By Jim Smilie
In 1931, architect Errol Barron’s father designed the building at the corner of Main and Shamrock streets in Pineville to serve as the City Hall. Today, Barron is working to get the building placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“When you look closely, you can tell somebody who did this put in a lot of attention and loving details,” Barron told members of the Rotary Club of Alexandria Tuesday afternoon. That person was Barron’s father, who was also one of the founding partners of Barron, Heinberg and Brocato architects in Alexandria.
Barron, an Alexandria native who lives in New Orleans and is a partner in the architect firm of Errol Barron/Michael Toups Architects and a retired professor of architecture and drawing at Tulane University, noted that his father, like most Americans, was struggling in the late 1920s as the country was ravaged by the Great Depression. So, the contract to design a new City Hall for Pineville was a huge financial benefit for his family in 1931. “My father put his heart and soul into it, and I think it shows,” Barron said.
The City Hall building Barron designed housed all of the city’s administrative offices, the fire department — including sleeping quarters, the police department, the city court, the driver’s license bureau and a library. The building served as Pineville’s City Hall until the current City Hall building was constructed in 1974. The old City Hall building is currently serving as a museum.
Barron said he is pleased the building has been preserved so far, and he hopes to get the National Historic Register designation to ensure the building endures. “Cities get destroyed by progress,” Barron said. “It would be nice to be able to save a part of Pineville.”
In other business, the Club presented $2,000 in scholarships to two local students planning to attend the Louisiana State University of Alexandria. Madelyn Thompson, a graduate of Plainview High School, and Erionne Harvey, a graduate of Peabody Magnet High School, were each recognized and presented with their scholarships.