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HISTORY: A BEAUTY SPOT AND SOURCE OF GREAT PRIDE FOR BOSSIER

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In the 1920s Tandy Key Giddens built an observation tower that resembled a castle.  In its 75th anniversary edition of June 28, 1934 The Bossier Banner published the following story, written by Agathine H. Goldstein, of Giddens’ Castle.  This week’s column is the first of the two-part story.

“Because of its diversified interests, Giddens’ Castle is one of the totally different edifices in all of Louisiana.  Fourteen miles east of Shreveport, and a quarter of a mile south of the Dixie-Overland Highway, U. S. Route No. 80, it towers above all the surrounding territory, on the highest point of the Fillmore hills.”

“There are influences from the last three centuries to attract the visitor.  Too, there are the attributes of all of the twentieth century, in the most modern of forms, to warrant a lengthy stay within its bounds.  In no other single section is such a wealth of art, history and modernities [sic] fused into one atmosphere.  All told, it is a place in which to revel, to look and to be impressed.”

“A number of years ago, T. K. Giddens, of Shreveport, selected this high spot of ground on which he built an observation tower, similar in architecture to a mediaeval castle.  In due time he erected a number of cottages on this picturesque hill, and therein placed his collection of relics, valued at several hundred thousands of dollars.  Mr. Giddens stated that the purpose of his tower was that ‘people from all over the country could gather and enjoy the scenery.’  He brought his priceless artistic master pieces to this site as well; and it is a rare treat indeed to be afforded a minute inspection of all that this unique museum contains.”

“The ‘Castle’ stands as a beacon for all of the surrounding countryside.  It is the show place for many miles around.  But, the original structure has received a recent addition—and the result is a night club, which tends to create an impression entirely new in a setting originally intended for other purposes.  It is amusing to note that the entrance to the ‘Castle,’ now the foyer of the night club, with its gorgeous Grecian mirror, pasted with telegrams from such celebrities as Mae West, Clark Gable, Guy Lombardo, Ben Bernie and a host of other screen and radio stars, extending their best wishes for the success of this playground to the proprietor, Buddy fisher.  Chandeliers from the court of Louis XVI grace the ballroom, and a wealth of imported rugs and draperies, from the famed Giddens’ collection, are to be noted in the clubhouse.”

“But the truly intriguing sights, on this highest point in northwest Louisiana, are outside the ‘Castle’—the scenes which Nature has contributed, and in the art collections which are housed on the hill.  All of Shreveport, with its woodlands and streams, might be viewed with advantage from this spot.  A gorgeous panorama it is—sylvan dells and verdant ravines—worthy of the brush of the most gifted painter.  Industrial enterprises working at full blast, flying fields and fertile farmlands, all of these attributes and more, lend their presence to the sight.”

The description of Giddens’ Castle will continue in next week’s column so remember to check back.  You will also learn what ultimately happened to the ‘Castle.’  Bossier Parish Library Historical Center can provide the answers to your questions about Bossier Parish history.

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