pioneer heritage center lsus

The Center comprises seven plantation structures, including the Thrasher House (a log dogtrot) and Caspiana House (the big house from Caspiana Plantation), both listed on the National Register of Historic Places; a detached kitchen; a log single pen blacksmith shop; a doctor's office; a commissary, and a river front mission. The structures, exhibits, and artifacts serve as a history laboratory for students and teachers in the humanities and for community groups, tourists, and the general public.

The educational program of the Center has become a model for progressive museum education, and has received a commendation for excellence from the American Association for State and Local History. During the school year, students from all grades receive interpretive tours that enrich their classroom studies. The Center regularly sponsors outreach programs such as internships, research seminars, museum professional development workshops, teachers' in service programs, public symposia, and on-site lectures.

While the Pioneer Heritage Center was founded in 1976 as a joint project of the University and the Junior League of Shreveport, corporate citizens, foundations, individuals, and groups in the regional community have supported the Center since its inception.

The Center is available for group, school, and special events by appointment only. The Center is closed on holidays.

Pioneer Heritage Center

Marty Young,
Director of the Pioneer Heritage Center

For information on donating to the collection, please view our Collections Policy

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Explore the Structures of the Center

The LSUS Pioneer Heritage Center is comprised of seven buildings which house various artifacts from their time period.

Webb & Webb Commissary
The Webb & Webb Commissary is a turn of the century structure that is typical of the plantation store built in the late 19th century. The Commissary was donated by the Webb family and the Junior League on the League's 50th anniversary.

Thrasher House (Dogtrot)
The Thrasher House is a classic example of the true Upland South plantation home. This type of structure is commonly called a log Dogtrot. Built by Mr. Thomas Zilks in 1850, the Thrasher House was donated to the Center by Aubrey Thrasher and moved from its original site near Castor, Louisiana in 1981. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Doctor's Office
Dr. Hartwell Lockwood Alison built the Doctor's Office on Caspian Plantation south of Shreveport shortly after the turn of the century. The office had practicing physicians until the 1930's. Moved to the Center and restored with the help of the Shreveport Medical Auxiliary in 1982, the Doctor's Office is used to interpret pioneer illnesses, treatments, and medicinal plants.

Caspiana House
The Caspiana House is a fine example of an antebellum cottage, and is commonly known as the "Big House" from Caspiana Plantation. Built by Mr. William Joseph Hutchinson in 1856, on the Hutchinson Plantation in Caspiana, the House is an integral part of Northwest Louisiana's history. Donated by the Hutchinson family in 1977, the "Big House" was the first building the Center received and now is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Blacksmith Shop
The Blacksmith Shop is a single pen log cabin, made from 18 foot square notched cypress logs and it has a dirt floor. It was built in Desoto Parish, about 1880 on the farm now owned by Mr. Jack Grigsby and was used as a barn. Donated by Mr. Grigsby, the structure was moved to the Center and restored in 1985 where it now showcases the Center's working blacksmith equipment.

Detached Kitchen
The detached kitchen was common place in Northwest Louisiana. It was separated from the house so if a fire broke out the main house was not destroyed. The shotgun house style was not introduced to the region about the time of the War Between the States. The open hearth fireplace and hand-made kitchen utensils were common to the pioneer period we represent at the Center. Food staples were generally grown on site and were harvested at the proper season. Detached kitchens remained in used on plantations and farms until the 1930's.

Riverfront Mission of First Baptist Church

The Riverfront Mission was built in 1930 and served the residents of the Batture near downtown Shreveport. The Batture was home to hobos, the homeless and the unemployed. In 1945 the city decided to clean up the area and Mr. J.W. Baker purchased the Mission and had it moved to his home. Dr. James Middleton and his family would take up resident in the home in 1952 when it was purchased by First Baptist of Shreveport to serve as a parsonage. With the help of First Baptist Church of Shreveport and the Baptist Builders, the Mission was donated, moved and renovated in 2001.

To schedule a tour or get more information, please call 318-797-5339 or email