In an article titled “Our Own Dogwood Trail” the March 23, 1950 issue of the Bossier Banner suggested that Plain Dealing might form an association to develop a Dogwood Trail.

“Much publicity has been given the Dogwood Trail in the vicinity of Palestine, Texas, one hundred thirty miles from Shreveport, and there is no reason or purpose here to discredit or disparage the beauty and grandeur of that famous scenic spot.  However, we are made to wonder each year as Spring rolls round, if we are not overlooking a real opportunity by not overlooking a real opportunity by not giving more attention to the area just to the west and slightly north of Plain Dealing.  True, the terrain to be traversed is not so extensive as that of the Lone Star State, but it is possible that if a careful survey should be made, a real beauty-adorned meander might be traced from a point about one mile from Plain Dealing, out by the Gilmer estate, and thence over the rolling hills and vales to one of Louisiana’s most majestic views, Delaney Mountain.  At present there is a good gravel road that skirts by some of the prettiest spots.  This road was opened up several years ago as a result of the foresight of Police Juror M. R. Bolinger, and it is growing in popularity as a scenic drive, but due to its present narrow limits it is receiving nothing like the attention that a wider and perhaps bette[r] routed rustic pike would receive.”

“We wonder if some kind of association might not be formed, the activities of which could easily enhance the potentialities of the area mentioned.  We are calling on our good friend, Ardis Manry, to use his extraordinary photographic skill and versatile pen to help sell this area to all the Ark-La-Tex public.  With the building of the bridge across Red River in this very area there is no telling how popular the terrain being considered might become.  One thing seems certain—photographic views of dogwood-studded spots, interspersed with tints of redbuds’ native hues and ‘lonesome pine’ atop Delaney’s peak would easily surpass anything that famed Palestine has offered.”

“Cities all over the world are paying fortunes to have what nature has thrown in our very lap.  Why go abroad, when the ‘acres of diamonds’ are at our own doors?  Let’s have our own dogwood trail right here in Bossier Parish.”

In October 1951 the Plain Dealing Dogwood Drive Association Articles of Incorporation had been submitted to the state and the Association was chartered by the State of Louisiana.  The rest, as they say, is history.  The Dogwood Drive itself stopped in 1991 but the Dogwood Festival continued until 2003 after which it, too, stopped.  Most of the dogwood trees had been cut by the mid-1960s and the Drive was never really the same.

To find out more about the glory days of the Dogwood Drive and Festival, visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

Here is a gentle reminder that on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 2 pm Jim Jones, co-president of GENCOM Genealogical Computer Society, will present a program about DNA testing for genealogy research which is one of the newest tools for researching your ancestry.  Please join us at the Historical Center, 2206 Beckett Street in Bossier City.

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.

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