Note the four posts of the old “gazebo” in the foreground of this 1930 view of “downtown” Romance.  In the lower photo seventy-five years later, the gazebo has a roof and the store building is still there but the Coca-Cola sign and the large home beside it are gone.    --Photo courtesy of Ervin Barnett

By Robert Pickett 

One thing I've noticed in the material I have read from the White County Historical Society and from Claude Johnson’s book, “A Humorous History of White County,” is the story of how Romance got its name.  The happiest days of my childhood were spent at Romance.  My grandfather Ben Rickett is pictured in Mr. Johnson’s book.

Our family tradition (and I have NO idea if it has any basis in fact) is fairly different from the off-the-cuff "It's a romantic place ...."  On the Historical Society’s website, under Pictures of Yesterday, Romance, The Community of Romance – 1930 [top photo], you can see in the area just between the white house and the camera, there is a short, stone wall about two feet in height, roughly square in outline.  There are posts at each of the four corners of this structure.  In that picture, there is nothing above the posts, but in earlier times, there was a roof over this structure. 

This structure has been renewed a few times, and when I first remember Romance, in the early 1940s, there was a roof there. The structure is (or was in the picture) right on the banks of Clifty Creek.  There was a sweet spring flowing in the structure, and benches (maybe concrete ... memory is hazy and I have no pictures from that time) provided seating inside the little gazebo.  My folks said that after church on Sundays, young people would gather and visit and "court" in this structure, and that people said this was the place for Romance.  Now my family arrived in Romance about 1909 or '10, long after Romance was named, so obviously they were not there at the time the community got its name, but that was the story that they told. I am guessing the "courting springs" are still there.  I haven't been to Romance in roughly 20 years, but my brother was through there in October of 2005 and took some pictures.  One of them was from roughly the same vantage as the 1930 picture.  You can see the gazebo almost hidden in the bushes, and it has a roof that appears to be in good repair.  I guess I'm going to have to break down and go see Romance at least one more time, although it will be a troubling experience to see the priceless, vanished memories of my childhood. (The writer is a new member of the White County Historical Society who lives in Monroe, La.)       vvv