Back in the good old days, towns like Shreveport were full of life. Located at the juncture of the newly navigable Red River and the Texas Trail, it was a magnet for those seeking to make their way in America one way or another. Bankers rubbed shoulders with farmers who dealt with merchants who supplied the town’s residents. There was even a legal red light district at one time.
Telling the story of Shreveport is the Spring Street Historical Museum, the oldest commercial building surviving in Shreveport. Construction on the building began in 1861 and was finally finished in 1865, just after the Civil War. It was known as Tally’s bank building at first, then traded hands to become other banks including E & B Jacob’s Bank from 1877-1883.
It remained a bank in one fashion or another until 1903, when it housed a number of businesses including a bar and an insurance broker. The second floor was even a residence in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The building has been carefully restored and retains the original cast iron-grillwork gallery, the original painted iron vault door, and its original wooden floors and molding. The unique inside shutters on the second floor windows were duplicated from remnants of the original found in the building’s mud basement.
In 2019, after 40 years of developing and nurturing the Spring Street Historical Museum, the Shreveport and Red River Parishes Town Committee of NSCDA-Louisiana facilitated the transfer of the museum, including its contents, as a gift to a subsidiary of the Louisiana State University in Shreveport Foundation for the benefit of LSUS.
Today, the museum that sits just blocks from the Red River holds an array of objects, furniture, clothing, silver, photographs and even firearms that help tell the story of how Shreveport was founded, blossomed and grew from a fork in the road to a bustling city.