ago.  The Third Wing’s motor transport left Galveston early yesterday.  Approximately 150 enlisted men made the trip from Galveston to Barksdale Field aboard a troup [sic] train, and 135 men accompanied the motor convoy.  Some 205 enlisted men and officers made the trip here by private automobiles.”

“It is understood that Major Millard F. Harmon will be retained on the staff as commander of the Twentieth Pursuit Group.  Major Earl Naiden, in all probability, will have the title of Group Commander.  Orders were issued Tuesday by the War Department for the removal of Lieutenant William P. Sloan from Luke Field, territory of Hawaii, and First Lieutenant Nelie J. Coultee from Allbrooks Field, Balboa, Canal Zone, to Barksdale Field.”
Bossier Parish Library History Center Collection: 2001.007.161

“Barksdale Field is the largest airport in the world, embracing some 22,000 acres.  Its buildings are magnificent and it is an ideal field for training the air men of the nation.  It is a source of gratification to residents of Bossier City to know that the personnel at the Field have been credited in the manner which the Field merits.”
Barksdale Field 1935
Neil Yarborough collection: 2006.034.028-1

To learn more about how Barksdale Field became Barksdale Air Force Base, visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center.

By: Ann Middleton

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Aerial view of Barksdale Field 1934
Eunice DeField collection; 2002.027.003
The Plain Dealing Progress announced in its November 1, 1934 issue a daring air show that was scheduled to take place at Barksdale Field on Sunday, November 4, 1934.

“The army air corps’ most daring formation flyers have been given permission to demonstrate tricky close formation flying at Barksdale Field in the charity air show to be staged Nov. 4 it was announced Wednesday by Captain Oliver Gothlin, operations officer in charge of the program.”

“They are Captain Claire Chenault, Lieut. Heywood Hansell, Jr., and Private ‘Red’ Williams, all stationed at the air corps tactical school at Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Ala.”

“Captain Chenault is the leader of the skilled army trio. Daring maneuvers have been demonstrated by them at many of the leading airshows, including the recent Shushan dedication in New Orleans.”

“Piloting three small pursuit planes of the same type as those stationed at Barksdale Field, the three flyers will put their ships through a dozen or more daring maneuvers, flying within arm’s length of each other. Captain Chenault, Lieutenant Hansell and Private Williams have been flying together for the last several years, the enlisted pilot formerly holding a reserve officer’s commission.”

“Besides the thrilling event of these flyers, many other interesting events have been planned to make the air show the most complete military demonstration ever seen in Louisiana. More than 65 army planes will be seen in mass formation, simulated attacks by pursuit on enemy bombardment, aerial gunnery, bombing and trick flying.”

“Proceeds from a small admission charge to the field’s paved hanger way will be divided among the community fund of Shreveport and Caddo Parish and the army relief fund. Special permission from the war department has been obtained for the demonstration.”

Established in 1932, Barksdale Field became Barksdale Air Force Base in 1948, concurrent with the establishment of the United States Air Force as a separate military branch.

To learn more about the growth and development of Barksdale Air Force Base visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center.

And remember to mark your calendars and join us for our Holiday Open House on Friday, December 7, 2018 from 1:00-3:00 PM at 2206 Beckett Street.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


Plain Dealing High School 60th Anniversary Birthday Calendar
Mary Rodgers Liberto Collection:2003.035.018
The December 1, 1949, issue of The Plain Dealing Progress urged residents to purchase an unusual calendar.

“In every home in this area it is expected that there will be found one of the 1949, 60th anniversary birthday calendars of the Plain Dealing High School. This calendar contains 1,600 names of your friends and acquaintances, with the month and day of their birth, besides a page containing the names of all those who gave their lives in the great World War II. This list will be found on the June month and is meant to be a permanent record.”

“At once, it should be known that this calendar is what it is called—an anniversary-birthday calendar, and is in no sense to be confused with the usual annual timetable calendars. It should be definitely borne in mind by all that no sheet is to be torn off, as in ordinary calendars. The whole arrangement is planned that even ten years from now you will have the calendar with every month of the year 1949 in it with the birthdays intact.”

“The school had its first year in 1889 and 1949 is the 60th anniversary of that date. So to have made a 1950 calendar would have been entirely out of line for future records. The cornerstone was laid in December 1888, which means that 1889 was the first school year.”

“A unique feature in this calendar is the staggered arrangement. The 1000 copies are divided into 12 groups, one-twelfth starting with January, each other group starting with February, and down the line. In this way, if your name is found, say in July, or any other month, you can select one with that month on the first sheet. This also gives each advertiser the same favor that any other has.”

“The calendars will be in charge of the local school and future announcements will come from there. Now they can get the calendar by the payment of 50 cents.”

“Please remember that no month sheet is to be torn off. It is not at all to be used as a day of the month reference, but as a birthday reference and a 60th anniversary memorial—1889-1949. It is by far the most complete calendar record we have seen and every home should have one.”

To see a copy of this special calendar, visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center.

By: Ann Middleton