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About this collection

 

Baton Rouge experienced the onset of rapid growth in the post-World War II years: a number of housing developments were built, in one case as a result of modified war-era pre-fabricated building production facilities; businesses expanded on their existing sites or built new sites; new public, private, and parochial schools rose, and; a new public hospital went up.


Baton Rouge photographer Fonville Winans shot at least thirteen rolls of 35mm black & white film in 1947 between the months of February and June, inclusive, from his small private airplane. Information in his shot log indicates he intended to sell copies of the images to businesses documented in the images. Fonville noted in the shot log which images sold and which did not, though we have no definitive proof if these notations are complete.

This digital collection consists of two series. The first series  is six (6) two-sided ledger book pages listing each of twelve (12) flights with some additional information associated with each frame of the roll of film shot during that flight. Every frame does not necessarily have an associated identification. One additional roll of aerial photographs not listed in the shot log is included in this collection.

The second series contains a total of four hundred fifty seven (457) digital reproductions of the 35mm black & white exposures created during the flights listed above. A small number of the original exposures were unusable.

For the most part, Fonville flew along the most developed streets in Baton Rouge such as Plank Road, Scenic Highway, Choctaw Street, Florida Street, and Florida Boulevard. He occasionally flew over and photographed areas that were being developed in 1947, such as the Melrose Subdivision – just north of Florida Boulevard and east of North Foster Drive – and the area near the intersection of Florida Boulevard and Airline Highway, which, in 1947, was an “open” area on the verge of development. One roll is entirely devoted to images of the current Louisiana State University campus and vicinity.

There are no physical, positive prints of these negatives.

Of particular note is the Crawford Homes development in Delmont Place. W. Hamilton Crawford arrived in Baton Rouge in 1941 to start a company that made prefabricated barracks and hospitals for the U. S. war effort.  Following the war, Crawford turned to developing pre-fabricated home subdivisions in Louisiana and elsewhere. Delmont Place is located less than 1 mile southwest of the intersection of Airline Highway and Plank Road bounded by Riley Street (north), Plank Road (east), Shelly Street (south) and, Douglas Avenue (west).

Additional new housing developments pictured within this collection are: the Concrete House Project in the Belfair Homes subdivision bounded by Choctaw Drive (north), Martin Avenue (east), Washington Avenue (south), and North 38th Street (west), and; Rittiner Drive housing project built between McGrath Avenue (north), Eugene Street (east), Myrtle Avenue (south), and St Rose Avenue (west). Olive Street and Rittiner Drive pass through the quadrangle described by the streets named above.

The campus of Louisiana State University, seeing an influx of World War Two veterans utilizing the benefits of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (commonly known as the GI Bill of Rights), put up war surplus “hutments” just off campus on Nicholson Drive to house married students. Hutments were also installed on campus for faculty housing.

New housing was also going in around the City Park, Erie, and University Lakes. Many of these homes were being built by Standard Oil Company (now ExxonMobil) management and other prominent businessmen.

It is important to know that a number of changes have taken place in Baton Rouge between 1947 and 2012 when the collection was processed. The most import of those changes in relationship to this collection is two-fold: 1) Street numbering changed as density increased, and; 2) Streets changed names and in some cases ceased to exist.

Where possible, image location identifications were created and verified using the following resources:

•    city directories for 1947, 1948, and 1949;
•    a street map published in 1947, and;
•    Google maps.

Given the changes in street numbering and street names, anyone using this collection to identify a site using only its current address may not be able to do so. This is especially true regarding the numbering of the homes along East and South Lake Shore Drives and businesses along Florida Street, Florida Boulevard, Government Street, and other streets and avenues paralleling these main streets.
In 1947, North 21st Street between Main Street and Choctaw Street continued as such to Choctaw Street. Today, that portion of North 21st Street between Main Street and Choctaw Street has been renamed as a continuation of Scenic Highway.

Also in 1947, there was as yet no Acadian Thruway. The following streets, from north to south, were incorporated into Acadian Thruway at some point:

•    North 33rd Street from Mohican to Choctaw Drive;
•    North 33rd and 34th Streets between Choctaw Drive and North Street;
•    Kernan and Margaretta Avenues from North Street to North Boulevard;
•    Oakwood Drive from North Boulevard to Government Street;
•    Westmoreland Drive from Government Street to Clay Cut Road, and;
•    Cleon Avenue from Clay Cut Road to Hundred Oaks Avenue.

From Hundred Oaks Avenue south a new road connector was eventually constructed to tie Acadian Thruway into Stanford Avenue.

To find an address currently given as Acadian Thruway will require knowing the cross streets between which the building is located. If the current address is on that section of the Thruway between Hundred Oaks Avenue and Stanford Avenue it will not be in this collection as that section of the Thruway did not exist in 1947.

Copyright is retained by descendants of the creators in accordance with U.S. copyright law. Permission for publication must be obtained from Robert L. Winans, son of Fonville Winans.

 
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