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The Old Carrollton Courthouse
First two images: Infrogmation @ Wikimedia.Commons
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|Today's Carrollton neighborhood has been within the city limits so long, sometimes we
forget that, at one time, it was a town unto itself. In fact, it was the seat of Jefferson
Parish government from 1852 to 1874, when it was annexed by the city of New Orleans.
The site has a long history: It was included in Le Sieur de Bienville's 1719 land grant
and later became part of the well-known Macarty sugar plantation. It was, also, where
Gen. Jackson had his headquarters before the Battle of New Orleans. In 1833, it was
incorporated as the town of Carrollton, named after Major-General William Carroll,
whose Tennessee militia camped in the area next to Jackson's headquarters in 1815
(by 1833, he had gone on to become governor of Tennessee).
What is now a pleasant 20-minute streetcar ride from Canal Street to the bend in the
river where St. Charles turns into Carrollton Avenue, was once a long journey into
the suburban unknown -- so long, in fact, that sometimes the trip included an
overnight stop midway at Sacred Heart Convent.
That started to change when a rail line was chartered in 1833 to travel St. Charles
Avenue from Canal Street to the town of Carrollton (the line that later became the
St. Charles Avenue Streetcar line).
It wasn't uncommon in those days for railroad companies to build resorts at the end
of a line to encourage people to ride the train. The resort at the terminus of the St.
Charles line was called Carrollton Gardens and came with a luxury hotel (illustrated
above, ca. 1879), a racetrack and 4 acres of lush gardens.
|The Old Carrollton Hotel
|An 1830's illustration showing the New Orleans & Carrollton Rail-Road
Company's steam locomotive, with the Carrollton Hotel in the
background and a family waiting on the platform.
|The rail line established in 1833 is still going strong. The St. Charles
Avenue Streetcar line is the oldest surviving interurban-urban
passenger rail transportation system in the United States. The
cars presently in service were brought to the line in 1924.
|Streetcar on Carrollton Avenue, 1901. It's a little hard to read, but it
looks as if, at this time, the initials on the car still stand for New
Orleans & Carrollton Rail-Road Company.
|This is a picture I found in an old scrapbook, the note on the back read: "Foot
of Carrollton Avenue, Carrollton Gardens, 1956." It looks like nothing more
than the neutral ground to me, but I wonder if this spot contained remnants
of the original Carrollton Gardens. It would've been the right place, I believe,
there by the bend in the river, where Carrollton turns into St. Charles.