Downtown Historic District
The Zachary Downtown Historic District consists of eight buildings within a two-block area in the historic downtown area of Zachary, Louisiana. This district offers a rare picture of neighborhood life in a small town during the waning years of the 19th century through the 1960s. Three dwellings, a barn, a carriage house, a pavilion, a Railroad Depot and the Old Town Hall with an adjacent firehouse provide the setting for a leisurely walk down "Main Street USA". Within view are several more (private) dwellings, the old movie theater and the Zachary Bank.
The city museum began its development when a prominent family donated the first of the eight buildings in 1975. The City of Zachary assumed the administration of the museum, and soon expanded the museum facility by reconstructing a barn (about 1980) near its original location and acquiring two other dwellings and a carriage house. By 1990, the City of Zachary had turned over the Old Town Hall building to the museum, constructed a pavilion, and acquired the depot to complete the collection of buildings.
Making way for a more robust business scene in downtown Zachary, Zachary officials sold three city-owned houses in the Zachary Historic District in 2020. The goal was to create a family-friendly environment that can become the heart of this city. The city wants to bring in new businesses and restaurants and make the downtown district more friendly for drivers and pedestrians. Under an ordinance introduced by the City Council, the houses were declared as surplus and put up for auction. The houses, which were once owned by the Allison, Bauman and McHugh families are currently privately owned as commercial businesses and restaurants. The houses’ new owners will be required to preserve the structures’ historical appearance.
The City of Zachary currently holds in its possession the gazebo, Historic Zachary Depot, The Old Town Hall and the Annison House, which is considered part of the Historic District, but is located on Old Scenic Highway.
The Old Town Hall museum assumes a prominent role in the collection and interpretation of the history of the Plains area. The City of Zachary is located near the southern-most section of a region known as "The Plains," an area that figures prominently in the early history of Louisiana during important events such as the English and Spanish occupations, the West Florida Rebellion, and the Civil War. The museum, which is located on Virginia Street is open by appointment Monday through Thursday and holds an extensive archival collection of land documents and genealogical information.
In an effort of boosting the city’s sales tax collections and revitalize the Zachary Historic District, in 2021, the City of Zachary entered into a lease agreement for the Historic Zachary Depot for commercial business.
City leaders are pursing revitalization efforts with the help of Downtown Strategies, a firm that specializes in reviving downtown economies. Plans are underway now for transforming the downtown area into a hub for entertainment, community events and shopping. The First phase of the redevelopment plan is focused on building a new governmental complex that will replace the existing City Hall Building. The City of Zachary plans to begin construction in the Spring of 2021.