was founded in 1836 by the Shreve Town Company, a corporation
established to develop a town at the juncture of the newly navigable Red
River and the Texas Trail, an
overland route into the newly independent Republic of Texas and, prior to that
time, into Mexico.
The Red River had been cleared by Captain Henry
Miller Shreve, commanding the US
Army Corps of Engineers, of the 180 mile long raft of debris that
had clogged its channel since time immemorial. In Shreve's honor the
Shreve Town Company and the village of Shreve Town were named. On March
20, 1839 the village of Shreve Town was incorporated as the town of
Shreveport. In 1871 Shreveport was incorporated as a city.
boundaries were contained within a parcel of land sold to the Shreve Town Company by the indigenous Caddo
Indians in 1835. In 1838 Caddo Parish (county) was carved out
of Natchitoches Parish and Shreve Town became the parish seat; Shreveport
remains the parish seat of Caddo Parish, Louisiana today.
The original townsite consisted of sixty-four city
blocks divided by eight streets running west from the Red River and
eight streets running south from Cross Bayou, a tributary of the red
River. Today this sixty-four block area is the city's central business
district and is a National
Register of Historic Places-listed district.
Shreveport, and its smaller sister city, Bossier
City (founded in 1884 and incorporated in 1907) together have six
historic districts and many landmarks listed on the National Register.
In fact, Shreveport is second only to New
Orleans among Louisiana
cities with multiple historic landmarks. One of these is the McNeill
Street Pumping Station, an 1887 waterworks that is still in use and
is the unique example of its type in the nation. It is listed on the
National Historic Landmarks
list, the highest level of national historical designation. Also located
in metro Shreveport is Barksdale Air Force
Base, opened in 1933 as Barksdale
Army Air Field. It is also a national landmark.
The Red River, opened by Shreve in the 1830s,
remained navigable until 1914 when disuse, owing to the rise of the
railroad as the preferred means of transporting goods and people,
allowed it to begin silting up. Not until the 1990s was navigation of
the river again possible to Shreveport. Today the port of
Shreveport-Bossier City is being developed once again as a shipping