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The Ponchatoula Times
Ponchatoula , Louisiana
May 19, 2011     The Ponchatoula Times
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May 19, 2011

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Food & Entertainment00 iHistorian Jim Perrin gives keynote address :! celebrating 150 years of Ponchatoula :, By BRYAN T. McMAHON : In a brilliant and witty lec- tories he wrote for The Pon- | re that stitched together chatoula Times, historian and of the Ponchatoula his- educator Jim Perrin brought the last century and a half to life for a packed City Council chamber Wednesday night. A Southeastern graduate with a Masters degree in Edu- cation, 32 years a teacher and administrator, much of it serv- ing as principal of Vinyard El- ementary, Perrin is a man at home in Ponchatoula, with a storyteller's love of its history. "Ponchatoula is much big- ger (han the town at the heart The Ned Welles ...fun with a purpose Saturday May 28 th 1-6pm $:25 DONATION FoR TICKETS: CALL 985-386-3511 OR MAIL CHECK blADE PAYABLE TO: NED WELLES ,.EHOLARSHIP FUND I).O. Box 770 I)ONCHATOULA, LA 70454 To benefit the Ned Welles Memorial Scholarship Fund CITY WIPE YARD SALE X PONCHATOULA'S CITY WIDE YARD SALE APPLICATION June 4th 8am to til Application Deadline:May 20,2011 CONTACT INTO: NAME PHONE EMAIL REQUIRED INFORMATION TO BE PUBLISHED ON THE MAP: 1) STREET ADDRESS OF SALE SITE 2) BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SALE ITEMS ( 10-12 WORDS OR LESS) 3) FEE $10.00 PAY TO: PONCHATOULA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (985-386-2536) QUESTION/COMMENTS CONTACT: BRENDA (1-877-285-5698) or (985-386-5776) ***apps with fees received outside sale boundries will be considered a donation to PCOC of Ponchatoula. The pine forest was here before Ponchatoula was here, People settled along the creeks and the rivers, not in .what is now Ponchatoula. The railroad made the big difference in 1850 when it laid track here. James Clark was hired in 1852. He wanted to make money, so he bought the land that is to- day Ponchatoula and he named it after the stream. He laid out the town in a grid pattern, but the streets in Ponchatoula do not run North and South, East and West, but are laid out along the railroad track. There was plenty of forested land. He left four squares for public use (Memorial Park, Kiwanis Park, Athletic Park, and the land now used as a football field at the ju- nior high school). "Railroad construction went smoothly. Thomas Cochran Bates was in charge. In 1854 the railroad was completed. In 1957 James Clark left Pon- chatoula for Cuba. And in 1861 Ponchatoula became a town with a mayor and three alder- men by an Act of Incorpora- tion. Henry Duncan was the first mayor and served for three months, having died in the Civil War which started in 1861. "Six Hundred Thousand American lives were lost in the Civil War. Camp Moore was es- tablished here in Tangipahoa Parish. In February 1862 a troop train was on the tracks. A lumber train left the station without permission and crashed into the troop train. In 1862 federal forces occu- pied Manchac and sent 112 men up from Manchac to Ponchatou- la before retreating. In 1865 the war ended. "In 1869 James Clark's suc- cession was opened and clearly showed that at that time most of Ponchatoula was not sold. Thomas C. Bates bought the town and died a wealthy man in Rochester, New York, The bulk of Ponchatoula was sold to Ja- cob Abels. "Reverend Arthur Tasker was born a slave and grew up to be mayor of Ponchatoula. "The period of 1880 to 1910 was marked by slow growth, but in 1900 the strawberry industry earanked up. The Klondike berry shipped well and enjoyed an early harvest time. The railroad laid a second track and refrig- erated rail cars kept the berries fresh. The bulk of our crop went to Chicago. "Between 1902 and 1911 Pon- chatoula's classic buildings were constructed in the 100 blocks of East and West Pine Street. The 1920's was Ponchatoula's Golden Age. Two large sawmills were built here,: Rathbourne and Williams, resulting in a surge of population. "The highway from Pon- chatoula to New Orleans made Ponchatoula a 'The Gateway to New Orleans.' The Ideal The- atre Bernard Antony built was the center of social life. "In the 1930's the mills shut down, the Depression was on and the banks failed. Straw- berries and vegetables got Pon: chatoula through the Depres- sion. "In 1936 the Rathbourne Mill was reopened as the Louisiana Cypress Company," at which point Perrin interrupted his talk to say, "I would like to ap- peal to city leaders to preserve the exterior of the cypress train engine for future generations." Perrin then touched on Pon- chatoula's spirited drive to sup- port the war effort by donat- THE PONCHATOULA TIMES, MAY 19, 2011, PAGE 3 ing tons of scrap metal, with a grateful government naming two ships in the city's honor. At the city's Centennial, with events starting in 1960, the Ideal Theatre burned and near- ly took downtown with it. Then Hurricane Betsy hit. "In 1960 D.C. Reeves was constructed for black children and Martha Vinyard was built for white children. Afro-Ameri- cans had to go to Hammond to attend high school. "In the 1970s 1-55 and 1-12 were constructed. The Straw- berry Festival began when the strawberry industry was weak, At the Bicentennial of America, Collinswood School was moved downtown to the Edwards prop- erty to serve as our municipal museum, Elmer Candy Compa- ny and the Ponchatoula Com- munity Center were built. "And today we have a grow- Historian Jim Perrin (Times Photo) ing and prosperous community. I love Ponchatoula," said the historian Jim Perrin. Amber Beauchamp wins scholarship Kelly Dixon, secretary of the LBA Education Council presents a scholarship check to Amber Beauchamp. Am- ber's mother, Donna Drago (left) is FPB's Customer Service Supervisor. (Courtesy Photo) Bonnie B's Crawgators Bar IBI. l!: v,,,,l'#|v#m.l] ,] i m m [ i i i li I |:W#l.l,II I l.-[.m Tue-Sun lpm-til (lose Tues.: Open DDDDqrt Night Fri.- Karaoke Wed, 'Ladiesght ........... Sat' -Live Entertainment Thur.-Pool rdu:nament ! Sun.- Band ................ l l I Gator's Den I O On wednesdays: Follow American Idol with cold beer, great drinks, & pizza! I I I i:: LIVE MUSIC 00EVERY "00D-AY . r .k ' 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. CUSTOM n,0000NG 27 rears of lmova SOqe & ality Wodmmldp at Affordable Pdces : ton-sntl, or ayAaant 1108  =FAGAN  -" HAMMOND,