Hamilton Square: The Original Palmer Park

Stop 1 of 14 in the Palmer Park tour

In 1831, the McCarty Plantation, located upriver from the central hub of New Orleans, was bought by investors including the New Orleans Canal and Banking Company and Senator John Slidell. Two years later the property was subdivided into squares and lots. The new land was designated as the village of Carrollton in 1845; it is believed this was done in honor of William Carroll, a general under Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans. The main street dividing the town was originally named Canal Avenue. The streets running parallel to Canal were named in honor of presidents-Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison--and other public officials--Hamilton, Clay, and Livingston. The streets crossing Canal were numbered. The annexation of Carrollton in 1874 by New Orleans resulted in the changing of street names that conflicted with existing streets in New Orleans: Canal became Carrollton, numbered streets were replaced with the names of trees, and most of the streets named after presidents and public officials were changed as well when they conflicted.

The original plan for the village, drawn up by Charles Zimple, included three pieces of property that were not designated with lot numbers. These areas were designated as Green Square-bounded by 6th (later changed to Birch), Green, and Leonidas, and later the site of the Walter C. Flowers Public School; Frederick Square-bounded by Hamilton, Laurel Grove, Olive, and Edinburgh, and later the site of Humphreys Playground; and Hamilton Square, bounded by Canal (later changed to Carrollton), Sycamore, Dublin, and Mobile. Hamilton Square is believed to have been named after Alexander Hamilton, one of the principal figures in the creation of the American republic. Originally designated for “public use” by the village in 1861, the squares were “formally” re-designated for “public use” by an ordinance of the city of New Orleans in 1902.

John Paul Bordes, in his "Carrollton Columns," remembered being in Hamilton Square as a child: "My first experience with Palmer Park took place in 1899, when I was 5 years old. It was a low spot of land, filled with briar bushes. The cows from the surrounding dairies used to get all tangled up in there. I had wandered away from home, which was only ll blocks away, but I got lost in the high bushes, and I couldn't find my way out. I kept yelling and crying so loud that my brother finally heard me and came to my rescue" (1978, 48).

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