LSU Libraries Special Collections presents the exhibition, “We Built This City: Baton Rouge as a System of Systems,” on display in Hill Memorial Library from Monday, October 15, 2018 through Friday, March 1, 2019. The exhibition examines what constitutes a city, how systems of a settlement grow and interconnect to become a city, and how history can reveal the effects of that growth on further development.
“We Built This City” defines the systems needed to create and sustain an urban area and presents those systems at pivotal moments in the development of Baton Rouge. The exhibition takes the viewer through time, examining Native American occupations, early European descriptions of the site, the turmoil of early European settlement, the area’s first planned development, the devastation of war, industry and expansion, and the rise of the “modern” city.
Aerial photographs by Fonville Winans in 1947 set the stage, illustrating system interactions through street scenes from Scenic Highway and Plank Road, along with images from the LSU and Southern University campuses. Also showcased are artifacts from the Ethnographic and Archaeological Collections in the Anthropology Division of the LSU Museum of Natural Science, and a wealth of materials held in Special Collections that speak to the city’s development. Visitors’ accounts, original suburb plans, war correspondence, and maps are among the items on display.
“Anyone with an interest in urban design and development, and the history of the Baton Rouge area, will enjoy ‘We Built This City,’” said Mark Martin of LSU Libraries Special Collections, who served as curator of the exhibition.
The exhibition is free and open to the public. Visit lib.lsu.edu/special for hours and directions, or call (225) 578-6544.
Image of Rittner Drive, 1947, from Fonville Winans’ Aerial Views of Baton Rouge.