Last posting, I talked about the new names of our rooms. We made a business decision to change all of the names of our rooms to more historical names to better reflect the wonderful history of this old riverport town. I promised that I would talk about who or what some of these people are in my future postings. Promise kept! Here is the first of seven entries regarding the names of the room.
A good place to start is with the front room. The room used to be called the Polly Anna Room but is now called the Rosa Bland Room.
Jefferson began it’s existence as a busy and bustling riverport town. Steamships from New Orleans and St. Louis off of the Mississippi would come to Jefferson through Caddo Lake and up the Big Cypress Bayou carrying agriculture products including cotton and Jefferson quickly became the riverport to the Southwest. Wares and goods would travel as far as Dallas and west Texas on Ox cart and back from Jefferson. Jefferson became the port of entry for what was the Republic of Texas at the time and then later the State of Texas. Jefferson became a boom town where many of the pioneers to Texas first set foot on Texas soil when they disembarked from the steamboats.
During Jefferson’s Golden Era as a steamboat port from 1845 until 1875, it became a cosmopolitan town like most port cities with a confluence of cultures and businesses. The architectural styles, which developed in Jefferson during this period of prosperity, resembled those of New Orleans. The homes were primarily of Greek revival design.
When the log raft was removed by the Army Corps of Engineers in the year 1873, the water level in Big Cypress Bayou was reduced and navigation to Jefferson was threatened.
So who or what was the Rosa Bland? She was the last Steamship into the Port of Jefferson before the waters receded to the point that prevented navigation on the Big Cypress Bayou.