Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Street Car Real Estate Pitch

 Between 1909 and 1918 a motorized street car ran between Covington and Mandeville, passing through Abita Springs. It also ran through three brand new subdivisions that were especially built to be serviced by the street car trolley. They were Helenbirg subdivision, Ozone Park, and Garland Addition, just east of Covington. 

Helenbirg straddled Helenbirg Road, down which the street car trolley ran, and Ozone Park was just south of that. 

The trolley, or "motor car" as it was called, connected with ferry boats arriving from New Orleans, a "great pier" giving them a place to dock and discharge their passengers right into the trolley cars. Its track was thirteen and a half miles long, making it almost twice as long as the St. Charles Avenue Street Car in New Orleans. 

The real estate sales promotion that capitalized on the convenience of the motor car route was heavily advertised by printed materials, including this special promotional booklet shown below. 

One of the features of the booklet was a detailed description of a trolley ride from Mandeville to Covington, the sights along the way, how long it took, etc. The booklet also included a map of the subdivision plots available in Helenbirg.

Trolley Line Booklet Text

Here is the glowing descriptive text found in the booklet:

"Own a home in the heart of the Ozone Belt. Land for sale along the motor road of the St. Tammany and New Orleans Railways and Ferry Company.

"For particulars address the main office of the St. Tammany and New Orleans Railways and Ferry Company, Mandeville, Louisiana, or

"Richard and Riggs Real Estate, Covington , LA, Capt. George E. Millar Real Estate, Abita Springs, LA. "

Picture of man holding trout: Green trout, 6 lbs. 14 oz., 25 inches long, caught in Bogue Falaya River.

Click on the images to make them larger.

This was back in the days when the healthful air was falsely attributed to "ozone," but later research pinpointed the St. Tammany atmosphere to be laden with "terpene," a gas emanated from pine trees, known to be helpful to those with respiratory problems. 

Main Text of Booklet:

"More than a hundred years ago, when New Orleans suffered frequently from the presence of malignant fevers, Bernard Marigny conceived the idea that the ideal  healthful refuge for the people of the city was in St. Tammany Parish.

"It was no idle dream to plan that this parish was the positive location for a suburb of New Orleans. Close proximity to the city makes it an accessible point; bordering Lake Pontchartrain, boating and fishing recreation is promised; the uplands, heavily timbered with pine forests, and watered by spring-fed rivers, a healthful, restful home is guaranteed.

"These three advantages furnish definite qualities of actual value to the home-seeker.

"Because of the excellent line of boats that formerly plied between Mobile and New Orleans, via the many hamlets on the Mississippi Sound, for many years the "Gulf Coast" proved a rival to the St. Tammany interests, but the recent governmental reports declaring the vicinity of Covington and Abita Springs to be the most highly charged ozone section in the United States, and that within its limited radius, the peculiar combination of dry air, heavily charged with the pungent, volatile resins of the pines, made this section singularly healthful and gives to it a positive immunity from contagion. 

"The death rate of the Ozone Belt is ten to 1,000 of population, and the fact that St. Tammany Parish refused to quarantine against infected points during the fever visitations, and of its remarkable record of absolute freedom from pestilence, establishes a name for healthfulness beyond question.

"The fact that today, the medical profession recognize and recommend the Ozone Belt of St. Tammany Parish as a highly salubrious climate especially beneficial to those suffering from asthmatic and pulmonary complaints gives a greater value to this district.

"But aside from these proof positive statements regarding healthful conditions, we wish to present some facts to the general public who are tired of city dust and dirt and wish to go out into a pure atmosphere and clean country to refresh themselves and yet not be entirely out of touch with the real activities of the city. 

"We are offering today land immediately facing the well-drained, well graded, boulevard of the St. Tammany and New Orleans Railways and Ferry Company.

"This beautiful boulevard is one hundred feet wide and its entire length is traversed by the perfectly equipped, up-to-date Motor Cars.

A Trip Along The Motor Road

"Connecting with the St. Tammany Steam Ship Company from West End, the Motor Road starting at the Great Pier at Mandeville passes through the town of Mandeville and out into the most beautiful pine woodland in the country. 

"Passing by Chinchuba, it finds its way into the woods and reaches the well known trout stream Pontchatalawa Creek which is spanned by a splendid bridge, thence through ideal building sites fifty feet above sea level, and on to Abita, entering the town within two blocks of the famous spring.

"From Abita, the road goes through the highly-improved Garland Addition, crosses the Military Road and the Bogue Falaya River and enters Covington, the Parish Seat and commercial center of St. Tammany Parish.

Forty five minutes

"Having made the entire distance in forty-five minutes, the cars stopping anywhere on the road when they are hailed. 

"Along the road close connection is made with the New Orleans and Great Northern R.R. and also with the Baton Rouge, Hammond and Eastern R.R. "

Think of the Convenience!

"Think of it! Living out in the big woods and stepping out of your front gate and hailing a perfectly-equipped, up-to-date street car!!!

"The remarkable convenience of living in the country, and yet only twenty minutes reach of churches, schools, physicians, markets offers an unparalleled situation in our country.

"No Expense of Vehicles. No Embarrassment of Muddy Roads. A regular scheduled car awaits your service. 

"Telephone connection has recently been installed along the line and this convenience is also worthy of note.

"For the special accommodation of school children, the managers have arranged to take pupils to and from school any where on the line for a Round Trip Fare of five cents. 

"The Twice-A-Week excursions on the St. Tammany Steamship Company and the New Camelia Company offer easy and pleasant transportation by way of Lake Pontchartrain. 

"The well-established excursion of the New Orleans and Great Northern on Wednesdays and Sundays afford convenient access to the homes along the St. Tammany and New Orleans Motor Road.

Water Wells

"In this section there are hundred of flowing artesian wells. In Mandeville alone there are four hundred. The complete water system of Covington, with a population of 5,000 is supplied by one splendid well.

"Excellent fishing is afforded by the spring fed rivers. Green trout and perch are plentiful. Quail, wild turkeys, and robins furnish splendid hunting in season. Squirrels and rabbits also abound and fox hunting is one of the most exciting and interesting sports in vogue.

"Early vegetables flourish easily. Poultry and stock are successfully raised. Mandeville and Covington are famed for the beauty and abundance of their flowers. Pecan, fig, and orange trees are exceptionally fine.

"One day in the early spring is sufficient to reveal the gorgeous beauty of the wild flowers and whether it be spring or autumn, summer or winter, the splendid atmosphere is ever the same invigorating tonic that has made the name OZONE famous.


Local Banks

St. Tammany and New Orleans Railways and Ferry Company

Clay Riggs, President
Lewis L. Morgan, Vice president
Joseph Birg, Secretary and Treasurer

Motor cars connect with the boats of the St. Tammany Steamship Company at Mandeville.

Regular schedule from Mandeville, Ozone Park, Abita and Covington.

Close connection with the New Orleans and Great Northern and Baton Rouge, Hammond and Eastern Railroads. 

Motor cars may be signalled at all intermediate points on the road. 

Then at the end of the booklet, came the map of the trolley car route, showing it passing right through the middle of Helenbirg Subdivision. A handy diagram showing the lots of the subdivision was also included. 

Helenbirg Subdivision Map

Or the whole map stitched together....

This booklet was found as part of the scrapbook collection of Joe Ducros in Abita Springs. 

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