William Bartram, America’s first native-born naturalist artist, made a four-year journey from the Atlantic coast of the Carolinas to the Mississippi River. Setting out in 1773, he recorded his observations of native people, plants, and animals in his journal, writing and drawing along the way. He reached Louisiana in 1775, a year before the American Declaration of Independence, 28 years before the Louisiana Purchase, and 37 years before Louisiana became the 18th state in the Union. He spent only a few months in Louisiana, reaching his westernmost point of exploration when he crossed the Mississippi to “Point Coupe”, present day Pointe Coupee. From this place he reversed his path, arriving back home in Philadelphia in early 1777. Bartram later organized and drew from his journal to publish “Travels” in 1791. The book found a significant readership in America and Europe and is still in print today. It inspired works by Samuel Coleridge and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow among others.
2015 Bartram Marker Dedications
On September 8-13, 2015 the Friends of Hilltop Arboretum in cooperation with the Bartram Trail Conference commemorated the 240th anniversary of naturalist William Bartram’s visit to Louisiana with the dedication of five historical markers, and a rededication of one originally placed in 1976. The culmination of the community-wide event was a lecture by British author Andrea Wulf on her award-winning book “Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation” at the EBRP Main Library on Goodwood Blvd. “Founding Gardeners” was on the New York Times Best Seller List and praised as ‘illuminating and engrossing.’ Event partners included the EBRP Public Library, Burden Horticulture Society, Beauregard Town Civic Association, Downtown Development District, Foundation for Historical Louisiana, Pointe Coupee Historical Society, Zachary Historical Archives, Plains Presbyterian Church and St. Francis Chapel.
Click here to view a brochure and map about Bartram’s travels through the Greater Baton Rouge and to learn more about the six historical markers dedicated in 2015.
2017 Bartram Conference
On March 24-26, 2017 the Friends of Hilltop Arboretum will host a conference in partnership with the Bartram Trail Conference in Baton Rouge at the EBRP Public Main Library on Goodwood Blvd. The program will focus on William Bartram’s travels in Louisiana in 1775. See the program below and STAY TUNED for more information about the conference, registration and field trips.
SAVE THE DATE
Hosted by Friends of Hilltop Arboretum
In partnership with the Bartram Trail Conference
William Bartram’s Louisiana Trail
2017 Biennial Conference
March 24 – 26, 2017
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Friday, March 24
Magnolia Mound Plantation
Wine and Cheese Reception
William Bartram Marker Dedication
Period Dancing by LA Vintage Dancers
Magnolia Mound Plantation Tours
Saturday, March 25
East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library
West Florida History
Art and Literature
Bartram Trail Conference Heritage
Evening Banquet with Keynote Speaker
Sunday, March 26
LSU Hilltop Arboretum
Tree Stroll and Brunch
Pointe Coupee Tour
St. Francis Chapel and Historic LeJeune Home
Burden Museum and Garden Tour
LSU Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens