Kent Plantation House State Historic Site turns back the clock to circa 1800, when Pierre Baillio II commissioned the construction of a simple six-bedroom home on the banks of Bayou Rapides. Located in what today is the central Louisiana hub of Alexandria, it’s a testament to how sugar barons lived over 300 years ago.
King Charles IV of Spain granted Baillio approximately 500 acres of land in 1795, and the planter soon set to making a profit from it. The home, made with local materials found in the Alexandria area (including cypress for roofbeams and clay for bricks), was built on brick piers to protect it from flood waters. Its simple Creole style architecture was typical of the period.
Baillio’s heirs sold the property in 1842 to a wealthy planter named Robert C. Hynson from Kent County, Maryland. He named the plantation after his homeland and began updating architectural details to match the Greek Revival style that was popular for the period, as well as greatly expanding the house itself.
Today visitors can view the handiwork that Baillio and Hynson oversaw. Tour outbuildings that include a working sugar house, the only one of its kind known to exist, and open for sugar-making demonstrations during the fall harvest season. Visit the slave quarters for a glimpse into how Kent Plantation House’s workers endured harsh conditions, and the specialized Milk House used for dairy preparation.
In the Big House, you’ll find finely adorned rooms that include a ladies’ parlor, where women of means once sipped tea, and a library reserved for entertaining gentlemen guests. The main bedroom and children’s bedroom are also on display, as well as the “stranger’s room,” quarters reserved for unknown guests who were passing through the region.
During your visit to the Alexandria area, check out the Alexandria Zoological Park, as well as nearby Arna Wendell Bontemps Museum and the Louisiana History Museum. Get some sun at Chicot State Park and South Toledo Bend State Park, and for insight into Louisiana’s military history, check out Forts Randolph and Buhlow State Historic Site, and Louisiana Maneuvers and Military Museum.
Entrance fees: $10 for adults; $8 for AAA members, military, and seniors age 65 and older; and $3 for children ages 6 through 12. Free for children under 3.