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Old Shed Road in Bossier City

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

The only extant depiction of Shed Road I've found, so far, comes from a 1926 article in the Bossier Banner Progress.

Bossier City didn't really become known as Bossier City until the 1880s. Prior, it was the site of several plantations, the most prominent one being Elysian Groves. Its port along the Red River was known as Cane's Landing, named after the owners, James and Mary Cane.

The problem with the location of Cane's Landing is that it lay in very low country, prone to flooding; newspaper called it the "Red River Swamp." Tall growths of "cypress, ash, and thorn" rose from the bog, which extended "twilight under the foliage in the day time." Merchants and migrants along the Texas Road would sink knee-deep in the mud before reaching the river. Their wagons were inundated, and horses and mules would find themselves trapped by muck and darkness.

An idea was hatched in 1874 to fix the problem: J.S. Watkins from Minden (Webster Parish, Louisiana) received a charter to build a private, covered toll road. Ultimately stretching for eight miles between Red Chute to the east and Cane's Landing to the west, the purpose of this "Shed Road" in Bossier City was to prevent rain from soaking the dirt trail below. Shed Road would keep the trail clear by "dust on the road, with mud on each side of it."

Shed Road was a well-traveled path for the few decades that it was in use, but it also became the site of lynchings. In 1883, C.D. Hutchens, a white man accused of murder, was hung at Cockleburr bridge "sixty yards from the road." Over a thousand people reportedly made their way on Shed Road to view the body. A year later, accused arsonist Charles McLane, another white man, was strangled to death by a "bungling noose" where Shed Road crossed over Alligator Bayou.

So far, I have not found any photographs of Shed Road, but I did find an illustration from a 1926 article in the Bossier Banner-Progress. By the 1890s, the railroads supplanted Shed Road's purpose and the turnpike was allowed to fall into ruin.

Shed Road still exists as a thoroughfare in Bossier City, linking the Red River to Red Chute.

Shreveport map
This 1860 map of Shreveport shows that the road east of the city was "very poor in west weather." Shed Road was built to keep the road dry (LOC).

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