Rapides Parish Timeline

1609 Spanish Franciscan missionaries minister to Appalache Indians.
1711 Spanish mission established and called Post du Rapides.
1763 France hands territory of Louisiana over to Spain.
1766 First Spanish governor arrives in territory.
1774 Records refer to "the burying grounds," now known as Rapides Cemetery.
1800 Louisiana handed back to France.
1803 France sells Louisiana territory to the United States for $15 million.
1804 Gov. William Claiborne takes office and proclaims that all residents of territory have freedom to practice religion as they see fit.
1805 Post du Rapides is named Pineville for large number of pine trees in the area.
1830s First school established in area of Pineville.
1845 Area's first boarding school opened by George P. Diggs.
1853 Parker's Institute for Boys opened.
1854 Episcopal Cemetery is established. Also, Jewish Cemetery is founded.
1859 Mount Olivet Chapel dedicated by Episcopal Bishop Leonidas Polk, the "Righting Bishop."
1859 State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, forerunner of Louisiana State University, opened with William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent.
1864 Major Gen. Nathaniel Banks, with over 35,000 Union troops, reaches the area but finds the Red River too low at the rapids for boats to pass. Banks orders a dam built so that the ships can move on to Shreveport. Engineer Joseph Bailey takes charge of building the dam. Trees on Pineville side of river cut down to construct Bailey's Dam.
[Note: Added by Marion V. Couvillon 17 Feb 2000 - Actually Banks went (UP) the river without difficulty as the river was high enough at that time. They went as far as Mansfield where the got badly whipped and returned down the river to find it too low to get over the Rapids from which the parish gets its name. This is located about at the H.P.Long-O.K.Allen bridge. The Northern soldiers were so down on the Southerners at this point that the burned the city of Alexandria, which is historically much more important than that dam. This is now felt by most genealogists as many of the old records were burned. Bailey's dam was built partly of wood, bricks and stone from the burned city.]
1867 National Cemetery established.
1869 State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy is destroyed by fire and is closed.
1871 First Pineville post office opens.
1873 Methodist Cemetery is established.
1878 Charter of incorporation granted to Pineville by Louisiana Legislature.
1880 Census figures show 763 people living in Pineville.
1883 First street lamps are installed in Pineville.
1897 Six Pineville residents receive telephones.
1900 Company formed to build a bridge between Pineville and Alexandria.
1902 The bridge is completed.
1904 Pineville citizen committee formulates plan to offer land to United States War Department for training of Louisiana National Guard troops.
1905 Offer is accepted by U.S. War Department for the 400 acres.
1906 Louisiana College opens.
1906 Central Louisiana State Hospital opens.
1911 Pineville Mayor Emmett Walker assassinated by Pineville resident over a personal matter.
1917 Constructions starts on Camp Beauregard.
1917 Huge numbers of military trainees die of measles, influenza and spinal meningitis epidemics while at Camp Beauregard.
Post-World War I Esler Field used as artillery and small arms combat range for military.
1918 State Colony and Training School, forerunner of Pinecrest State School, established by act of Louisiana Legislature.
1921 First patients arrive at State Colony and Training School (Pinecrest).
1923 Tornado kills 14 people in Pineville and causes half a million dollars in damage.
1927 Pineville suffers devastating flood.
1930s Airfield constructed at Esler Field.
1930 Veterans Administration takes over old State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy and opens VA Hospital.
1931 First Pineville Town Hall built.
1936 O.K. Allen Bridge opens.
1938 Huey P. Long charity Hospital established.
1940s Voters decide that Pineville will not sell alcohol.
1941 New Pineville post office opens on corner of Shamrock and Main streets.
1947 Weekly Pineville newspaper, the Pineville News , opens.
1949 Colfax Creosoting Co. Moves to Pineville.
1956 Buhlow Lake is built and Buhlow Lake Airport opens.
1968 Pineville City Council votes to adopt a flag designed by Lloyd Hawthorne as the city flag.
1970 Fred Baden elected mayor of Pineville.
1996 Pineville population is pegged at 15,308.
1997 April Pineville celebrates its 275th anniversary.