Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Benton Courthouse Ball

The interior of the old Bossier Parish Courthouse at Benton. James M. Henderson, the clerk of court at that time, is seated. Grace Larkin, who would briefly succeed Henderson upon his death is wearing a dark coat. Gladys Thompson is standing next to Grace. Collection ID: 0000.005.019
Bossier Parish Courthouse at Benton C. 1910s
Bob Burford Collection: 1997.070.002

Bossier Parish Courthouse at Benton C. 1910s
Abney Dell Scanland Flynn Collection: 1999.136.046

In 1888, the parish seat for Bossier Parish was moved from Bellevue to Benton. In January of 1892, the Bossier Parish Police Jury entered into a contract for the construction of the new Bossier Parish Courthouse to be built in Benton at the cost of $23,684. This courthouse was the third one in Bossier Parish history, but it was the first one built in the new parish seat of Benton. The lot in which it was built on was donated to the parish for $1. Gibson and Oliff Construction were the builders, and Seaborn H. Young was the brick-maker and building inspector. The courthouse was accepted by the Bossier Parish Police Jury as being completed on May 9, 1893. For the dedication of the new courthouse, a grand ball was given there on June 10, 1893.

The following article describing the ball was published in The Bossier Banner on Thursday, June 15, 1893.

“Last Thursday night, one entering the Court room of our beautiful new Court House, which was brilliantly lighted, was reminded of Hans Anderson’s descriptions of Fairy-Land.”

“Bossier has had many delightful balls and her fame for the elegance of them extends beyond the confines of the parish, but none has been more enjoyed than the one given last Thursday night.”

“The ladies were dressed with such elegance and taste as betoken refinement and culture – their tasty and varied toilets were the admiration of all present. The gentlemen, neatly attired, bore themselves with a grace and gallantry peculiar to our Southern born men.”

“It made the hearts of the old beat in unison with those of the young, to hear the music played in dance measure, and see one couple after another glide through the intricate figures of the different dances. The beauty and grace of our daughters of the South are displayed nowhere to a greater advantage than when rendering homage to Terpsichore.”

“It was a delightful entertainment in every respect, and as such was a charming display of that characteristic hospitality for which our people are celebrated. Everything was properly arranged and this proved to be the most enjoyable affair of the season, long to be remembered by those, who, amid the flow of unity and good cheer, gave substantial evidence of their appreciation of the occasion.”

“It was late when good nights were said and feet were turned homeward, while the unanimous verdict was that it was a complete success.”

People came from as far as Palestine, Texas to attend the grand ball to dedicate the opening of this glorious new courthouse which served as the Bossier Parish Courthouse for the next 79 years. It was 1972 before the fourth and current Bossier Parish Courthouse was built on a 15-acre tract of land that was donated by the James Edward Burt, Sr. estate in honor of their father.

To learn more about the history of the Bossier Parish Courthouse or for a list of those in attendance at the ball, visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center, 2206 Beckett St., Bossier City. Follow us on Facebook at

By: Amy Robertson

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