view of Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
Courtesy of Louisiana Office
of the Lousiana State University campus, including the Memorial
Tower and a historic image of the campus c.1909
Courtesy of the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation and Library of Congress, Prints
and Photographs Division [reproduction number, pan 6a05509 ]
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.