As home of the first bottler of Coca-Cola, Monroe-West Monroe has several other claims-to-fame. Historically the twin cities and surrounding parish have been known as small farming communities; in 1924, the first aerial crop dusting organization, Huff Daland Dusters was formed in Monroe. That company later became Delta Airlines. During WWII, Monroe-West Monroe was home to the nation’s largest navigator training school, Selman Field. You can see exhibits about Delta, Selman Field, and other war memorabilia at the Aviation Historical Museum of Louisiana. The Aviation Historical Museum is currently raising funds to renovate its 9,000 square foot facility.
At the Biedenharn Museum & Gardens, you can learn about the history of Coca-Cola while enjoying the beautiful home of Joseph Biedenharn. The adjacent bible museum features rare and ancient bibles. After you’ve finished your 5-cent bottle of Coca-Cola, move on to the historic Layton Castle. Layton Castle is one of only seven castles in the state of Louisiana. Although it was remodeled in the early 1900s, much of the original 19th century décor remains.
Just to our east, Poverty Point World Heritage Site is located in Epps, Louisiana, just 30 minutes from Monroe, and dates back 1700 and 700 B.C. The civilization is at least eight centuries older than the Egyptian Pyramids and is considered to be one of the most important historic sites in America. The people who created Poverty Point built six concentric ridges overlooking the Mississippi Floodplain. Several mounds were also created, including one that is shaped like a giant bird measuring 700 by 640 feet around the base and rises over 70 feet into the sky. The people imported supplies from all over the eastern United States and took at least five million hours to build their civilization. In 2014, this site was named a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, making it one of only 22 sites in the United State at the time.