- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

MONROE, La. (AP) - The Endom Bridge is named for Robert and Fred Endom, two Monroe men who played a large part in creating the first path linking Monroe and West Monroe, but it wasn’t always so.

Ron Downing, a local history enthusiast, said his great-grandfather Robert Henry Endom was born in Westphalia, Prussia, in 1838 and named Robert Heinrich. His brother, Fredrick Lewis Endom, was born in 1834 and originally named Frederick Ludvich.

Downing said the pair came to the U.S. to avoid revolution. They came through the port of Maryland and went to Little Rock learning the trade of carriage making. They came to Monroe about 1855 and became naturalized citizens.

Robert enlisted in Company C of the 2nd Louisiana Regiment, known as the Pelican Grays of Ouachita Parish, during the Civil War, Downing said. Fred also enlisted but was commissioned by Jefferson Davis to make wagons for the Confederacy.

Downing said Fred had a livery at 122 DeSiard, which is where the elevators for the Vantage building stand today. Tools and horseshoes from the building’s days as a blacksmith shop were found during a recent renovation, he said.

After the war, the brothers returned to Monroe. Robert became a judge, and Fred was the mayor of Monroe. Starting in 1895, Downing said, the duo worked to get a bridge built between Monroe and West Monroe because only a ferry existed to link the two communities.

Robert died in 1897, and while plans existed to name the bridge in his honor, that did not happen.

Fred was the first to cross the DeSiard Street bridge when it was opened on July 4, 1899. Fred died in 1921.

Downing said he spoke with Monroe Mayor Bob Powell about renaming the bridge, and in 1988, the city renamed it Endom Bridge and placed plaques in memory of the brothers on both ends.

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