Sunday, July 31, 2016

Slidell Baptist Church

A photograph of the Slidell Baptist Church in its early days. It was organized with 11 members and built on land donated in 1892 by Fritz and Rosa Salmen. Click on the image below to see a larger version. 

Bogue Falaya Park Pavilion

Over the past 100 years, the pavilion at Bogue Falaya Park in Covington has played an important part in the community's activities, both as a spot for special events as well as a place to just enjoy the trees and the river. Here is a series of photographs of the park pavilion, in its various manifestations, since it tended to get rebuilt after every flood that seriously damaged it or wiped it away completely. 

Flood damage in the 1920's (above)

Over the years the pavilion has been used for a large variety of purposes, including field trips for local groups of school children. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The St. Tammany Special Train

Early in the 20th century, Covington commuters who made the daily trip to New Orleans were served by railroad in addition to lake steamer. 

The "St. Tammany Special" was a train made up of several cars that made daily trips between New Orleans and Covington. Its schedule called for it to leave New Orleans at 4:30 p.m. each day (except Sundays), arriving in Covington at 6:15 p.m. The train would then leave Covington the next day at 6:45 a.m. and arrive back in New Orleans at 8:30 a.m.

The trains were comprised of "elegant vestibule coaches and Parlor Buffet Cars." 

The St. Tammany Special

There was also a local train that left New Orleans each morning (except Sundays) at 6:30 a.m. and arrived in Covington at 9:30 a.m.

On Sundays and Wednesdays, there were "Excursion Trains" that left New Orleans at 7:40 a.m. and arrived in Covington at 9:55 a.m. They would leave Covington to head back to New Orleans at 4:55 p.m.

A 1927 Advertisement

On the "Remember Covington..the way it was..way back when..."Facebook page, John Grey said the St. Tammany Special began operating on May 27, 1903 to give "comfortable and quick access to the balmy resorts of the Ozone Belt."

In a newspaper article published at the beginning of the train's service, Grey read that "it was one of the first suburban trains in commission in the country. It ran the day before as a celebration with invitations from the N. O. & Northeastern and East Louisiana officials to rarlroad and newspapermen to make the initial trip. In some stretches the train made a speed of over 60 mph."

Grey goes on to quote the article as saying the train was ventilated from one end to the other and consisted of a combination baggage and club car and three modern coaches. "The windows on the club were practically continuous making for a good view. It was fitted with the most comfortable type of easy chairs, and breakfast was served in the club car, consisting of coffee and eggs, cold meats and relishes and all kinds of drink.The club and coaches were finished in quartered oak," the article noted. 

Cornstalk Fence

Cornstalk fences (and various variations thereof) were popular in New Orleans long ago, and even several early St. Tammany residences were adorned with the unusual enclosures and gates. Here's a picture of a section of cornstalk fence. Click on the image to see a larger view. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sign Dedication at the Park Entrance

This photo shows the dedication of a new sign at  the Entrance to Bogue Falaya Park, Covington, on July 2, 1993. It duplicated a sign that had been located there many years ago, reminding visitors not to litter, but it quoted an old saying rather than giving a harsh warning. The new sign was paid for by funds donated by the sale of music cassettes featuring locally-written songs about the rivers of St. Tammany Parish.

Here is the group at the 1993 dedication for the new sign, and below is a photograph of the original sign at the park entrance. In the old photograph are C. J. "Cyp" Schoen at left, Ronnie Pogue on top, and Beverly Thibodeaux. The photograph was supplied by Carlos Aceves.

The original sign was eventually covered with vines and had to be removed. Originally, Bogue Falaya Park was a "roadside" park owned by the State of Louisiana. When it was no longer needed by the state, plans were made to sell it to the public in 1979. So the park site might have become private property or a condominum complex at that time, if the city hadn't stepped in and acquired the park property. However, city officials did not have the funds needed to maintain the facility, so the park gates were closed until the city could afford to keep it up. "So we acquired the property and just sat on it," said Councilman Donald Primes. Once city funds started to come in to begin improvements to the park, it was opened for public use. The new sign was built with materials from Poole Lumber Company with the design based on the photograph shown above. 

Helping with the installation of the sign was a crew from CLECO, including Bucky Jakins, Paul Sheridan, Frank Gendosa, and Weldon Foxworth. Sign Services of Covington provided the painting of the sign and helped in its installation.

To see a video of the sign being dedicated, click on the video below.

For more information about the 1984 reopening of the park, click on images below.

Here's how the entrance to Bogue Falaya Park looked many years ago.

 The entrance gate built in 1920 served pedestrians, but was modified a few years later to accomodate cars. The two pillars on either side of that gate were retained. They were restored in 2007 along with the historical marker that was placed on them originally. 

Tchefuncta Country Club History

Here's a brief history of how one of the area's earliest residential subdivisions, Tchefuncta Country Club Estates, came to be. Click on the image to enlarge the size of the text. 

For a map showing where Tchefuncta Country Club is located, CLICK HERE.

For more information about the estates, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Covington History Video

The Covington Trailhead Visitors Center and History Museum features a 12 minute video showcasing the history of Covington. HERE IS A LINK to that video on YouTube. It was created in 2011 and premiered at the Visitors Center opening reception.

The video was produced by Dale Anthony Smith and in 2011 won a Telly Award in two categories: History/Biography and Travel/Tourism. To hear Smith tell of the concept and work that went into the production of the film, click on the image below. 

Another video about the history of Covington, complete with many photographs, is located AT THIS LINK.

Wooden Boat Festival Aerial Photographs

Here are some aerial pictures of the Wooden Boat Festival in Madisonville some years ago, before all the large homes were built on the east side of the river. Click on the images to make them larger. 

For a look at Wooden Boat Festival pictures at ground level,

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Highlights of History by H.A. Mackie

Here are two pages containing the "Highlights of St. Tammany Parish" history, especially the Covington area. It was written by H.A. Mackie of Covington. Click on the images below to make them larger. 

Goodbee Intersection - 1975

The photograph below shows the Goodbee U.S. 190 and La. 1077 intersection as it appeared in 1975. The view is from the northeast, with the building shown being the location of the Country Boy One Stop. The second photograph shows the Google Maps aerial view from 2016. To see a larger view, click on each image. To see the Google Maps view in a browser, click here. 



Shopping Centers

No overview of St. Tammany Parish would be complete without turning the spotlight on the shopping centers. Most everyone likes to go shopping every once in a while, whether it be for things they need, want, or just curious to look at, hold in their hands, and fantasize about owning. Here are some photos from across the parish of shopping centers, large and small. Click on the images below to see a larger version. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Mandeville In The Year 2076

After an interview with Mayor Bernard Smith of Mandeville about the future of his community, this article was published in December of 1976. It was the year of the American Bicentennial, and many community leaders were predicting great things for their towns over the next 100 years. CLICK ON the image below to read a larger version.

Covington Grammar School Classes

Here are four class photographs from Covington Grammar School, the three story building on Jefferson Avenue in Covington. Click on the images to make them appear larger.





and fifty years later...