St Francisville is a city in and parish seat of Louisiana's West Feliciana Parish, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 1,710 people. St Francisville is part of Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area and has a total area of 4.7 km2 (1.8 ml2).
The town of St Francisville was founded in 1809. A number of historic structures from the period still exist. Named "the town 2 miles long and 2 yards wide" as it was developed atop a tight ridge overlooking Mississippi River, it was the cultural and commercial center of surrounding plantation country. Below St Francisville's bluffs, an early settlement named Bayou Sara was established during the early 1790s, and was the largest antebellum port on Mississippi River between Memphis and New Orleans. Destroyed by repeated fires and flooding, nothing currently exists of Bayou Sara, but several of its structures were pulled up the hill into St Francisville during the 1920s.
In 1810, St Francisville served as the capital city of Republic of West Florida, when local planters ousted Spanish government and established an independent republic of their own for 74 days, before annexing to Territory of Orleans, as possession of the U.S.
In 1824 Feliciana Parish was divided into East and West. Then St Francisville became seat of the government of West Feliciana Parish.
In June 1863, William Walter Leake (1833-1912, Confederate Army officer) arranged for the burial of John E.Hart (1824-1863, Union Navy officer), who died aboard his vessel while taking part in Union blockade of Mississippi River. Every June the event is re-enacted during a 3-day commemoration named "The Day the War Stopped."
Following the American Civil War, Jewish emigrants who fled religious persecution in Germany came and made contributions to commerce, providing credit after the banks failed and building spectacular Victorian homes like Wolf-Schlessinger House, now St.Francisville Inn Bed & Breakfast.
During the last years, community efforts have been focused on preservation of the historic homes in St Francisville. The town is a popular tourist destination, with restored historic plantations that are open daily for tours, such as Audubon State Historic Site, Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site, Butler Greenwood Plantation, The Cottage Plantation, Greenwood Plantation and The Myrtles, as well as a few antebellum gardens.
Parts of St Francisville flooded in May 2011 Mississippi River floods.
Highlights: Plantation homes, Historic District, Louisiana State Penitentiary Museum
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