Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Reginald Henry Hargrove Memorial Band Shell

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Institution Name: Centenary College of Louisiana
Original/Historic Place Name: Open-Air Theatre or Amphitheatre
Location on Campus: Sexton Dr.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1926original construction Unknown
1936replaced wooden seats and platform stage with concrete Unknown
1964band shell added Unknown
Type of Place: Landscape site
Type of landscape–
Small-scale features:
Large-scale features:
Greek style amphitheatre that takes advantage of a shallow depression and slopes in the center of the campus to provide an open-air theatre with stage and shell bordered on three sides by cultivated grounds, trees, and gardens of roses and azaleas; original wooden seats and stage were replaced with concrete seats and platform stage in 1936, and a band shell added in 1964.
Other characteristics:
Materials: concrete has replaced the orginal wooden seats and stage
1926-present (2007)alumni center
1926-present (2007)outdoor space
1926-present (2007)theater
1926-present (2007)stadium

Significance: architecture, education, history
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

For the earliest years of the College's Shreveport history, the campus buildings clustered along its western side. Further to the east, in 1925, a natural depression sloped into a shallow ravine angling away from the women's housing on the north down toward and beyond the men's dormitory on the south. This depression was not particularly attractive, providing sparse vegetation and trees but much collection of water as part of a natural drainage basin for a slender bayou that used to cut from northwest to southeast across the campus acreage. Using the natural contour of the depression, designers constructed a 1700 seat capacity wooden open-air theatre in the mid-1920's. This theatre not only improved the appearance of the grounds but also provided a means for keeping the area dry and drained. A decade later the wooden seats and stage were replaced with the permanent concrete seats that are currently used, increasing its capacity to over 2000.

In the early 1950's, a student center building was erected to the south of the amphitheatre on leveled ground with elaborate gardens and fountain near the theatre's southwestern corner, moving Centenary's campus further to the east. In 1964 during a flurry of campus building projects, a benefactor paid for a band shell to be constructed around the amphitheatre stage, providing acoustics for improved sound. In the 1980's, extensive rose gardens and pathways were placed close to the theatre's eastern boundary. The landscaping was completed by the placement of a series of trees along the northern curve of the amphitheatre, thus preserving and enhancing the natural contours and beauty of the location. Building campaigns between the 1940's and 1960's permanently shifted the logistical center of the campus. Now, the amphitheatre and its band shell are the geographic bull's-eye for the campus grounds.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Bryson, Helen R. "A History of Centenary College." M. A. thesis, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, 1941.

Centenary College, The College of Louisiana. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1979.

East Feliciana Parish Records. Clinton and Jackson, LA.

Fay, Edwin W. The History of Education in Louisiana. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1898.

Nelson, William H. A Burning Torch and a Flaming Fire: The Story of Centenary College of Louisiana. Nashville, TN: Methodist Publishing, 1931.

Varnado, Otto W. "A History of the Early Institutions of Higher Learning in Louisiana." M. A. thesis, Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, 1927.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library

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