Old City Hall
Denham Springs’ Old City Hall was constructed in the late 1930s and completed in 1940. On Nov. 21, 1940, the magnificent new building on Mattie Street was opened to the public for tours. Then-Mayor Gay Cooper praised the quality and style of the building, with its bright white paint and colorful trim. Built under the auspices of the WPA under the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the two story building was constructed of poured-in-place concrete reinforced with steel. For the first time, Denham Springs had a dedicated facility to house the mayor’s office, town hall, town council chambers, police headquarters, jail, a courtroom and a library. Previously, mayors had not had offices and had worked out of their homes.
In 1957, Denham Springs became a city, and, by 1969, the growing municipal government needed more space and moved to a new government complex, it’s current location at 941 Government Drive. The police department took over old City Hall, and, at some point, the Louisiana State Police built an annex on the east side of the building for use as a driver’s licensing bureau. Over time, rooms were partitioned, additional jail cells were added, and the exterior was painted different colors. The police occupied the building until they moved to a new police station in 1984. For a period of time in the 1990s it was used as a haunted house by the police cadets; the interior walls were defaced, and a crude wooden sign declaring it “House of the Macabre” was erected on the front of the building.
In March, 1995, Mayor James Delaune, Sr., announced the establishment of a commission whose primary duty would be to preserve the historic buildings in Denham Springs. The Denham Springs Historic Preservation Commission held its first meeting April 3, 1995, and identified its top priorities to be the establishment of boundaries for the downtown historic district and the preservation of Old City Hall.