In 1900, the White House Land Company of New Jersey sold J.W. Grippen 5 tracts of land totaling 1,803 acres that was renamed the John W. Grippen Idlewild Plantation. In 1909 Grippen sold the plantation to O.L. Bennett. In 1918 Bennett sold Idlewild Plantation to the East Louisiana State Hospital. The state sold the plantation to Velma Durham in 1936. In 1941 Ms. Durham sold it back to the East Louisiana State Hospital. The hospital leased the plantation to the Louisiana State Penitentiary in 1942. The Penitentiary used the plantation for farming operations until 1949 when the plantation was abandoned. The State Park and Recreation Commission sponsored the construction of a dam for a 50 acre lake in 1956 in anticipation that the plantation would be used for a state park. The land was then leased to LSU in 1957. At the request of Mr. Bob R. Jones and other local supporters of agricultural research and education supported a bill in the 1960 legislature that was signed by Governor Long deeding the land to LSU. Early research from the Agronomy Department included research on forage legumes and grasses, fertility studies on cotton and corn. The School of Forestry conducted pine seed genetic studies, conducted fish management studies on the 50 acre lake, conducted fruiting habits of annual and perennial plants on the station with respect to their use by wildlife. Thirty-two ten-acre plots were established for game management studies along with six one-acre plots for game food conservation research with quail and wild turkey. Later studies were initiated to determine the limiting factors in the production and management of rabbits in the wooded areas. In the 1960’s fruit tree research and beef animal studies were added to the station. In 2007 the station was renamed the Bob R. Jones-Idlewild research station in recognition of Mr. Jones efforts to secure the plantation for LSU.
10/20/2012 3:00:50 AM
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