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Fort Smith Memorial Park

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The June 4th, 1936 issue of The Planters’ Press contained two articles about the dedication of Fort Smith Memorial Park in Bossier City. The new park was to be filled with many attractive gifts of playground and sport equipment given by Bossier merchants.

“The dedication of Fort Smith Memorial Park, Tuesday, June 9 will be the most entertaining event in the history of Bossier Parish. The program is scheduled to begin and 1:30 p. m. and will be in charge of Arthur Ray Teague, prominent Bossier business man.”

“The dedication of the park to the City of Bossier will be made by Honorable Mayor Tom Hickman, who has been very active in acquiring this property for the city.”

“J. Fair Hardin, Shreveport Attorney, will give the history of Fort Smith. Hardin is an authority on Louisiana history and is expected to give some information that will be very interesting to the citizens of Bossier.”

“One of the most interesting parts of the program will be the appearance of the Louisiana State University band. The services of the band were acquired at a late date today (Thursday) and will be featured in the place of the U. S. Marine band as previously announced.”

“The members of the park commission, who have strived to have the park in condition for the dedication are: Mr. A. J. Dupuy, general park chairman, Mr. W. A. Gandy, Mr. Page, Arthur Ray Teague, C. M. Brown, Mrs. D. B. Keith and J. W. Freeman.”

“The dedication of this park will be the achievement of many years work of the part of citizens of the community, and Bossier City is very proud of those who have made this park possible.”

A second article pointed out that “In order for this park to be a success, it was necessary for the park committee to seek donors for the various games and playthings. To date, we are proud to announce that the Louisiana Oil Refinery has given to the park swings, one of the most important items in the building up of the park and to Barksdale Drug, goes appreciation for the park benches. The Sibley Company donated a tennis outfit, to be erected as soon as the ground is sufficiently set to play on.”

“The Planters Press donated a soft ball outfit. The Bossier Lumber Company has donated and will build a bridge to the Park. Several firms in the city of Bossier have seen fit to donate cash to the park committees and let the use their own ideas as to what would be best for the park at this time. These firms are Teekle Brothers, J. W. Freeman and Mr. J. C. Boles.”

Bossier High School was constructed on the site of Fort Smith in the late 1930s, being completed in 1940. Today the 12-acre Fort Smith Neighborhood Playfield at 701 Coleman Street in Bossier City boasts a swimming pool, a senior citizens center, an outdoors basketball goal and picnicking grounds.

Bossier Parish has numerous parks and recreational areas. To find out more about their histories visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at amiddlet@state.lib.la.us