Source: Map 5, Page 22, of the Abita Springs, LA Historical Preservation Survey, June 1980
Prepared by the St. Tammany Parish Planning Commission
According to the survey publication, the Bossier hotel was built in 1867, and the Long Branch Hotel was completed in June of 1880. The Long Branch was built by Joseph Gazin and the main building consisted of 18 rooms with halls and galleries up and down "fitted with every convenience."
The first excursion train arrived at Abita Springs on Sunday, June 26, 1887, and that fostered an even greater need for hotel accommodations.
The Simon's Hotel opened on August 14, 1887, "offering visitors a French kitchen with Parisean style cooking. By late 1888 hotels included the Bossier House, Labat's Hotel, the Long Branch and Simon's.
The report states that "in January 1891, the fine cottage of Gustave Martin and the unfinished two story hotel building of Matthew Brown were entirely consumed by fire." Later in the year, fire destroyed the newly built Bossier Hotel.
By 1892, local newspapers were noting that Abita Springs had hotels named Moran's Hotel, Martin's Hotel, Summer's Hotel, Bossier's Hotel, Labat Hotel, Long Branch and Simons, in addition to the "rumor" of the Great Northern Hotel.
"In 1895, there is mention of the Gem Hotel owned by Rose Martin and A.A. Cooley's Evergreen Cottage," the preservation survey stated. "In April of 1898 the Abita Springs Hotel was opened with Widow O. Aubert being the proprietress."
The Abita Springs Hotel burned in 1900 and was rebuilt with steam heat to accommodate year-round visitors.
"Many fine hotels and cottages were established in Abita Springs due to it development as a major resort center," the preservation survey explained. "The larger hotels such as the Bossier House, Labat, Mutti, Simon's, Long Branch, Abita Springs Hotel and Cottage Company, New Abita Springs Hotel and the Ozone Belt Hotel and Cottages consisted of a main building with several 'bachelor' and 'family' cottages. "
"These hotels were very well patronized at a time when Abita Springs was at its height of popularity. Accommodations for some two thousand guests were available in Abita at its zenith.
"In addition to the hotels, several houses and cottages were established to accommodate summer visitors. Lorio, Barclay, Morin, Martin's, and Strain Cottages to name a few all offered room and board to weekend and summer visitors. "
The survey went on to describe the extensive gardens that surrounded some of the Abita hotels, gardens of which much of the landscaping and plantings still existed in 1980, when the survey was written.