Northwestern State University will unveil a restored historic marker at a spot that some scholars believe is the oldest indication of European visitors in the area. The Colonial Gateway Corral marks the confluence of three paths, one from the west that was used by the Spanish, one winding north towards the site of the original Fort St. Jean Baptiste and one to the south near a residence of Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, founder of the settlement that became the city of Natchitoches.
A rededication will take place at 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 23 at the triangle in front of the Wellness, Recreation and Activities Center.
The Colonial Gateway Corral was first sighted by St. Denis and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville in 1700 and the hill later became St. Denis’s vacherie where livestock were kept.
Deborah Dietrich-Smith, historical landscape architect, and Jason Church with the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training worked with NSU’s Physical Plant Director Dale Wohletz and Special Projects Coordinator Gil Gilson in cleanup of trees, benches and other features within the small park, including the Demon Head monument, the Sibley Drive plaque and four park benches, the oldest dating to the early 1930s.
The plaque was originally installed in 1970 by the Natchitoches Chapter of the Colonial Dames of the 17th Century.