Monday, April 23, 2007

Independence Park

The Botanic Gardens are a small part of Independence Community Park in the middle of Baton Rouge. Independence Park was dedicated, fittingly enough, on July 4, 1976. Before that time, the site was the home of the Baton Rouge Municipal Airport.

When the 200-acre field was dedicated as an airport in 1931, it was in a rural area. Over the next 40 years, Baton Rouge expanded, with homes and businesses bordering the airfield. After a crash at the airport in 1975 that killed two people, city officials decided to relocate the facility to a former army airfield north of the city.

The runways and control tower are long gone, but the main hangar (seen above) was kept in place when the airport became a park. The hangar was renovated, and now serves as a recreation center and home of a popular summer day camp for children.

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