A portion of the West Monroe Cotton Port Historic District has been named as a National Register Historic District.
In addition, the city of West Monroe’s downtown has been named as Louisiana’s first Lagniappe Main Street community.
Both designations were announced this week. An area of downtown West Monroe has been designated as a National Register Historic District by the National Park Service. The area, known as the West Monroe Historic District, encompasses parts of Commerce, Cotton, Cypress, Natchitoches, Pine, N. Riverfront, Trenton and Wood Streets.
West Monroe’s Cotton Port Historic District is a locally-designated district recognized by the City of West Monroe.
The downtown district is now designated as a Lagniappe Community. This designation is part of a new process required to become a certified Louisiana Main Street Community.
Beginning June 1, the city will have 12 to 18 months to complete the necessary benchmarks for the certification. The Main Street program is a proven strategy to spur community-driven, comprehensive revitalization. The program is organized around four points: economic vitality, design, promotion and organization.
The National Register designation does not trigger any federal regulations on what people can and cannot do with their properties. It is purely an honorary designation but means property owners are eligible for federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.
The national nomination was organized by Dr. Evelyn Causey, a historic preservation consultant who was hired by the Downtown West Monroe Revitalization Group and the city of West Monroe. In addition to her work with the nomination, Causey also helped organize a self-guided historic walking tour of the Cottonport Historic District. Brochures can be found at the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau and several downtown stores.
“The West Monroe Historic District has an outstanding collection of historic buildings that tell the story of the city’s economic development from the 1880s through the 1960s,” said Causey. “Walking the streets of the district, you can see evidence of West Monroe’s early history as a railroad town, its rapid growth in the early 20th century, the arrival of chain stores in the 1920s and 1930s, the architecture of racial segregation, and the impact of automobiles on downtown businesses.”