Sunday, June 12, 2016

Columbia Street Landing

Columbia Street Landing, the location on the Bogue Falaya River where it meets the southern end of Columbia Street, is recognized as "the birthplace of Covington." Boats of every shape, size and description docked at the landing, carrying passengers, mail, oysters, cargo and anything else both in and out. Farm produce from areas north of Covington was loaded upon steamboats for transport down the river and across Lake Pontchartrain to New Orleans, and people from New Orleans would arrive at the beginning of summer for a few weeks of rest and recuperation in the healthy pine-scented air. 




Even the King of Mardi Gras would arrive in town via a boat docked at Columbia Street Landing. It was a community gathering spot as well. 



Here are some photos from Columbia Street Landing's heyday. Click on the individual images to see a larger version.















Boats from the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans docked at Columbia Landing, circa 1910.


 
Mrs. Fritzi Martin, president of the St. Tammany Historical Society, and Louis Ross Jr., at right, a board member, pull the cover off the new historical marker denoting Columbia Landing as the birthplace of Covington. The ceremony was part of a recent concert at the foot of Columbia Street where it meets the Bogue Falaya River. The marker tells how the landing was an active harbor where cargo schooners and steamboats linked Covington to other river cities. Crafts docking there brought oysters, mail, and many early community settlers.



When the "Pocket Park" was dedicated at the end of Columbia Street, one of Covington's poets, Carol Harrison Jahncke, wrote a poem about Columbia Landing and its impact on the Covington community. Here it is:

There were ghosts last night at the landing,
And all were hovering quite near
Mr. Kentzel was where I was standing,
Capt. Hanover was down by the pier.

I'd swear there was a ship in the foggy mist.
It was being loaded with freight.
The captain was checking the passenger list.
He and his trusty first mate.

Dr. Randolf Lyons then came down the street
And slapped his editor friend on the back.
It was here that they often did chance to meet,
To await the by-weekly mail pack.

They were dressed in the clothes that were worn in that day,
So different - so very different from mine.
All were happy and smiling, friendly and gay,
And the ladies there looked so fine.

Then I would swear I heard a whistle blow,
And the Captain gave  warning shout,
The mist began to rise - oh so slow...
And gone was the past - as if a light turned out.

Columbia St. Landing is there for us all,
To relax with dreams of the misty mast.
To hear, perhaps, our ancestors call,
And to enjoy our present and past.

                            Carol S. Jahncke