The History of Lake Charles
(transcribed by Leora White, May 2006)
A THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF THE
GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY
By Stewart Alfred Ferguson
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS
Stewart Alfred Ferguson, the eldest of four sons of a Methodist minister, was born at Carthage, Missouri on January 27, 1900. Here he remained until 1911 when he moved with his parents to the state of South Dakota.
Completing the grade schools at Gregory, South Dakota, he entered high school in Mt. Vernon, South Dakota and remained two years before entering the Dakota Wesleyan University at Mitchell, South Dakota. He graduated from the Academy in 1918.
He enlisted in the United States Army in 1918 and was released the same year.
After a hectic career in college education from 1918 to 1924, he received his A. B. degree from Dakota Wesleyan University. His major subject was English, and his minor subjects were History and Economics.
A desire to go south culminated in his being employed as Assistant Principal and Athletic Coach in the Dry Creek, Louisiana High School. The following year, he obtained a position as Coach and Instructor in the Lake Charles, Louisiana High School. Remaining here three years, he obtained a position as Coach and Instructor in History in the Bolton High School in Alexandria, Louisiana.
In 1929, he was called back to his alma mater, Dakota Wesleyan University, as Director of Athletics where he has remained until the present time.
His graduate work has been done in Tulane University, Louisiana State University, and the University of Illinois.
I wish to make acknowledgement to the following people who so kindly assisted me in my search for material: Mrs. Laura Dees, City Librarian of Lake Charles, Mrs. Gardner, Librarian of the Lake Charles High School, Mrs. N. J. Bryan, and Miss Elizabeth Mandell, and to the many other people with whom I held interesting conversations regarding the early history of Lake Charles.
I wish to express appreciation to Professor James Van Kirk of Dakota Wesleyan University who first interested me in the field of History and who provided me with such a fine background for my graduate work.
I am sincerely grateful to the History Department of Louisiana State University for the most pleasurable and instructive hours that I have spent in the field of study.
To those who may have to wade through this thesis preliminary to its acceptance, I express sympathy and thanks for their patience. To Dr. W. H. Stephenson, who has and must assume the chief labor, I am indebted to a great degree. His kindness has already been responsible for my completion of the work.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter One Shadow History
Chapter Two Nebular History
Chapter Three Charleston Develops Into the Town of Lake Charles
Chapter Four An Epoch of Wood
Chapter Five Emergence of Civic Pride
Chapter Six An Era of Northern Immigration
Chapter Seven The City of Lake Charles Emerges
Chapter Eight Lake Charles Attempts Many Things
Chapter Nine A Depressing Year
Chapter Ten Prosperity Returns
Chapter Eleven The Panic of 1907 Reaches Lake Charles
Chapter Twelve Changes in Parish and City Governments
Chapter Thirteen A Real Estate Boom
Chapter Fourteen Lake Charles Develops New Industries and New Trade
Chapter Fifteen The War Years
Chapter Sixteen A Building Era
Chapter Seventeen Lake Charles Closes a Ten-Year Period of Progress
Chapter Eighteen Lake Charles Obtains A Ship Channel to the Sea
Chapter Nineteen Lake Charles Reaches a High Peak in Building Activity
Chapter Twenty Promises for a Brilliant Future
LIST OF TABLES
Register of Land Deeds Issued from 1880 to 1890
Consolidated Bank Statements from 1899 to1912
Bonded Debt of Lake Charles in 1919
Crop Planting in Acreage in Calcasieu Parish
Value of Yearly Building Permits from 1911 to 1921
Increase in Crop Production in Prairie Lands Tract
New Buildings Erected in 1919-20
Growth of Masonic Lodge from 1859 to 1921
Comparative Population Table
Industrial Index of Lake Charles in 1922
Corporations Filing Charters in 1923
Corporations Chartered in 1926
THE HISTORY OF LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA
Many legends are in existence, which concern the early life of Lake Charles and the Calcasieu country. Like all legends, they are undoubtedly colored by imagination. Historical facts have, perhaps, been distorted and twisted to make a better tale. Never-the-less, I feel that this misty realm of almost- forgotten lore deserves a place in the thesis by serving as an atmospheric background for the presentation of the true and accurate history.
So, I have felt my way backward along the pathway of facts and penetrated this shadow history, sifting and sorting in the most logical and historical manner of which I am capable these many narratives for what I believe is a true reflection of these early events. In places the shadows were so dense and the facts so few that I have been forced to eliminate some of the most romantic aspects of this history. Shadows that were illuminated only by the sheen of charm and romance, which, I believe, is more noticeable in Lake Charles than in any other city of Louisiana of which I have knowledge, I have rejected as belonging solely to the field of fiction. Shadows that were out lined by rays of facts, reaching back and reducing fantastic and phantom characteristics to human forms and life-like accomplishments I have included. This has been my procedure in the presentation of this chapter of shadow history.
Long after the North American continent had thrust itself from the bosom of the oceans, Louisiana still remained a part of the ocean bed. Whales and sea monsters disported themselves above the present site of Lake Charles. Evidence of this fact was displayed in the windows of the American Press office in Lake Charles two years ago. The exhibit consisted of the skull of a whale unearthed about two miles north of the city and a part of the jaw-bone of a sea monster, which, as far as I have been able to learn, has not yet been properly classified.
The Mississippi River then began its endless task of creating Louisiana, switching its course, according to some of our geologists, from the Sabine River on the west to its present course in the eastern part of the state. This comparatively newly created soil of Louisiana dates only from the close of the Paleozoic Period. The soil belongs to the Quaternary classification. (1) The constant depositing of sediment was undoubtedly helped either by a lowering of the oceans or by a rising of the ocean bed. Sections of the lower part of Louisiana thrust themselves above the water, inclosing large lakes, which often imprisoned whales as, may be inferred from the number of whalebones found along the edges of the lakes below Lake Charles. These lakes bordered by narrow fringes of soil prevented tree growth and explains the very clearly defined tree line, which reaches to, about the north limit of the city. Above this tree line, the pine woods extend to the north limits of the state, and below it, the flat prairies extend to the shore of the Gulf. Lack of soil fertility around Lake Charles may be explained also by the above theory - that the enclosed lakes covered the area about the city until a comparatively recent date. The bank of rich, black soil twenty miles south of Lake Charles, surrounding the present site of Cameron, was probably the restraining wall between the lake and the Gulf of Mexico.
Long ages passed. Then, for some unknown reason a mighty torrent of water swept through the southwestern part of Louisiana, cutting a very deep channel, one of the deepest in the United States, and creating the Calcasieu River. Ordinary drainage could never have created the depth of this river in view of its short length and its slight fall. The lakes, thereupon, began draining through this channel, and the imperial parish of Calcasieu was born.
An interesting account of the change from sea to land is given in a manuscript written by William Littell Bradley several years ago. "One hundred years ago Cameron lay at the bottom of the sea, while eastward and westward stretched a region of blind bayous and floating bogs. There were no forests in Calcasieu then, for all the country lying between the Bloody River and the Stream of Dispute was a rolling prairie, which extended from the great marsh far into the domains of the North. But the Eternal One commanded his servants that they should plant a forest in this fair land. And the fowls of the air did bring seeds of the Cyprus tree and cast them into the low lands along the rivers, and they brought also pine seeds and scattered them over the face of the prairie, beginning at the north border and working southward. Then came the squirrels and helped the birds, the oaks sprang up along the banks of all superfluous branches. Ages rolled on, and the sea with its border of marshes fled before the advance of the forests."
As the swamps drained and the bayous assumed definite form, there came in from the northeastern part of Texas a band of roving Indians, known as the Attakapas and belonging to the Attakapan family. They soon became known as "Man-Eaters" from their fierce and war-like natures. (2) For many years they roamed through southwest Louisiana, making their headquarters for the most part along Vermillion Bayou. They speedily drove away the remnants of other Indian tribes who had settled in southern Louisiana, among whom were the Cherokee, Choctaw, and the Coushatta. These tribes withdrew sullenly and only awaited an opportunity to avenge themselves upon the Attakapas. The time came at last, and the tribes burst upon the Attakapas with a vengeance seldom recorded in history, resulting in the almost complete annihilation of the Attakapas. This was perhaps the greatest Indian battle fought in the southern states, and it raged over and near the present site of St. Martinville. In 1885, there were only four members of the "Man-Eaters" in Louisiana and five in Texas, and the tribe is now extinct.
(3) There are numerous evidences of Indian occupation around Lake Charles. There is a sandy bank along the Calcasieu River about five miles south of the city where pots, arrowheads, and beads have been found, which indicate that it might have been a permanent camp of the Indians at one time. Twelve miles north of Lake Charles was a settlement of Indians who left so many evidences of their occupation that the site is now known as Indian Village. The Indian history of Calcasieu Parish came to an end shortly before the arrival of the white settlers. Most of them continued westward or sought places which they knew would be less accessible or less attractive to the white settlers than the beautiful Calcasieu country. The few Indians who remained intermarried with the French and Spanish adventurers and created a class of people who now comprise quite a number of settlements in the Parish. The people have become known as "Red Bones." They are peculiar in many respects, and preserve their identity by their clannish attitude.
The first white settler who came to the Calcasieu County was Martin Canacersae Le Bleu, a man of very romantic and adventuresome nature. Leaving Bordeaux, France, in 1775, he came to Virginia where he lived for five years. Finding the times there too troublesome on account of the Revolutionary War, he married Miss De la Marion, whose parents had migrated from the same section of France that he had, and started westward in a two-wheeled bullock cart. Long months passed before he crossed the Calcasieu River at a point about six miles northeast of the present site of Lake Charles. His wife urged him to end his journey at this place, for it was the most beautiful spot they had encountered on their long journey. The drooping Cyprus trees and the stately, moss-hung oaks seemed to her to be the paradise they had been seeking. But Martin Le Bleu was not yet satisfied. He again turned westward and shortly came to the shore of Lake Charles. Finding it impossible to ford the enlarged river which widens into the lake at this point, he listened at last to his wife and turned back, settling about six miles east of the lake along what is now called English Bayou. (4) There is some dispute about the year in which he arrived. Some authorities place the date as early as 1770, but the most probable one and the one which was given me by his closest descendent is 1781. (5) He erected a small log cabin, which still stands. In this cabin, four children were born to Martin Le Bleu and his wife: Caroline, Martin, Mace, and Arsone, each of whom became important in the affairs of the early settlement.
Shortly after the arrival of the Le Bleus, another migrant appeared, Lewis Reon. He settled on the west bank of Lake Charles, but his future history was left unrecorded. (6) The next settler to arrive was Charles Sallier, a native of Spain. He achieved distinction by being the first white man to build a home within the present city limits of Lake Charles, erecting a small, log cabin, twenty feet square, on the site of the present Barbe home on Shell Beach. Feeling the need of a helpmate, he courted Caroline Le Blue, the daughter of Martin Le Bleu and the first white child born in southwest Louisiana. After a brief courtship, they were married, creating the first permanent family in Lake Charles. Their marriage occurred during the year 1802. (7) It is fitting that the city and the lake bear the name of this founder and first settler at the present time.
There were probably other settlers who came to the Calcasieu country in the interval between Martin Le Bleu’s arrival and that of Charles Sallier. The "Testimony of Gregorio Mora" reveals the fact that he was appointed "to collect tithes of all residents who lived or had stocks west of the River Culeashue", for the term, 1794-1795. (8) But many of these settlers either moved away shortly after coming or their families became extinct. Only the Le Bleus and the Salliers and their connections left permanent records. These two families were very prolific, and they intermarried freely. Caroline Le Bleu, the wife of Charles Sallier, became the maternal ancestor of a large group of Salliers, Le Bleu, and Heberts. Other families who trace their origin back to the same source are the Barbes, Rosteets, and the Moss clans. The present population of Lake Charles is permeated with the descendants of the Sallier family, so much so that if it were possible for Charles Sallier to return now, he could truly say that he founded a town of his own flesh and blood.
The settlers who came to the Calcasieu country between 1780 and l819 obtained their lands in various ways. The first migrants usually purchased the lands for very small considerations from a few of the Indians who still remained in the country. These purchases were later confirmed by the Spanish government. (9) Quite a number settled on what was designated and which is still commonly known as the Rio Hondo lands, the original title being based on a Spanish grant to the settler in return for some stipulated service to be or having been rendered, or some other consideration. (10) Rio Hondo means "Dark River" in Spanish, and the name must have been applied because of the dark and heavy foliage overhanging the river. The land west of the Calcasieu River seems to have been given to settlers for no consideration other than occupancy. About two hundred and fifty settlers filed claims of this type prior to the Treaty of 1819 between the United States and Spain. (11) One such claim reads: "One George Fogleman filed his notice, claiming by virtue of settlement and occupancy prior to February 22, 1819, a tract of land lying within the late neutral strip of territory, situated on the west side of the Quelqueshue River on the Spanish Trace, about two miles above Charles’ Lake."
(12) After the Treaty of 1819, the United States recognized and respected the land grants made by the Spanish, but did so only after the claimant produced absolute proof. (13) In this treaty and in a later Congressional Act of 1823, the Arayo Hondo was located in Louisiana, east of the Sabine River. The Calcasieu River was known now as Bayou Quelqueshue.
(14) It seems strange that the imprint of Spanish occupancy is not more deeply marked in the Calcasieu locality. Very few Spanish names remain to remind us that the Spanish once held sway. Their obliteration is one of those changes which come so naturally and so easily that no reason can be ascribed. The change was soon made in the name "Rio Hondo" which became Quelque Shoue, from which again, the euphonious name of Calcasieu was evolved. A phonic record of the latter change may be heard in the pronunciation "Culcashu" yet given the river by many old inhabitants. (15) Dr. William A. Read of Louisiana State University has traced the name back and discovered that it was derived from Attakapa "Katkosh" (eagle) and "yok" (to dry). "Crying Eagle" was the war title of an Attakapa Chief. (16) One comes across many curious spellings of the name - Calcasuit, Culqueshoe, Culkeshoe, Kelkechute, Quelqueshue, etc. Darby writes it Calcasu in 1816 and Calcasiu in 1817; Ludlow writes it Quelqueshoe in 1818; and La Tourrette writes Calcasieu in 1846.(17)
When one looks among the early names of the early settlers for Spanish names, there are also few to be found. The names of those who came prior to 1824 follow: Le Bleus, Charles Sallier, Reese Perkins, Jacob Ryan -- all of whom settled on the east bank of the Calcasieu River. West of the river were, among others, Joseph Cornow, Hiram Ours, Dempsey Ile, Hardy Coward and John, his brother, William, and Archibald Smith, Elias Blunt, David Choate, Philip Deviers, Joshua Johnson, John Gilchrist, George Ower, Isaac Foster, Joseph Clar, Mitchell Neal, John Henderson, and a man named Self.(18) These people all came before 1824 to obtain the Rio Hondo claims.
History records only in part the story of these early settlers. The preponderance of English names signifies that the English Settlers were those who recorded their claims to lands. Many others did not think it necessary or had good reasons for not recording their claims, at least in their own names. Among these were a number of French refugees who had fled from France for political reasons. It is said that some of them were aristocratic in their lineage. The Acadians, who had been driven out of Nova Scotia in the latter part of the eighteenth century, left little trace of their coming in historical records, but the large number of their descendants who now live in Lake Charles and the Calcasieu country is sufficient evidence that many settled there.
There are many legends woven around and connected with the early history of the Le Bleu and Sallier families. Some of these are told with such accuracy and minuteness of detail that we can scarcely help but place some credence in the stories. The most romantic of these concern Jean Lafitte. I believe that the story of his exploits around Lake Charles, which is generally accepted as being true by the inhabitants, will prove to be interesting and add a touch of the romantic which is so distinctly the personality of early Lake Charles.
It has been proved beyond a doubt that this great pirate made Lake Charles his headquarters for a number of years. There is not a river nor a lake in that vicinity that has its enticing story of mysterious visits made by the sea rover. The unsettled condition of the country during the early part of the nineteenth century made these visits possible.
His vessels sailed swiftly up the deep rivers or silent bayous into the sparsely settled districts where, hid from the eye of the law, they discharged their cargoes of contraband goods and stolen slaves. Or, perchance, these swift sea wolves were laden with fabulous stores of jewels and Spanish gold, which, upon the first stormy night, were to be buried upon some lonely lake shore or in the depths of the forest. If Creole legends are true, a captive was slain and buried with each box of treasure that this spirit might guard the spot from vandals.
Several years passed after the arrival of the Le Bleus and the Salliers with few happenings of unusual interest. Then, one day, Charles Sallier thrilled with excitement and wonder as a strange clipper-schooner carrying an enormous spread of canvas dropped anchor in the lake. His wonder increased as he noticed the heavy complement of men and several brass cannon on the deck.
As he watched, a boat was quickly lowered and a half-dozen armed men entered it. A landing was made on Shell Bank, and two men quickly made their way to the Sallier home. The most distinguished looking of the two was tall and dark. He greeted Sallier very courteously and desired to make arrangements for a daily supply of fresh meat and vegetable. His request was granted, and in return for the favor, he brought ashore wines, brandies, and tobacco. The gracious hospitality of the commander was spread about through the little settlement, and for many nights, the settlers were entertained on board the schooner that lay at anchor off Shell Bank. This was the coming of Lafitte to Lake Charles.
Lafitte was at this time about thirty years of age, very handsome, and a bold and fearless sailor. To the settlers, he became a friend and served them as faithfully as he did the great Napoleon later.
The years passed with Lafitte returning at irregular intervals and remaining for weeks at a time should the United States war vessel be patrolling the coast. His men went into camp on the lake shore when they were not engaged. Lafitte visited the settlers, explored the county, or made long, overland trips, penetrating as far east as the Mississippi River.
At rare intervals, the vessels of the United States government would obtain trace of Lafitte. On one such occasion, he was chased to the mouth of the Calcasieu, but he slipped away from them under cover of darkness and put out to sea. Another night Lafitte slipped past a government boat stationed at the mouth of the Calcasieu River under cover of fog and reached Lake Charles in safety. Again the sea-rover was returning from an expedition with a vast amount of treasure on board. He was intercepted by a United States man-of-war, but escaped for the time being to Lake Charles. Lafitte learned from sentinels posted down the river that the commander was making preparations to send a strong force up the river to bring him to bay. His plans were formed at once. While a party of his most trusted men were engaged in unloading the treasure and burying it by night, a large force was set to work building fortifications on Shell Bank. A number of cannon were planted behind the embankment, and when preparations were at last completed, a shot from the newly- finished fort sank the schooner as she lay anchor in the lake. However, the work was in vain, for the commander of the gunboat suddenly set sail and was heard of no more in this locality.
The old fortifications erected during the emergency are still to be seen on the bank of the lake near the Barbe home. It has been known for many years a "Dead Man’s Lake." It appears to be a hill about a hundred feet long, twenty or thirty feet high, and about the same in width. It is separated from the lake by a rampart composed mostly of small shells. Some say that the sunken vessel can still be seen at low water, but there is no definite proof existent that is the old Lafitte vessel. It was whispered by a very old Negro, who died some years ago, that several small boxes of gold were left aboard, but were afterward recovered and buried down the river near Clooney’s shipyard.
The movements of Lafitte and his men were often as mysterious and unaccountable as they were sudden and unexpected. One night with no warning, camp was broken and the pirate and his crew sailed away in the darkness. So sudden and hasty was the departure that a young Negro cook named Catalon, who was sleeping apart from the others, was left behind. Some months later when Lafitte’s vessel returned, Catalon was bought from the commander for two quarters of beef.
Shortly after this incident, Lafitte offered his services to the United States government and took a gallant part in the Battle of New Orleans. The fact that a portion of his life is clouded in mystery cannot but emphasize the belief that a part of this mysterious period was spent in the Calcasieu country.
Among the stories regarding Lafitte is one, which states that after receiving pardon from the United States government, he sailed directly to the Island of Elba and, secretly taking Napoleon on board, landed him safely on the coast of France. History fails to reveal the name of the commander of the vessel taking Napoleon to France, so there may be some truth in this story. This statement is corroborated by persons living in Lake Charles who claim to have heard it from their grandparents.
Another story states that after Napoleon had been defeated at Waterloo and had realized that his power was forever broken in Europe, he conceived the idea of escaping to America. Accordingly, with a vast amount of gold and jewels, Napoleon embarked a second time with Lafitte and set sail for America, but he was apprehended and placed under arrest before he had time to pass the line of vessels which guarded the coast. This story is in common circulation in Calcasieu Parish. It further states that Lafitte escaped and sailed for America, bringing the wealth of Napoleon to Louisiana where he buried it along the Calcasieu River. While this may seem to be an idle tale, still it is by no means improbable, for Napoleon did try to escape to America.
There is probably no place in America that has so many stories of buried treasure as Southwest Louisiana. The deep streams, the silent bayous with their great Cyprus trees and Spanish moss, the shell reefs, and the lakes surrounded by impenetrable sea marshes, were safe hiding places for any treasure. Tradition tells us of strange vaults which resembled tombs and which were marked with iron crosses. The existence of these vaults was known to a few, and they were thought by others to be in the resting places of the early settlers. One story tells of a schooner anchored one morning opposite one of the tombs, which supposedly contained treasure; some weeks later the tomb was found broken open. No bones were found, but several Spanish coins of solid gold lay scattered on the ground. Mention is still made regarding a chart, which is supposed to still be in existence. This chart located the spot on the shore of Big Lake where Spanish doubloons were buried, but was valueless because the encroaching water of the lake destroyed the landmarks, and though searched for faithfully, the gold still lies undisturbed under the waters of the lake.
Contraband Bayou, so called because Lafitte’s crew unloaded on its banks his cargoes of contraband goods, is said to hold in its silent depths chests of pure gold. It leads off from the Calcasieu River just below the city of Lake Charles and reenters it a few miles farther on, thus making a wonderful place in which to elude pursuers. It was impossible to trap any vessels in it without guarding both entrances upon the Calcasieu River. Tradition states that Lafitte’s slain captives, who were left to guard his treasure, are still to be seen when the shades of night have fallen and the mists hang low. The negroes living in the coves of the bayou hasten home when belated to avoid the marshes that skirt the bayou, not willing that night should catch them in the timber where stand the trees curiously marked with Roman Letters. The even a casual observer these trees are worthy of notice.
Living not far from Contraband Bayou for a great many years was a very old Negro, Gaston Duhon. He had the appearance of a Moor and the manners of a very cultivated man. His reputation for being a quite remarkable man existed through out the settlement. Many believed him to have been one of Lafitte’s slaves; he possessed a grace of speech and manner that did not belong to the black race as we know it. At the time of his death, he was over a hundred years of age, and although bent double with the weight of years, his mind was clear to the very last. If he fancied a person, he would talk in a very interesting manner of Lafitte, but he never acknowledged that he was the pirate’s slave. However, it was believed that he know too much of the sea rover’s life not to have been associated with him.
No mention of the adventures of Lafitte is complete without the story of the schooner which is said to have sunk in the marches south of Lake Charles. Its hold is said to contain chests of gold coin and jewels gathered on the Spanish Main by Lafitte in his younger days.
Thus, the deep, silent Calcasieu and its tributaries hold the secrets of Lafitte. People in the Calcasieu country say that is the water of the river could speak, they would reveal the resting place of Lafitte. It is said that there had been no true account given of the death and burial of the pirate, and many believe that the great sea man was buried on the eastern shore of Lake Charles and that his spirit still guards the treasure of Napoleon.
(19) A number of interesting stories are told about Mace Le Bleu, the younger son of Martin Le Bleu. He was supposed to have acted as Lafitte’s agent in the disposal of stolen goods. Most of the goods were said to gave been taken to Opelousas. His sister, Caroline, the wife of Charles Sallier, was reputed to have received a number of valuable slaves from the pirate because of his attempt to atone for his discourtesy in swearing in her presence at one time. These slaves have descendants who still live in Lake Charles.
While some of the stories are probably untrue, still these early settlers lived in an adventuresome manner, and could we learn the true story of their lives, we would undoubtedly find adventures as thrilling as the above. As far as we can learn, they lived as true backwoodsmen, raising only enough crop to feed themselves. They had no commerce with the outside world and were content to live care-free lives. Mention is made here and there of herds of cattle, which came into Opelousas from the Calcasieu country, but no definite information can be obtained regarding the raising of cattle on any large scale until 1830.
After the acquisition of this territory by the United States, it was loosely jointed to St. Landry Parish with the parish seat being located at Opelousas. Here, all the people of the Calcasieu country were forced to go to transact their official business. The heads if families usually made one trip each year to the parish seat to lay in a supply of provisions for the coming year. These trips were usually made in ox carts. People outside the Calcasieu region paid little attention to affairs there and had very little information concerning them. In fact, Judge Xavier Martin in 1827 wrote a brief description of the country in which he stated it to be a barren waste.
(20) Due to the inattention paid this country, it was natural that one man be recognized as the chief arbiter of disputes, which were certain to arise. This man was Reese Perkins, and the years of his importance in the settlement lay roughly between 1810 and 1830. He was made the first justice of peace, and his courts were administered with more backwoods justice than with the fine legal points. He sent Elias Blunt to the penitentiary for five years for harboring a runaway slave belonging to John Henderson. One morning the Negro was seen leaving Blunt’s house, where his wife lived, and upon this meager evidence Blunt was arrested and tried before Perkins. The defendant attempted to plead with Perkins for a mitigation of the punishment, as he was a poor man and had a large family. Suddenly, Perkins thundered out, "Shut your mouth, or I’ll make it ten years." Perkins started his son with Blunt to the penitentiary and gave him a note to Mr. Bell at Opelousas in order to assist the boy in landing the prisoner at the penitentiary. He met Bell on the outskirts of town and handed him his father’s letter. When Bell read the letter, he inquired of the boy the whereabouts of the prisoner. "Here he is." said the young man, pointing to Blunt. "Young man," said Bell, "You had better take that man back and turn him loose. Your father had no right to sentence him to the penitentiary, and if some of the Opelousas lawyers get hold of the story, they will give you trouble. So, the best thing you can do is to get the prisoner back home as soon as possible and release him." The boy took him at his word and went back. The prisoner was released, and the matter was hushed up.
(21) Hardy Coward became prominent in this community shortly after Reese Perkins. He was the next justice of the peace, and is noted for having married more people than any other man in the early settlement. It is reputed that he refused to accept money for his services. He was, perhaps, the best liked man in the settlement.
(22) Jacob Ryan, a native of Georgia, immigrated first to Vermillion Parish, but removed to Lake Charles in 1817. He selected one hundred and sixty acres on the east shore of the lake where part of the city now stands.
(23) He is often spoken of as being the father of the town. Building a sawmill at the foot of what is now Division Street, he established quite an enterprise before his death. His son carried on his father’s business. Tradition states that when Jacob Ryan was surveying his land, his chain caught on a bitter root weed where Muller’s store now stands, causing the inaccuracy which now exists along Ryan Street.
(24) Now came a period in the life of the community of which we have no record. From the time of Louisiana Act No.111 of l831 which provided, "That hereafter the votes of the additional precinct shall be taken at the house of Reese Perkins on the Calcasieu River in lieu of Stephen Henderson’s."
(25) There is nothing of record which occurred until 1840. We can only infer that a few more settlers came to the community and that the times were very quite and peaceful. Frontier conditions help to account for our lack of information concerning these years. It is certain that progress was made and that a community spirit developed, for in 1840, a demand was made for the creation of a separate parish. Other portions of St. Landry which had a larger population and more fertile territory made their request for a parish government much later on.
This completes the period of shadow history, much of which is indefinite, and much of which seems to be unconnected and unrelated. However, I have spent these pages attempting to create a background and an atmosphere for the development of the city. When this period of shadow history ended in 1840, there were two families living within the city limits of what is now Lake Charles: those of Charles Sallier and Jacob Ryan. The other inhabitants to be were tilling small farms and herding small droves of cattle up and down the Calcasieu River.
The first portion of old St. Landry Parish to bread away and establish a parish government of its own was the Calcasieu country. A great deal of dissatisficaction [sic] had prevailed among the people because it was necessary to make the long and hard journey to Opelousas to transact official business. The General Assembly readily granted their request. The Act created the new parish, approved March 24, 1840, follows:
"AN ACT TO CREATE A NEW PARISH, TO BE CALLED THE PARISH OF CALCASIEU"
"SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the State of Louisiana, in General Assembly convened, that from and after the passage of this act, all that territory in the parish of St. Landry, within the following boundaries, to wit: Commencing at the mouth of the River Mermentau, thence up said bayou to the mouth of the Bayou Nez Pique, thence up said bayou to the mouth of Cedar Creek, thence due north to he dividing line between the parishes of St. Landry and Rapides, thence along said line to the Sabine River, thence down the said river to the mouth, thence along the sea coast to the place of beginning, shall form and constitute a new parish, to be called the parish of Calcasieu."
The Act contains eighteen other sections, constituting the parish and providing for its legal machinery. It was signed by William Debuys, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Felix Garcia, Lieutenant Governor and President of the Senate; and A. B. Roman, Governor.
Thus, Calcasieu Parish was created, the largest in the state of Louisiana, embracing a total area of nearly 2,000,000 acres, making it larger than either the state of Rode Island or Delaware, and larger than the kingdom of Belgium. Up to 1912 when it was divided into four parishes, it was known as Imperial Calcasieu. Its lack of development, however, is revealed by a speech delivered by Judge G. A. Fournet at the laying of the corner stone of the new court house on the 28th of October, l890. "Without having recourse to statistics, I will simply state that within the life and recollection of the youngest among you, the population of Calcasieu was the smallest in the state of Louisiana. Although the largest in territory, it was the last opened to settlement. Its immense prairies, traveled by no roadway, save here and there the tracks of the huntsman and the stock-gatherer, had not yet been started by the shriek of the locomotive or the roar of the railroad train. The tasseled corn, the rippling wave of the sugar cane, and the loaded crests of the mellow rice field where unknown from the Mermentau to the Sabine swamp. Our wealth and timber, the finest and best in the world; pine, unequalled in usefulness and cypress, unrivaled in durability, inviting the wants of making and courting the industry of man covered our virgin forests with giants of their kind, from the 30th parallel to the limits of Rapides and Vernon. Age, winds, and storms alone tumbled their giant frames, while the steel destined to fell them laid as yet entombed in the bowels of the earth, undiscovered and unforced." (26)
The first seat of justice and the court house, the nucleus of the future city of Lake Charles, was located about six miles east of the present city of Lake Charles on an airline and about twenty-five miles by way of the Calcasieu River. (27) It was called Marion, and it was but a very small hamlet with a cluster of log cabins around the small, frame courthouse. This post was a resting place for drovers passing with their herds of cattle from Texas to the New Orleans market. It was located here because the river was easy to ford at this point. The place is now known as Old Town, and but for the name, one would never suspect its having been a town at all, or have been the parish seat. In his Southwest Louisiana, Perrin uses a few metaphors to describe it passing glory: "The finger of time has written ‘Ichabod’ above her gates, and like ancient Rome the spider weaves its web in her palaces, the owl sings his watch-song in her towers." (28)
That there was no great wealth in the parish at this time may be seen in an act of 1841 by which "it was provided that there be two assessors of the Parish of Calcasieu, each of whom was to receive a salary of $160 a year; one half to be paid by the state and one half by the parish." (29)
Marion never assumed an importance grater than that of a stopping place for transients. The fact of its being the parish seat did not contribute any to its growth other than that of the two or three officials who carried on the parish government. One or two saw-mills were set up, but as they were set up, and as time went by, it was soon discovered that mills would be more profitable on the lakefront of Lake Charles, the lake provided a good place to catch and anchor the rafts of logs, as they came down the river, and it also wasn’t long before there came to be a greater population on the lake front than in the town of Marion. There was some adverse sentiment, however, to moving the parish seat. An agreement was finally reached whereby Jacob Ryan and Samuel A. Kirby offered to donate a court house site in addition to moving the court house should the citizens of Marion agree to the removal of the parish seat.
So, in the early part of 1852, the courthouse was placed on a flat-boat by Kirby and Ryan and rowed down to its present site. The name given to the new parish seat was Charleston, which was later changed to that of Lake Charles.
Thus, the city of Lake Charles was founded. The nucleus, definitely forming after several years of shifting locality, centered on the east shore of the Lake Charles, probably the most beautiful location for a city in the state of Louisiana. The effort of Jacob Ryan in locating the town on the banks of Lake Charles has been commemorated in the name of the chief street of the city. It is entirely fitting that we remember him as the father of Lake Charles.
CHARLESTOWN DEVELOPS INTO THE TOWN OF LAKE CHARLES
A little cluster of homes gradually grew up around the courthouse and the tiny saw-mill which Jacob Ryan built at the foot of what is now Division Street. (30) This saw-mill furnished all the lumber that built early Lake Charles. A few of the old settlers moved into town, two or three stores were built, and now and then a schooner was enticed to stopping at the little community nestling on the east side of the Lake Charles. Thus, a municipality took form in the midst of the back wood settlements.
It is quite difficult to picture in our minds the primitive beginning of Lake Charles. Several bits of description and a few incidents related by the early settlers of the fifties, however, may help us to visualize more clearly the tiny village.
Jacob Ryan and Samuel Kirby owned farms which covered the greater part of all that is now included within the city limits of Lake Charles. Ryan for many years grew potatoes on the strip of land between Kauffman’s Corner and the Court House. The site of the high school was covered by a large pond on which swam thousands of game birds. Choice lots on the main street of the sold for $50 each. The children swam on a pond located on the present site of the post office. The remainder of the city was covered by a dense pine grove. One Sunday morning services in the Baptist Church were disturbed by a large, brown bear, which came up the lake bank, ambled across the courthouse lawn, and trotted up to the church door. Deer were very plentiful, and it was not at all unusual to see one trot across the lane which served as the main street. One morning a deer was cornered in the yard of a man whose house adjoined the courthouse yard. The only professional man in the community was Samuel Kirby who could sometimes be persuaded to drop his farm work to unravel some legal problems, which were bothering citizens at the courthouse. There was little need for his services, however, according to the parish record books of that period. The first record book contained all the transactions for the period 1840 to 1862. During that time, only four deeds were recorded. (31) The first school conducted by Thomas Rigmaiden, a young employee of Jacob Ryan, comprised the Ryan children who learned their A. B. C.’s from him in the evening after his work in the Ryan saw-mill was finished. From the foregoing, one can see that there was little to distinguish the village from the backcountry.
In the autumn of 1855, there came to Charlestown one of her most important citizens, Captain Daniel Goos. At the time of his arrival, there were only four other families in the settlement: The Ryan, Hodges, Pithon, and Bilbo families, all of whom have important streets in Lake Charles named for them. Captain Goos established his home in what is now the northern section of Lake Charles, and which was named for him. His land embraced the present precinct of Goosport.
Captain Goos soon established a mill on the spot where its immense successor, the Calcasieu Long Leaf Lumber Company’s mill now stands. The Goos mill had a very important part in building the town. His old, upright saw sliced the logs into strips with the bark adhering to both sides, which the carpenters could remove at their leisure. This kind of lumber brought $18 in gold per thousand feet, and, as the only chance to reach the outside world was by water, it was but natural that the old pioneer should extend his activities to schooner building. So, ways were established, and employment was furnished for quite a large number of carpenters. The Goos fleet of schooners, tugboats, and steamboats soon became a large one, and the names Lehman, Emma Thornton, Winnebago, Cassie, became familiar to all on the waters around Lake Charles.
Captain Goos was very patriotic, and on the second Fourth of July after coming to Charlestown, he determined to provide a real celebration. The place selected for the affair was on the lakeshore where the J. A. Bel sawmill now stands. In addition to his family, the captain loaded two heavy anvils and a quantity of gunpowder into his wagon, that the flag might be properly saluted. The salutation caused the unpatriotic horses to go home the nearest way, leaving the family to follow on foot.
Captain Goos later became very important in the community during the Civil War, and he was one of the most energetic factors in the building of the town up to his death in l898. With his coming, the industrial life of the little community began. (32)
In 1855, the first newspaper was published in the Calcasieu country. I was unable to locate any files of the Calcasieu Press, but learned that it had been issues only when news of an extraordinary nature seemed to warrant its publication. The editor called it a weekly, but up to the time of its discontinuance at the close of the Civil War, it had rarely been published more than once a month. The paper was edited by Judge B. A. Martel and John A. Spence, and it was undoubtedly an avocation for the leisure moments of both of the men. It had little value as a record of the early life of the community. (33)
Another newspaper made a brief appearance in 1858, the Calcasieu Gazette. It was edited by William Hutchins as a protest to the dilatory policy of the Calcasieu Press. It seemed to have the desired effect; for the numbers of the Press came so regularly that, the Gazette discontinued its publication early in 1859 after a total life of six months. (34)
Two property transactions were recorded in 1857, which indicates that more interest was being taken in the village. Forty acres of land, which lay, between Hodges Street and Louisiana Avenue and between Lawrence and Pujo Streets were sold by Elizabeth Ann Lee to a certain Ewell for $297, or about $7 an acre. This land was estimated to be worth over $500,000 as far back as 1914. (35) The other property purchased that year was by the Catholics who paid Serius M. Pithon $375 for the front half of the front half of the block facing Ryan Street between Gordon’s Drug Store and Khoury’s Fruit Stand. (36) This property was later sold by the Catholics and is now one of the busiest section of Ryan Street.
The increasing production of the Ryan and Goos sawmills caused quite a trade to spring up between Charlestown and Galveston about 1858. It was carried on in schooners whose white sails soon dotted the lake, making a "beautiful sight" in the words of the pioneers. The schooners carried lumber away, and on their return trip brought goods to be retailed by the merchants. The freight charges on these return loads was so low that the merchants of Charlestown soon gained in advantage over all the communities within a radius of the city. People from the backwoods who had been accustomed making the long trip to Opelousas to lay in their yearly supply of goods now turned their footsteps to Charlestown. Thus, during the later fifties Charlestown changed from a frontier hamlet to an enterprising village with a population varying between three and five hundred people.
The population of the backcountry like that of the village increased as a result of the activity of the sawmills. The banks of the Calcasieu soon became dotted here and there by small clearings to which the men of the backcountry brought logs to be floated down the river to the mill on Lake Charles. Settlements sprang up along the tributaries of the Calcasieu. One of the earliest of these was at Dry Creek, which was surrounded by some of the finest pine timber in the state of Louisiana. A man by the name of Hanchey brought his family and possessions from the state of Georgia to the banks of the Bundick and Dry Creeks. Finding it profitable to cut the heavy forest of pine timber and float it down to the mill in Lake Charles, he notified numerous relatives and friends in Georgia. These came and brought others with them, so within a very short period of time, Dry Creek became a locality inhabited almost exclusively by former Georgians. Group immigration was, in fact, the outstanding feature of settlement in Calcasieu Parish. One community was populated exclusively by settlers from Nebraska, another from Iowa, and another from Mississippi. This fact proves clearly that these early migrants found the country equal to their expectations and satisfying even in regard to financial betterment.
By 1857, Charlestown was ready for incorporation. The village had now cast away its backwoods atmosphere. Steps were taken to provide unencumbered streets, one of the merchants placed a boardwalk in front of his place of business, and some very rudimentary regulations were adopted relating to the conduct of its citizens. Jacob Ryan increased the output of his sawmill to six thousand feet of lumber a day, and Captain Goos erected his mill which became the pride of the settlement. The village seemed to be on the threshold of great prosperity.
Then came the fateful election of 1860. The people of the Calcasieu country did not realize the seriousness of the issue, but their attitude toward the question troubling the nation was unmistakable as may be seen in the vote in the presidential election of 1860. In Calcasieu Parish, Breckenridge received 396 votes, Bell 24, and Douglas none. (37)
When the call to arms came a shot time later, the parish responded unanimously in defense of the South. Few sections displayed such an active and widespread enthusiasm as did the Calcasieu country. Company after company was organized which had as its nucleus men from this section. A roster of companies organized in Calcasieu Parish during the war included the Calcasieu Rangers under Captain W. E. Ivey, Louisiana Cavalry; Calcasieu Volunteers, Company A, Kings Specials, Louisiana Cavalry; Calcasieu Tigers, Company B, King’s Specials, Louisiana Infantry; Calcasieu Guards, Company D, King’s Specials, Louisiana Infantry; Calcasieu Invincibles, Company C, King’s Specials, Louisiana Infantry. (38)
A camp was established in the northern part of Charlestown, and the volunteers were put through a severe course of training before being called into active service. On two occasions, the villagers attempted to compel patriotism on the part of all inhabitants, which showed that the war fever held Charlestown in its grasp. At last, the troops moved away and the villagers were forced to display their patriotism in the more practical way of providing lumber and supplies for the Confederate armies.
Many of the men had left for the war without providing for their families. These people were partly provided for by Captain Goos who added a corn mill to his lumber mill. Every Saturday the labor of the mill was employed in manufacturing meal and grits. A fat beef was slaughtered also. This food was put in a wagon and distributed far and wide wherever the pinch of hunger was felt. (39)
Soon after the Federal blockade became effective, Captain Goos converted his fleet of schooners into blockade-runners. They made many trips during the war and enabled Southwest Louisiana to pass this period with much less inconvenience than most of the other sections of the state. The schooners took out lumber and brought and brought back flour, coffee, clothing, and drugs. It became a custom with the young ladies of Charlestown to make a flag for each schooner as it started on its dangerous trip, and Mrs. Locke often pointed with pride to the fact that no ship flying one of her flags was never captured. Two Federal gunboats, the Granite City and the Wave, ventured into the Calcasieu River where they were suddenly attacked and captured by Green’s brigade after a sharp battle. The two boats, containing a considerable number of sick and wounded men of both sides, were brought to Lake Charles. Some townsmen objected to the landing of the Federal sick, and Dr. Ver Meulen, the physician of the gunboats, was firm in his refusal to have his sick separated. Captain Goos solved the problem in characteristic fashion. He ordered every man, "Yank or Rebel," taken to Goosport, where a long, cool room was thoroughly cleansed and whitewashed, cots placed in rows, clean bedding supplied, and all were made comfortable. Here they remained for long months; the conquered and the conquerors side by side. When the men were able to be moved, it was Captain Goos’ money which furnished them with transportation. (40)
With the return of the soldiers from the war, the business of the little village once more began increasing. Captain Goos built another sawmill on the south side of the lake, which was a little larger than the one that he had in Goosport. It had a capacity of eight thousand feet of timber a day. John Hager and Auselme Sallier were put in charge of this mill. Contract was then made with Jacob Ryan to furnish the timber. This he did in addition to running his own mill. To the end of his life, Ryan was fond of telling how his schooner, The Ann Ryan, was captured by the Federals on July 4, 1863. The bluecoats anchored her in the Gulf just off Galveston and used her as a target until she sank. (41) Business, however, soon became so prosperous for the sawmills that Ryan was unable to provide enough logs for Captain Goos, besides those required for his own mill. A new man was therefore placed in charge of this work, A. J. Perkins, who brought order out of confusion, perfected the machinery of the lumber market, and incidentally laid the foundation of his own fortune.
The seven mills in operation in Calcasieu Parish at the opening of the Civil War had now increased to more than double that number, and however busy they seemed to be, there was apparently no thought of any future shortage of timber. Timber was so plentiful that little legality was observed in cutting it; each man cut where he could find the finest with no thought as to the ownership of the land. The government, of course, owned practically all of the timberland, and the feeling aroused by the recent war increased non-observance of governmental restrictions. Proof of this may be been by the fact that little or no public land was purchased. Before the war Congress had passed the Graduation Act by which government lands were placed upon the market at $1.25 an acre, the price to be diminished twenty-five cents every five years, and withdrawn after it had been offered at a quarter of an acre. Several times agents were sent out to guard the interests of the government, and at one time, a revenue cutter was anchored in Lake Charles for some time, but all to no avail.
An attempt was now made to survey the town and lay it out properly, but the engineers, after attempting the impossible task, with due regard to the rights of the property owners, gave it up as a bad job.
Some dissatisfaction was expressed in the little village over the name of Charlestown. The same body of citizens who gathered solemnly together in 1857 and agreed to call the settlement Charlestown now assembled a second time in 1867 and decided to rename the village Lake Charles.
A request was made of the General Assembly for a change in the name of the town, it was granted, and the new city of Lake Charles was started in history under its present name.
Following is the act of incorporation:
SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the state of Louisiana, in General Assembly convened, that the inhabitants of the town of Lake Charles in the parish of Calcasieu, and the same are hereby made a body corporate and politic by the name of the Town Council of Lake Charles, and as such can sue and be sued, implead and be impleaded, shall possess the right to establish a common seal, and the same to annul, alter, or change at pleasure.
SECTION II. Be it further enacted, etc., that the limits of said town of Lake Charles shall be laid out in the following manner, to-wit: Beginning north on the east bank of Lake Charles, ten acres above the residence of Joseph L. Bilbo, thence southward along the bank of said lake to and including the lands of Michael Pithon; thence eastward on a line parallel with the line of the lands of W. Hutchins, and so as to include residence of J. V. Moss, to the line which intersects the lands of J. V. Fourchey and W. Hutchins; thence on a parallel line which said intersection line of J. V. Fourchey and W. Hutchins as far north as to intersect an east and west line from the place of beginning and comprising all property therein situated.
SECTION III. Be it further enacted, etc., that the municipality of said town of Lake Charles shall consist of a mayor and five aldermen, three of whom, together with the mayor shall constitute a quorum to transact business, No person shall be eligible to the office of mayor or alderman who does not reside within the limits of said corporation and is above the age of twenty-one years; and the said mayor and aldermen shall be chosen by the qualified voters here in after provided for in this act; said mayor and aldermen to be elected on the first Monday in June each and every year.
The remaining sections define the duties of the different officers of the town, etc. The act is signed by ---
Duncan S. Cage,
Approved March 16, 1867. Albert Voorhies,
Speaker, House of Representatives
J. H. Hardy, J. Madison Wells,
Secretary of State. Governor of the state of Louisiana
AN EPOCH OF WOOD
Almost simultaneously with the incorporation of Lake Charles in 1867, the community began to grow by leaps and bounds. Before the close of the year 1970, the population had increased to about eight hundred, and some of the most optimistic declared that the town have a population of over a thousand within ten years.
The population figures given above may be exaggerated, for there were only 461 votes polled in Calcasieu Parish at the first general state election in April, 1868. It is true that election figures during the reconstruction period in the South are unreliable as an index to population. However, the figures for Calcasieu Parish are more dependable then those of other parishes, with possibly one or two exceptions. During the reconstruction period, there was no fraud, violence, intimidation, or other disturbances in the parish. (42) The fact that the polls were rejected in the disputed election of l876 merely emphasized the supposition that most of the eligible voter were and had been exercising their voting prerogatives. My belief is that the above population figure included both the people within the corporate limits of the town and those who lived around the mills on the south and west banks of the lake. Goosport, was, of course, included within the population figure for Lake Charles.
The reason for this new and sudden growth was a revival of interest in the lumber business. Many sections of the South needed lumber to rebuild structures which had been destroyed or which had gone to pieces during the war. The North also required a great amount to provide for its increasing development of industries. The price jumped to a higher figure than it had ever been before. This prosperity brought more and more lumbermen to Lake Charles, for its location was almost ideal for this purpose. The first influx of Northerners and Westerners came at this time.
The Ryan and Goos mills increased their capacity of output, and several new mills were started. One of these was established by W. B. Norris in l866 at what is now called Norris’ Point, where the Calcasieu River runs by the northwest corner of Lake Charles. His first mill was quite small, but the demand for lumber became so great in 1872 that he replaced the small one with a large, double mill, running two circulars. It burned in 1873, but it was immediately replaced. The new mill continued without interruption, save for repairs, until January, 1888, when it burned. It was then replaced by a larger one. Norris was the first man on the Calcasieu River to put in a planer and the first on to use a band saw. (43)
A.J. Perkins, who had been buying timber for Captain Goos, now decided to enter the saw-mill business and established a partnership with a man named Miller. Their mill was erected on the west bank of the lake in 1870 and soon became an important factor in the lumber business. (44) They purchased their logs from the C. and V. Railroad, which divided its logs between Perkins and Miller and the firm of Lock, Moore, and Company. This company gave the two mills over five hundred logs daily.
Several other smaller mills were erected, some of which consolidated their interests in a new enterprise, the Calcasieu Lumber Company. This company bought one hundred and fifty acres of good, pine timber, purchased the Goos mill, and helped to found the fortunes of a number of moneyed men who now live in Lake Charles. (45) It was the greatest factor in the development of the lumber industry of Lake Charles until the organization of the Bradley-Ramsey Company in 1887.
Thus developed the town of Lake Charles because of the wonderful timber resources. The activities of the citizens during this period were confined almost solely to the production of lumber. Man after man became wealthy within a very short time an account of the great profits to be made in the business. To give an example, which might be duplicated in several instances, I will relate the story of the present Krause and Managan Lumber Company.
Rudolph Krause, a native of Germany, arrived in Lake Charles when a young man with a total capital of ten cents. He at once obtained a position with one of the lumber companies, saved a little money, which he promptly invested in one of the lumber organizations and in buying up some of the finest timberland. As the years passed by, his small investment in the lumber company increased in value to the point where he was able to demand some voice in the management of its affairs. In the meantime, he had made several private investments, which brought him in additional capital. Working in the same company with Krause was Managan who had come to the Calcasieu country from Pennsylvania. He also arrived in the city with little capital. In fact, he and his wife were forced to do their own washing down on the lakefront, and it is said that Managan often went to the office with his hands still sooty from his efforts to keep the fire going under Mrs. Managan’s black washing kettle. These two young men worked for some time before their salaries were increased to more than sixty dollars a month, but through wise investments, they were soon able to get control of the company for which they were working. They then organized it as the Krause-Managan Lumber Company, which became one of the most prosperous in the state of Louisiana. Today, each of these men is more than millionaires. Every cent of their fortunes was made in Lake Charles, and every cent was made in the lumber business. While these men came a little later than the period under review, I have mentioned their careers because of a desire to show how profitable the lumber was in this early period.
These were days of intense activity in Lake Charles. The sawmills were operated Sundays and holidays, stops being made only to repair machinery. Schooners plied the lake constantly, and shiploads of timber departed daily. More and more wharves were built to accommodate the schooners, and captains complained that they were forced to anchor out in the lake sometimes for days before they could obtain wharf space.
Lake Charles now began to suffer troubles, which had up to this time been unknown in the village. These difficulties were due mostly to the new and sometimes disreputable sawmill hands which drifted into town in search of work. Saloons began to appear in increasing numbers on "Battle Row," which is now Railroad Avenue, and several houses of ill- repute were established convenient to the mills. Disorder was the general rule during off-hours of many of the mill-hands.
In this period from 1865 to 1867, the foundation of Lake Charles’ prosperity was laid. It was a period characterized only by the increasing hum of the saw-mills. In 1876, there were twelve saw-mills within earshot of the town in addition to many logging companies, all of which furnished the town with quite a large pay-roll. (46)
During this period, the French Company first undertook to exploit the deposit of sulphur, which had been discovered as early as 1858 west of Lake Charles. The company spent about $1,500.000 with no real results, and the undertaking was shortly afterward abandoned.
The first steps were taken in 1873 toward the construction of an intercoastal canal, which was to extend along the southern part of the state to New Orleans. Use was to be made of the many lake and bayous in this section of the country, but after a thorough survey was made and the cost estimated, the project was given up until some time in the future when the government would be able to extend the needed help.
While there was quite a number of children in the settlement, there was no determined effort to establish schools for them until late in the history of Lake Charles. Thomas Rigmaiden, as has been stated before, taught the children of Jacob Ryan. His work was followed up by J. W. Bryan, who gave instruction privately to several families from 1865 to 1869. He then opened the Lake Charles Academy. Children were charged eight dollars a month, and adults nine dollars, board included. The advertisement announcing the opening of the school was printed both in the French and English languages. (47) This academy was not successful in employment, for shortly after this, he entered a new field for business. The school situation through out the state of Louisiana was in a very poor condition during this period. In 1860 an annual allowance of $6.50 per child was required for the support of free public schools. However, the war put a stop to this expenditure, and from l861 to 1865 very little if anything was done for the education of children in the state. In 1866 new educational interest was aroused, and R. M. Lusher was made State Superintendent of Public Instruction. His fine work was started but when Congress of 1868 threw many things into confusion, the work was stopped and little of value was done for the next few years. T. W. Connor was then made State Superintendent, but his term of office from 1868 to 1877 had no tangible results. Instruction was carried on in the families with either the father or mother playing the part of instructor for the most part. It was as true in Lake Charles as it has been in all other communities that education was lost sight of during the years when the town was getting on its feet in a financial sense. Education was considered to be a luxury to be postponed until a time when the lever[sic] for making money had subsided.
Communications with the outside world was maintained for the most part by the schooners which came in to take the products of the saw-mills away. A stagecoach line was established a short time before 1869, which ran from Niblett’s Bluff to New Iberia. It made an overnight stop in Lake Charles where Powell’s mill now stands. The government used it for the transportation of the mails. However, the service must have been satisfactory to none of the people, judging from an item in the local newspaper, which stated that no mail had been received for seven weeks, nor was there any likelihood that any would be received for seven more, as the government had discontinued its service to Lake Charles. Mail was to be brought in from that time on by a schooner. The mail for Lake Charles was sent to F. W. Moeling in Galveston, who then sent it to Lake Charles on the first schooner going out to that port. (48)
The town had been without a newspaper for some time due to the discontinuance of the Calcasieu Press, when Judge J. D. Reed and Louis Leveque founded the Lake Charles Echo and put out their first issue on February 16, 1868. Like earlier papers, it was published irregularly, and when it was purchased in 1871 by J. W. Bryan, only two volumes had been issued during its three years of existence. The new editor, however, set to work with a great deal of energy and gave the town its first real newspaper. He published it until 1890 when he sold it to a stock company, headed by W. F. Schwing. From 1871 forward, the records of Lake Charles were more accessible.
In 1872, a new courthouse was erected to take the place of the small frame building, which had served since 1852. The citizens pointed with a great deal of pride to the fact that it had been erected without levying a special tax. (49)
The first brick building was erected in 1875 at the corner of Broad Street and Bilbo Street. It was pointed out as one of the outstanding accomplishments of the town for several years after that.
The epoch of wood ended in the latter part of 1875, not because there was any cessation in the lumber business, but rather because the people of Lake Charles began to take more interest in their town as a town, and turned their attention to matters of civic interest.
EMERGENCE OF CIVIC PRIDE
Perhaps no city the size of Lake Charles has ever had more clearly defined periods of development. In the period of lumber development, the people were concerned solely with the growth and development of her saw-mills. In the period from 1876 to 1881, one thought seemed to dominate the actions and words of her citizens - civic betterment. The idea seemed to spring spontaneously into existence, and the efforts of the majority of the citizens seemed to concentrate simultaneously on civic ideals.
Early in the year 1876, there appeared an editorial in the Lake Charles Echo, which apparently began the movement. The words of the editor, Captain J. W. Bryan, became motivating agencies in the minds of all the people; they resolved to appreciate the climate and country and make for themselves a home and a city of which they could be proud and which they could take time to enjoy:
"The climate of Lake Charles is incomparably fine. Tracing the latitudinal line on the map will reveal that Lake Charles is in the same range with the greatest pleasure and health resorts of the world; places made historical in the world’s great theatres of pleasure by the pens of romance, poetry, and song. Climate is a great refiner of sensibilities, temperament, and disposition. When the sun lends its gladsome rays to endow the earth with a mantle of golden beauty, when the soft, mild air wafts its soothing influences of the land, when the elements are kindly, the sky serene, the earth blossoming with the beneficence of Nature’s placid emotions - then does the heart of man also glow with kindly sentiment, and he loves his fellow as himself."
"The months of October, November, December, April, May, and June are all that could be asked for in paradise. In December of last year, the warm, soft air of Orient seemed to linger over our prairies, continuing their early, springtime cares to the sweet, blooming flowers, wafting a carol of the mocking bird and the thrill of the thrush from tree top to tree top, and effectually effacing all remembrance of the cheerless existence, the acute suffering of the old days in the old home in the far away North." (50)
People before this time had accepted the climate with little thought, but the flowery words of the editor appealed to their somewhat uncultured minds with such force that impression were made which deepened into actions during the few years. Appreciation of the wonderful possibilities offered by the climate was the foundation upon which was created the beautiful streets and parks, which now exist in the city.
Beauty in nature, whether created artificially or natural, is generally a refiner of personalities. Its influence was seen in the new thought given to culture and refinement in the social relation of the people. The signal that such a change was taking place was seen in the private theatrical which opened the social season of the new period on January 20th, 1876. It was given in Goosport by the Methodist Episcopal Sunday School. Thirty-four dollars was the result financially for the work of the church. The program was given by Misses Goos, Helm, and Ryan; and Messrs. Reynolds, Poe, Murray, Kirkman, Gray, McNulty, Perkins, Waters, and Goos. The oration of John H. Poe was the feature of the evening. (51) A short time later, the public responded to a May Day picnic most eagerly, over two hundred and fifty people being present. (52) Two days later a class for "vocal practice" was started. (53) The wholesale use of intoxicating liquors which had been so prevalent for the past five years next claimed the attention of the citizens, and they organized a society called the United Friends of Temperance on October 4th, 1877.(54) Apparently nothing of value was accomplished, for the only records concern the election of officers. Their hall, however, shortly became a gathering place for various public functions. An amalgamation of Ladies’ Aid Societies took place about 1880, for an item in the Echo stated that the Ladies’ Aid Association of Lake Charles cleared $85.40 in a very successful entertainment. (55) By 1881, the people had emerged from their former isolation, and they were groping about, laying the foundation for what became the most completely organized city in Louisiana in regard to social and welfare organizations.
As the desire for public entertainments increased, the holidays began to be celebrated. Early in 1878, the people started planning the biggest Mardi Gras week that had as yet taken place in Lake Charles. On Tuesday of Mardi Gras week, the stores were all closed from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Public conveyances were rented at half price, and a large procession occurred in which none but maskers took part. First in the march came the Chief Marshal and his aids, followed by the Queen and the Ladies of the Royal Household in a palace car with a mounted escort. Next came the King, Prince, and Royal Heir in a chariot with mounted maskers at the side. The King’s Musicians followed in carriages, and many other maskers brought up the rear. That night two big masquerade balls completed the biggest celebration up to that time in Lake Charles. (56) The following years was similar celebrations at Mardi Gras time. In 1879, a monster Christmas celebration took place with three public trees placed in the Temperance Hall alone. (57) Shortly before this occurred the first public concert in Lake Charles. It was given by the Methodist Episcopal Sunday School and was advertised as a "concert and jug-breaking entertainment." (58)
Large and elaborate weddings which became almost public functions were held in increasing numbers. One of the biggest social events in the history of the city took place on December 20th, 1879, when Della M. Goos, the daughter of Captain Daniel Goos, became the wife of J. Albert Bel. There was music, dancing, and social conversation for the two hundred guests. It was nearly daylight when the steamer, Pearl Rivers, carried the last guest away. (59) Captain Goos furnished much entertainment of this nature, for eight daughters of his were married with elaborate weddings.
Education received some justified attention in this period of enlightenment. A public school was started in the Masonic Hall under the supervision of Captain O. M. March who was assigned as instructor. He was assisted by Mrs. L. Landry. A total of ninety-six scholars registered. (60) The parish schools were organized the next year, and there was a sincere hope expressed in the Echo stating "that the schools would succeed." (61) A private school was also organized the same year by Mrs. E. Dade and Miss Maggie Kearney. It was stated that the students displayed a high degree of proficiency in rhetorical exercises. (62) These schools did not, however, supply the desire for education fully, for a notice appeared in the Echo, stating "that Lake Charles stands sorely in need of a good and permanent institution where we can send our girls to school. The little girls about town are growing up so fast in both numbers and size. A well-recommended lady principal could make herself rich and useful by the establishment of a first-class female school." (63) S. O. Shattuck, who probably changed his occupation more than any other man in the history of Lake Charles, now saw the trend toward education just as he had seen that toward self-development in1876 when he sold educational books on foreign countries. After a successful year in the parish schools, he became instructor of deciphering in the Lake Charles Institute in 1879. (64) His occupations serve as a weathervane in discovering the tendencies of the people at various periods. He came to Lake Charles as a stage driver and is at present one of the representatives of Calcasieu Parish in the General Assembly.
Another school, which like the Lake Charles Institute had but a brief existence, was the Spencerian School of Writing, which held its classes in the Court House. (65) Although these early schools varied in fortune, it must be concluded that the splendid system, which now exists in Lake Charles, was firmly established in the period from 1876 to 1881.
Fruit trees were planted in large numbers in 1876, and the first determined effort to raise oranges took place. (66) By 1879, the growth of fruit had increased to the point where pride was taken in its development in the columns of the Echo. (67)
Buggies now replaced the old ox carts, which had previously been the chief means of transportation. The leading buggy dealer of the village, John H. Poe, reported a very flourishing business in 1879. (68) Ryan Street, then as now, the parade ground of new-wheeled vehicles, took on a more aristocratic appearance according to the words of the old-timers.
It is uncertain whether pride in the red, shining fire carts and resplendent uniforms of the firemen or need for fire protection was the most important factor in the development of the Lake Charles Fire Department. It may be asserted, however, that the city took pride in it, and influential men even desired places on the fire department teams. It was considered to be an honor to belong to a Hose or a Hook and Ladder Company. During the latter part of May, 1878, a big fire completely destroyed the planing mill of Locke and Company. (69) At once the town council met and ordered an old Hand Fire Engine which was brought in on a schooner with quite a good deal of pride. This was used until 1882 when a Silshee Steam Fire Engine was purchased. This new engine necessitated the organization of two new fire companies; the Pelican Hook and Ladder Company and the Phoenix Hook and Ladder Company. Social functions were important in the history of each company organized. Some of the affairs were elaborate. One of the best was a "soiree dansante" given by Fire Company Number One on October 21, 1879 in Temperance Hall. (70) Shortly after this a new company was organized by aspirants for honors who had not attained the importance, which their position in the community deserved, and a hose cart was ordered from New York City. It was stated that a large crowd gathered about as the cart was being unloaded. This may have been due to the prominence of the members of the hose cart company more than the sight of the hose cart. The officers of this new company, all leading men in the village, were: H. C. Gill, President; J. P. Geary, Vice-President; and Captain J. W. Bryan, Treasurer. (71)
The evolution of transportation in Lake Charles has been an interesting study. During this period from 1876to 1881, the old ox carts gave way to smart carriages for travel, and the stagecoach was superseded by the railroad. Schooners still continued to hold heir own until about 1885 when the railroads began taking away part of their commerce. However, in 1876 schooner building was one of the most important industries in Lake Charles. Mr. Sweeney had acquired a great reputation as a builder of schooners and was said to have built the two fastest on the coast. (72) As the schooner age reached its peak and began to decline, the stagecoach assumed a more important place in the community. Chief of these was the United States Stage Route, which carried the mail, and ran eastward to New Iberia. The fare was $12.50, which is to be contrasted with the bus rate of $3.50 at present. The coach left Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings at six o’clock and arrived on the following days at eight o’clock in the evening, taking a long day to make the trip, which is now made in about four hours.(73) There seemed to be a great deal of dissatisfaction with the service. The following item appeared in the Echo on January 17, l880: "Last Monday night, the eastern mail stage on its way to Lake Charles was thrown off the bridge over East Lacassine Bayou near Henry Welsh’s place. A passenger with his valise, in addition to the mailbag, was thrown into the water and suffered a great deal from the cold. We hope that the railroad may be finished some day." The comment of the people on the new railroad, which was steadily creeping toward Lake Charles, showed how greatly it satisfied a long-wanted need. The Echo stated on March26, 1880 that "Everyone feels like shouting! At ten o’clock this morning, the gap in the railroad between Lake Charles and Orange was closed. Lake Charles is now connected with Houston and all parts of the world. It is almost too wonderful to be true." The first passenger train was run as an excursion to Orange, Texas, on the same day, and the profits were taken by the Lake Charles Fire Department. On April 2, 1880, the Louisiana Western Railroad brought to Lake Charles from Lacassine the first lot of country produce ever received by rail. It was sent by Doctor Welsh to Jacob Ryan and included seventy-three bags of rice, thirty hides, four barrels of sugar, and a box of eggs. (74) The first daily schedule of trains, running straight through from Vermillionville to Houston, was begun on August 7, 1880. The trip from New Orleans to Houston was now made in twenty-four hours. (75) On August 31st, the first through train from New Orleans to Houston was run. This event was celebrated by a big edition of the New Orleans Times. (76) Freight increased until over eight hundred cars passed through Lake Charles in the fifteen days ending on October 21, 1880. (77) Lake Charles felt very elated over gaining railroad transportation, and the advent of the train terminated a great deal of the frontier atmosphere, which had formerly characterized the town. Some idea of how strange railroads must have seemed to the people is revealed by an editorial appearing in the Echo for April 25, 1880, in which the fear was expressed "that the boys of Lake Charles are going to be too inquisitive about the railroad, and that some of them would be killed as a boy at Vermillionville was killed the other day."
An interest in the appearance of the city began to attract attention. The Echo congratulated the city on acquiring a sign painter. In the same issue, the attention of the people was called to the need for a new laundry, for the colored women were pounding the clothes to pieces in trying to wash them. (78) The editor openly complimented Willie Haskell, who was then seventeen years old, for his work in repairing the Haskell home, making it one of the most beautiful spots in the town. He also suggested that others follow the example and stated that the city in general needed cleaning up. (79)
Two new churches were erected in this period: the Catholic and the Baptist Churches.
The town was also progressing in an industrial way. In 1877, George and Jacob Ryan erected a shingle mill, in connection with which was operated a rice mill. (80) Two years later five or six new stores appeared on Ryan Street, a number of fences around town were rebuilt, and the city was thought to be starting on an even more prosperous career. (81) This was, of course, due to the building of the railroad. A new sawmill was erected in 1880 by Locke and Company. It was the first circular sawmill run by steam on the river. (82) Another new industry, which appeared in 1880, was the manufacturing of ice by William Meyer. He stated his intention of making several hundred pounds each day throughout the summer. A great deal of ice cream was also promised to the people, and he opened an ice cream salon on Pujo Street. (83) However, it soon developed that the ice factory was defective, and it was announced that if the trouble was not soon located, the machinery would be sent back to the factory. (84) Nothing more was heard of this ice factory, so it apparently went out of business. The sawmill men now began to consider dredging the sand bars out of the Calcasieu River and appointed a committee of investigation. The committee is important to us in that it shows to us the leaders in the town at that time. It consisted of A.J. Perkins, J. W. Bryan, C. P. Hampton, George H. Wells, D. J. Goos, A. H. Moss, M. D. Hutchins, and William L. Hutchins.(85) Prices of food stuffs were quite high in town, showing that the people were still bringing in quite a good deal of their food. Turkeys were 60 cents apiece, chickens 30 cents, one hundred oranges sold for $1.25, and butter ranged from 20 to 30 cents a pound. (86) At the close of this period, prosperity seemed just around the corner, and everyone had high hopes that Lake Charles would soon acquire a large increase in population, although it had not reached a thousand by the decade. The parish, however, had increased from 10,076 in 1875, to 12,361 in 1880. (87)
While there were numerous scares of yellow fever, there was very little sickness in Lake Charles, Allen Gilley reports that on his tour of inspection in 1878 no cases of illness. (88) There was also more marriages than had previously taken place in any period.
L. Kaufman, who came to Lake Charles in1879, gives a vivid description of the appearance of the town in that year. It had started to show some progress, but still retained a backwoods atmosphere. All of the stores sold any thing that a customer might desire. There was no attempt to run a general merchandise store until Kaufman established himself in one. The town had approximately six hundred people. The First National Bank was the only bank in town, and its transactions were confined almost solely to the owners of the lumber mills. Shortly after his arrival, the bank was moved to a corner building, which stood in about the same place that the Kress Store now stands. The present site of the First National Bank was occupied by a livery stable. Just north of the bank was a large corn field. On the corner opposite where Mathieu’s Drug Store now stands and bordered on three sides by the cornfield was a tiny shack which served as a shoe shop. Back from Ryan Street about a hundred feet stood an old, wooden building, which was the town’s best hotel. The present site of the Kaufman Building was the busiest part of town. There were two or three stores located there, one of which had a boardwalk extending across the front of the store. The Court House, which stood nearly in its present location, was a medium sized frame building. The houses lay grouped quite close to Ryan Street or were placed almost in the shadow of the sawmills which lay in what is now the north part of Lake Charles. The settlement was primitive, but Kaufman thought he saw signs of promise and remained. He has become one of the richest men in the city.
AN ERA OF NORTHERN IMMIGRATION
The period from 1880 to 1890 was characterized by the large number of Northerners who flocked into Calcasieu Parish. It was during this period that large numbers of settlers came from Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa to found the towns of Welsh, Jennings, Vinton, and Crowley. Lake Charles received a large number of the people, which is responsible for the distinctly northern atmosphere in the city.
Mention was made in the Echo on October 8, 1881, that large numbers of people were passing through Lake Charles due to their inability to find houses to rent. This condition remained true during most of the eighties. The same editor proclaimed through the columns of his paper that there was a crying need for a new hotel. He stated that the only hotels in the town at that time were: The Haskell House operated by Captain Green Hall, and the Richard House of which Jules Richard was the proprietor. These hotels contained only twenty-seven rooms in all and were not enough to take care of the transient trade. (89) This led the editor to remark that, "whoever could estimate the future population of Lake Charles must be a master of lightening calculations." Quite a number of the transients were people who came south to escape the cold weather of the north. The Beach Hotel in Cameron rapidly became a popular winter resort. However, many of those who came for the winter remained in the country. Group immigration was a prevalent practice. A party of one hundred and fifty Northerners came through Lake Charles in 1884 bound for the new town of Jennings. (90) Many came on special excursions, which were promoted by J. B. Watkins, the land magnate of Lake Charles. In 1885 Mr. J. B. Watkins was host to thirty newspaper owners and special feature writers from all the large cities in the east and central states. It is said that he entertained these people very lavishly. (91) Consequently, when complimentary articles began to appear in the newspapers regarding this new "Garden of Eden," people of an adventuresome nature packed up their belongings and came to the new country. The newspaper columns tell continually of new houses being built or older ones rebuilt to take care of the increasing population. By 1888, the business district had been lengthened to a distance of three blocks. The residential section, however, continued to be centered about Ryan Street, with the poorer dwellings about the mills; and, it did not extend much beyond Bilbo Street, one block east of Ryan. (92) Two new hotels sprang up during the latter part of the period: The Walker House and the United States Hotel. Not much was heard regarding the shortage of accommodation after the erection of these hotels, so they must have been larger than the older ones.
There is little question but that Lake Charles grew more rapidly during this period than any other city in Louisiana. And, most of the new growth was due to the work of J. B. Watkins. While on a visit to the Calcasieu country some time before, Watkins had decided that the wealth of undeveloped resources and the desirableness of the country was a place in which to live offered a more fertile field of speculation than did New York City. Being influential in the in the field of finance, he was able to quickly organize a land company known as the North American Land and Timber Company. Most of its stock was purchased by citizens of England who, remembering America’s past history, decided to invest money in this colorful scheme. The company sold stock to the amount of $2,500,000. This was used by Watkins in purchasing land in Calcasieu Parish, which had been herding grounds of large numbers of horses and cattle. This grazing land was able to purchase for from 12½ cents an acre to $1.25 an acre. His hope and ambition was to make the land suitable for farming, and after attracting large numbers of settlers by an attractive price, he anticipated selling the remainder at a good profit. He hoped to bring in large numbers of settlers from the northern part of France, relying upon the thriftiness of the people to make this colonization scheme a success. (93) He began an extensive campaign of advertising, founding a paper in New York City for that purpose.
This paper, the American, was very florid in its description of the new country. A few excerpts from the paper may prove interesting. "Peaches will yield $1000 worth of fruit per acre three years after planting the budded trees, if well cultivated and cared for. Oranges will do still better when they come into full bearing. Peaches have produced at he rate of $2500 when the trees were seven years old. There is no telling what an acre of large fig trees well cared for will produce, but it will be enormous. Fortunes can be made as soon as we have communication north by rail, raising dewberries, blackberries, and strawberries. We will soon eclipse the famed Southern California region in fruit." What was said about fruit was said to almost a like degree about farming and stock raising. There was copious argument to induce readers to believe that a new paradise had been found in Calcasieu Parish.
Once every month forty thousand copies of the American were distributed in addition to tons of pamphlets, circulars, and other advertising. These were sent out to the middle, western, and northern states, and also to Canada and Europe. It is said that Watkins spent fully $200,000 in advertising Calcasieu Parish, making Lake Charles the best advertised city in the United States. To his work more than to any other cause, the immigration of farmers and merchants during this period was due. In 1886, he expanded over $2000 in one-cent postage stamps for the distribution of advertising matter. George H. Wells recalls an amusing incident in this connection. During the early part of 1886, Watkins sent a boy to the Lake Charles post office for $1000 worth of one-cent stamps. The postmistress politely but firmly assured the boy that he must have misunderstood his employer. The boy returned to Watkins who sent him back to the post office with his original request. "Oh," said the postmistress. "You mean that Mr. Watkins wants one thousand one cent postage stamps. They will cost you $10." The boy returned to Watkins who then went to the post office and assured the post mistress that he wanted $1000 worth of one cent postage stamps, but it is hardly necessary to add that so many were not available. They were secured from New Orleans.
In 1885, Watkins founded a bank, which was housed in a building at the corner of Hodges and Broad Streets. (95) Such a course was necessary because the local bank could not handle large-scale transactions. This was considered to be the finest bank building the state outside of the city on New Orleans, although service was discontinued in 1901.
By 1887, everything was ready for the sale of lands by the Watkins Syndicate. Watkins engaged the services of two of the best-educated men in Lake Charles at that time: Prof. Knapp and Prof. Thompson. These men subdivided the land held by the syndicate around Lake Charles into five and ten acre farms, all of which were within two or three miles of town. In all, they laid out about five hundred of these farms. They were offered to the public with a cash payment of only $200, the remainder to be paid in installments. (96) In September, the American was moved to Lake Charles. (97) Its circulation was increased, and it became familiar to thousands of readers in the northern, eastern, and western states.
The colonization project of Watkins never reached the successful conclusion that he believed that it would. However, his work in developing Lake Charles had not been appreciated, I believe, as much as it should have been. When he came to Lake Charles, it was a small village which depended entirely upon the sawmills for its existence. When he left, the city had outgrown its infant state and had quite a large and varied number of industries which made it possible for Lake Charles to grow consistently despite the decreasing production of the sawmills. Rice production, raising of fruits and vegetables, and general farming were all started and brought to a point of successful development due to the work of this man. He brought prosperity to southwest Louisiana between the years 1885 and 1900. He was probably the outstanding man in the long history of Lake Charles. He was very shrewd and took advantage of opportunities, which many others would have overlooked, and, consequently, many speak of him as a sort of grafter. However, he never failed to treat the community of his operation with more consideration and with a greater helpfulness than any other man in its history. It is said that he mortgaged the possessions of the North American Land and Timber Company for more than their actual market value, and was thus able to raise the money to construct the Kansas City, Watkins, and Gulf Railroad. But, this is a criticism, which might be directed toward any of us were we placed in his situation. His mentality became impaired toward the close of his life or he would have become even a greater factor in the development of the city.
This period saw a great growth in values in Calcasieu Parish. The assessment values alone increased 662 ½%. (98) The recording of deeds of land is some indication of growth. There was a very noticeable increase in number as the eighties progressed as may be seen by the following table:
Books of Deeds Number of Deeds Time Required to fill Book G 600 From 1880 to 1882 H 492 From 1882 to 1883 I 651 From January 1883 to April 1885 J 428 From April to December 1885 (226 days) K 523 189 days L 431 206 days (Closed January 1887) M 462 197 days N 462 171 days O 521 107 days (Closed May 1888) P 556 123 days (Closed October 1888) Q 531 167 days (Closed March 21, 1889) R 550 166 days (Closed September 3, 1889) S 589 134 days (Closed January 16, 1890)
These records clearly indicate that a great many new settlers were coming and taking up land with a consequent increase of property values.
The population of Lake Charles increased more than 400% during the Eighties. At the beginning of the decade, there were fewer than eight hundred people in the town; at its close, over three thousand.
There were, of course, a number of new stores and business enterprises started. One of the most important was the establishment of a large mercantile store by A. Rigmaiden and Company. (100) In the summer of 1881, the ice machine of William Meyer was reported to be working again, and the people were again promised plenty of ice cream. (101) The Echo knew not bounds in its enthusiasm for the future growth of Lake Charles. It stated that, "Lake Charles would soon be a place of thousands of people." (102) A new feed store was also opened this year. In 1882, Jacob Ryan and Captain F. Hanson rebuilt their shingle and rice mills. (103) At the same time Julius Frank opened a new merchandise store. M. J. Rosteet put a new bridge in front of his store. A new steam mill with a capacity of twenty thousand feet of lumber a day built in 1882 by Sam and Marion Fairchild. (104) Several new grocery stores were erected. Clothing stores for the first time did a fine business. An item in one of the newspapers stated that, "M. Marx of Klotz and Marx had bought the daisiest stock of goods that ever left the Crescent City for a country town." (105) A rice-harvesting machine appeared in 1886. A hoop and stave factory was established in 1887. (106) Mr. D’Armand built a handsome new building in 1887 on the site of the present Gordon Store Building. (107) The same year the mill of the newly organized Bradley-Ramsey Company was built. It was supposed to be as near perfect as was possible to make it at that time. It had a capacity of from sixty to seventy-five thousand feet of lumber a day and ran a planer and dry house in connection with the mill. (108) The other lumber mills had increased in size to such a great extent that those in Calcasieu Parish were producing more lumber than the entire state of Louisiana and produced ten years before this. (109) Lake Charles was distinctly on a boom at the close of 1890, and much of the prosperity was due to hopes which had been inspired as a result of the increasing acreage in rice.
There were a number of fires during this period, which were very destructive in spite of the increasing pride which Lake Charles took in her fire department. However, the people were warned constantly of the fire hazards by the editor of the Echo who stated several times that one of the greatest needs of the town was a pump on the court house lawn, so that water might be furnished in case of a fire and so that the visitors to Lake Charles would not be compelled to go to private houses when they wished to obtain drinking water. Six thousand feet of piping was ordered in 1886 for the purpose of protecting the business district against fire. A tank was built which would hold between sixty and eighty thousand gallons of water. This was to be filled by means of an artesian well, but the well was never found. (110) Then the fire companies were reorganized in 1888 as an efficiency measure. The companies at this time were: the Young America Fire Company, the Pelican-Babcock Hook and Ladder Company, the Phoenix Hook and Ladder Company, and the Steam Fire Company, apparently enough companies for one village. However, in spite of all this, the ice factory, the rice mill, the property of Prof. A. Thompson, the hoop and stave factory, and a couple residences burned on November 9, 1888. The companies, containing the picked brains and personalities of the community were barely to save the Drew Mill. (111) Water seemed to be the only element lacking to put out the fire.
Many efforts were made during this period to provide the children with more and better schools. Five were opened in the parish under the supervision of five competent principals. (112) Miss Lizzie Hennington opened a school in 1881 for those interested especially in piano and vocal music. (113) Another private school for girls was opened in that year by Mrs. J. B. Demere. The graded schools were apparently receiving no attention in 1881, for a man stated that he would contribute $500 for the erection of a graded school for boys. The editor of the Echo asserted that the conditions in the graded schools of Lake Charles at that time were a reproach to the community. (114) Immigrants inquired about high school facilities, and some attention was given to that problem. The following year a more determined effort was made to get better schools. The editor of the Echo was unceasing in his efforts to attract attention to this problem. He stated that there were three thousand and six hundred children in the parish to be educated. Toward this problem, the state contributed only $3000. He stated that there should be ninety schools with forty pupils in each, and each of these pupils should be given three months schooling a year. S.O. Shattuck wished to have a special tax levied. (115) St. Charles Academy opened in 1882, and the urgent measures which had been demanded were quieted for a time.
The academy fulfilled the long expressed desire of the people for a real educational institution. It was under the supervision of the Sisters Marianites of the Holy Cross. The courses taught were literature, art, and music in addition to the common branches of study. The school was first housed in a small five-room building, which lay on the north side of Pujo Street between Ryan Street and the lakefront. Then a larger building was constructed at the corner of Ryan and Kirby streets in 1886. (116) Miss J. Leveque graduated in 1885, the first to receive a diploma from the school. The institution played an important part in the educational system of Lake Charles.
In 1884, John McNeese was made Parish Superintendent of schools which position he held for a number of years. (117) He did more for the schools of Calcasieu Parish than any other school man in the history of the parish.
The period of private educational institutions, which had swept over the country had its reflection in Lake Charles. The Glendale Institute under the supervision of Miss Ella R. Usher was started in 1884. She employed one assistant and taught English and French. (118) The next year a high school was started in the Commercial Building by Rev. J. T. Doves. It was very popular at that time and obtained enough students to fill it to capacity before it even opened. (119) In 1888, another school was opened for girls and boys by Mrs. Della K. Bryan and Miss Rosa Allen. A tuition charge of $2 a month was made; quite a number of students enrolled. (120) In 1889, Prof. O. S. Dolby established another school on Ryan Street between Iris and Division Streets. (121)
As may be seen, public interest in schools seemed to have increased greatly during this period, judging from the number of schools started. Still the people were not satisfied. They desired public schools, which would be large and complete enough to take of their educational needs without resorting to the private schools then in existence. Their sentiment took form in the introduction of the public school system as a system the following year.
The railroads gradually absorbed the schooner trade. In 1881, a notice appeared in the Echo stating that there had been a distinct falling off in marine arrivals, not-with-standing the fact that a mail steamer was put on in that year and made regular trips through Calcasieu Pass. (122) There was no slackening in the building of ships; the excellence of Lake Charles ships had drawn business from far away places. J. J. Clooney made large contracts with Mexican ship owners, which kept his force very busy. (123) The railroads stimulated added business by running excursions, one of the most important of which was made to Orange, Texas, on March 19, 1881. Four hundred and fifty people from Lake Charles took advantage of the rate of $1 for the trip, which was said to have been very hilarious one. It was the first that many of the people had ever ridden on a train. (124) The next year was one of the last big ones enjoyed by the schooners, a bit of passing flourish in face of the inevitable advance of the railroad. Special mention was made in the paper that fifteen schooners were anchored in the lake, which had not been so unusual a sight a few years previous. (125) From this time on, the day of the schooner was done, and one of the most picturesque sights of Lake Charles passed away.
New and interesting diversions were provided for the people. The Echo stated in 1881 that Fricke’s New Opera House was "booming to the front" and would prove to be quite an acquisition to the town. It also stated that Mr. Fricke was putting up some new folding seats with a spring to hold one’s hat. Professor Paul Sullivan was engaged to finish the stage curtains and the scenery. (126) The same paper stated that "Sullivan made quite a sensation driving up Ryan Street in a new and elegant coupe." The coupe was brought in to carry passengers from the Haskell House to the depot. (127) A short time after this Captain Green Hall bought a new hack to carry his quests from the Lake House to the depot. (128) A new express wagon was purchased by Captain Tom Reynolds, which caused the editor to remark, that "Lake Charles was becoming more like a city every day." (129) These new hacks were rented to the general public from 7a.m. to 6p.m. for twenty-five cents a ride. Another opera house was constructed and more hacks were purchased, and before 1890, people were apparently very much satisfied with their opportunities for diversion.
Private entertainment was also provided for more and more people by a large number of organizations. The Masonic Lodge, which had grown rapidly since its organization, gave one of the biggest dinners ever given in Lake Charles on December 27, 1881. Two hundred and fifty guests were invited which necessitated putting the tables in Fricke’s Opera House. The dinner was followed by a grand ball. The two bands, which had been organized during the year, furnished music for the occasion. (130) Paul Sullivan, the sign painter, seems to have been the chief man behind these musical organizations. The Magnolia Dramatic Club was also organized during the year. Its leaders were Thad Mayo, T. R. Reynolds, and Dr. J.C. Monday. (131) It played a part in the life of Lake Charles then, comparable to the Little Theatre of today. Other societies now came thick and fast. The Lake Charles Literary Society was organized in l882; the chief function of which seemed to be debating. Women suffrage was debated, and the society reported that it had firmly taken its stand for that movement. (132) A string band was the next organization to make it appearance under the leadership of Professor F. Hartig. (133) The editor of the Echo stated that Lake Charles had two brass bands; that almost every home had either an organ or French harp; and that with the monkey and organ grinder who had come to town, along with an occasional blind man, there was plenty of music for everyone. (134) The American Legion of Honor was organized under the leadership of Thad Mayo. (135) Then came a romantic period in the history of the town. In 1884, the Lake Charles Brass Band started serenading in various parts of town during the summer months. The citizens considered it to be a real treat. (136) The favored ones of these serenaded still remember when the band played for them. In 1886, another organization was formed called the Knights of Honor. (137) All of these organizations were founded mainly for the purpose of providing entertainment for the members, weddings, balls, and parties given for members by the various fire departments provided Lake Charles with quite a full social calendar.
There were two weddings in this period, which were of such importance as to be almost public affairs: the marriages of L. Kaufman and W. H. Haskell. The brass bands were called out on both occasions, and each of the couples received a serenade. A little later came the weddings of Managan-East and A. M. Mayo-Knapp, which were big occasions for all the people in the city.
The awakened interest in life was extended into the religious field. A Young Men’s Christian Association was organized and held a number of important meetings. (138) A Presbyterian Church was built and several others were remodeled. The Baptist Church gave a literary excursion on the steamer, Hazel, in 1888, which was attended by over two hundred and fifty people. It was reported that all enjoyed the scenery, the talks and readings and the wonderful lunch prepared by the Ladies’ Aid. (139) The Women’s Christian Temperance Union organized during this period and was very active for a time.
The first Forth of July celebration occurred in 1889. A big street parade with all the fire companies taking part, the brass bands, and the floats were features of the day. The main addresses of the day were given by S. O. Shattuck, George Wells, A. P. Pujo, and W. B. Ripley. A big ball was held at night in the Williams’ Opera House; Miss Ellen Tournet was queen. (140)
Apparently, affairs were progressing in a very idealistic manner in so far as development of a community consciousness and pride were concerned. However, things did not run smoothly during the entire period. In 1884, it was reported that health, crops, and business were not so good up in the country. (141) In 1886 there seemed to be an epidemic of chills and fever, and there was always the constant fear of an epidemic of yellow fever. There were several fires, which were disastrous to business. Mention was made several times during the period of the extreme cold, which seemed to prevail, and in 1882, the Mermentau froze, the first time in its history. (142) In 1886 the worst cold spell in the history of Lake Charles occurred, one which is distinctly remembered yet by old settlers. The Lake Charles Commercial for January 16, 1886, stated that "The loss and suffering among the cattle in this parish and Cameron occasioned by the unprecedented cold spell will be quite serious. They have been frozen to death by the hundreds in the prairies. One large stock owner alone is reported to have lost as many as four hundred during the past few days. It is not yet known to what extent the orange trees have been affected in this section by the extraordinary cold weather, but those who have some experience in the matter, said that although a few isolated trees my survive, this will be the last of the oranges for some time to come." The Lake Charles Echo stated that "Mr. Eraste Hebert, living north of English Bayou, tells us that stream, which is some sixty yards wide, was frozen over last Sunday - something never known." "Owing to the extreme cold weather on the night of the 18th, the attendance at the ball, given by the Babcock Hook and Ladder was not as good as it would have been otherwise." stated the same issue of the Echo. Another paragraph stated, "Since that time the ground has been frozen, the bayous around have all been in fine condition for skating, and our northern friends, who had brought along their steel skates, more as souvenirs of the past, rather than with any hope of finding a field for their use here, have been gliding over the glossy bosoms of our streams to the astonishment and delight of the average native-born Louisianans." "The temperature," said the Commercial, "fell to twenty-six degrees below the freezing mark. (143) In the same year, a terrible storm broke over the southern part of the parish and wiped out the settlements at Sabine Pass and Johnson’s Bayou. Over two hundred persons were drowned in the great tidal wave, which swept over the country as a result of the terrific winds from the south. (144) Law and order were much disturbed by a wave of crime which submerged the good work done by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and other like organizations during the last five years. It can be explained only by the fact that a new group of rough sawmill hands had come into the city as a result of increasing activity in the mills. The Echo stated in 1884 that there were more robberies and fights than had ever been heard of before. The paper frankly said that it did not know the meaning of this sudden outburst of crime. Four persons had been recently killed drunken brawls in saloons, and the article closed with the statement that there was too much whiskey. (145) However, it was but natural that periodic outbursts of such nature should take place in the type of town that Lake Charles was at that time. The most pressing needs of the public at this time were suggested by one of the papers to be a market house, a calaboose, water in case of a fire, and a fence around the public square. (146)
In 1888, the same organ (organization) said of the industrial and agricultural resources of Lake Charles:
"The principal industry up to the present time has been that of lumbering. The immense pinery, which covers about sixty percent of our territory, is an almost inexhaustible source of the very best quality of yellow pine timber. The next most important industry is that of stock raising, which is developing rapidly and promises in a few years to rival our lumber interest. Improved stock is being introduced, as well as improved methods of handling it, and no doubt in a very few years we will compete with Kentucky in this direction. Rice, corn, cotton, peas, potatoes, and cane are the principal field crops, while garden vegetables of all kinds are raised in abundance. Fruit raising until recently was not considered profitable except in the northern part of the parish, but recent developments prove that it is rather owing to a lack of knowledge and the management of fruit trees than to any fault of soil or climate. Those experienced in horticulture find no trouble in making it a success. (147)
Another article from a journal gives a descriptive summary of Lake Charles and the surrounding territory in regard to its development and appearance during this period:
"We are at present in the growing little city of Lake Charles in Southwestern Louisiana. Having heard and read so much of this section of the country, termed the ‘Italy of America’, we came to the conclusion that in our trip through the ‘New South’ we would examine this section personally and ascertain that the attraction is, for people from every direction are moving in and filling up the country. As evidence of the fact, one parish alone, Calcasieu, had added over 8000 to its population since the last census, and most of this has been added during the last five years. There has been no boom such as the Oklahoma rush, and the old citizens, and in fact a large portion of those who have recently come, know nothing of the value of the land. Men often part with their land at from $2 to $5 per acre, when the probabilities are that it will increase tenfold in a very few years. Tell these people the chances are largely in favor of these lands bringing $50 an acre in a few years, and they look at you with astonishment, and yet what are lands worth that will yield from $40 to $60 an acre in rice, or more in sugar cane?"
"It would require a whole book, instead of an article or two to do justice to this wonderland. It contains some beautiful rivers and lakes whose waters come from springs, and are as clear as crystal….One can scarcely realize that there is such a country in the state of Louisiana. (148)
THE CITY OF LAKE CHARLES EMERGES
Between 1890 and 1900, Lake Charles passed from its status as a country town to that of a small city. The change was gradual; there were no startling developments; and the period was one of steady and substantial growth. A great deal of development took place in the agricultural field, which had so long been neglected. The town more than doubled its population and became more than doubly important as the financial, industrial, and agricultural metropolis of an increasing territory. Its population had increased from about eight hundred to over three thousand, the greatest proportionate growth in the history of the town. In the period under review, this unstable population became permanent, so, while the increase may not be so large in figures, it meant much more in the development of the city, as distinguished from the town of Lake Charles.
Said a newspaper of the town in 1890:
"Every winter people came to Lake Charles as a health resort. Lake Charles is the largest town in Southwest Louisiana. Previous to the war, it was only a village of one or two stores, a rude form of Court House, and a log jail. New stores were added after the war, and as the superior merits of Calcasieu Lumber became known, it began to assume importance as a business center, and today has a population somewhere between four and five thousand. (149) They are energetic, live people, and are engaged in milling, merchandising, and all the pursuits that man follows in making a living. Northern capital in the last few years has found out that here is a good place to invest its surplus capital, and Lake Charles numbers among her staunchest citizen’s today Northern men who were attracted here by the superior location and soil for which this parish is noted. Lake Charles has ten large sawmills, three shingle mills, an ice factory, two shipyards, and about fifty miles of tram road of narrow gauge that is used in carrying logs to the lake and the river. All lines of merchandise are represented here."(150)
Another writer describes the city as follows:
"Up to ten years since, its population had not reached more than eight hundred. About that time the Louisiana Western Railroad was constructed, and communication being established with the cities of Texas on the west and New Orleans on the east, the citizens were no longer dependent upon schooners coming up the Calcasieu River, and new people came in, new enterprises were started, the town began to grow, and the limits were found too small. Under a general law of the state, the corporation limits were enlarged, and the little stopping place of cattlemen blossomed out into the beautiful town we now have, with a summer population of three thousand and six hundred, at least four thousand winter residents, containing seven hotels, two banks, and ice factory, two machine shops, one large opera house, nine very saw mills, and three shingle mill around it." (151)
A more intimate description of the town has been given by Professor O. S. Dolby. Ryan Street in 1890 was hardly more than a country road. The only approach to any building on the street was in front of the United States Hotel at the corner of Ryan and Iris where a few planks were laid so that carriages might bring their passengers to the short board walk in front of the hotel without miring down in the mud which so frequently was almost impassable on Ryan Street. Several stories have been told of wagons and carriages sinking so deep that the aid of all citizens within shouting distance was often summoned to help push the vehicle out. The only other sidewalks in town outside the one mentioned above were in front of the residences of Professors Knapp and Thompson, one around the banking house of J. B. Watkins, and one in front of the present Chamber of Commerce building.
On the corner of Ryan and Pujo was a combination store of William Meyer in which he handled both drugs and groceries. A small grocery store occupied the site of the Calcasieu National Bank Building. Where the Rigmaiden Hotel now stands was the Lyons House, which was set thirty feet back from the street. The home of Casper Schindler occupied the site of the present Commercial Block, and George Ryan has his home where the Murray-Brooks Hardware Store now stands. In front of the small, wooden, dilapidated Court House, which was being replaced at that time by a brick structure, was the old, fire department house, which was also used as the City Hall. The Walker House stood where Handley’s restaurant not stands. There was a row of large pine stumps on the site the present Chavanne Building. Ryan street north of Division was all a residential district. The piney woods commenced at the corner of Pine and Bilbo streets. Lawrence Street was then in the midst of a forest of large trees. South of Pithon Coulee was largely uninhabited. When the Central School Building was completed on the site of the present building, people criticized school officials for building it so far from town. The railway station was a barn like structure, and passengers from the trains were brought to Ryan Street by cutting across lot and winding here and there to avoid the many mud holes along the way. The part of town north of the railroad tracks was swallowed up in the woods. Goosport was reached by a narrow road which cut its winding way through the woods. This road was covered with sawdust and for a long time was known as the "Saw Dust Road." This was a general view of the town in 1890. By 1900, a great change had occurred in the appearance of the city to the passer-by.
The attitude of the citizens toward their town advanced in this period. Before 1890, there were no organizations which attempted to unite the townsmen in the premises. However, in 1890, a meeting of the citizens was called to consider the advancement of the best interests of the town as a whole. Little was accomplished at this meeting, but the way was paved for another the next year at which a Board of Trade was organized. (152) H. C. Drew was chosen president, and the possibility of obtaining deep water for the town so that larger ships could be brought into the lake was considered. (153) The next year, the leading members of the Board of Trade, twenty-one in number, went to Alexandria in a body to attend the dedication of the Kansas City, Watkins, and Gulf Railroad, which had just been completed, linking Lake Charles with St. Louis and other markets of the north. Della Neal drove the golden spike, which completed the railroad, and the Board of Trade returned home secure in the belief that the spike had been symbolical of their prosperity, which would result from the new railroad. (154) In 1894, forty members of the Board of Trade went to Washington, D. C. to secure more recognition for their city. At their instigation, a parish fair was held for the first time in 1894. (155) This was one of the most successful ever held. All types of diversion were furnished: foot races, bands, a bicycle drill of nineteen wheels from Jennings, which was accompanied by a chorus of fifteen voices, bicycle races, and various kinds of games. The last mentioned amusements were held in Pleasure Park where over fifteen hundred people gathered before the day was finished. Although the Board actually attained few tangible results in this period, a substantial beginning was made.
Much of the new prosperity, which the citizens of Lake Charles soon began to enjoy, was due to the acreage of rice and the greater ease in harvesting it. In 1890, a consignment of three hundred harvesters in a train of twenty-two cars was brought to Lake Charles by the William Deering Harvester Company. "The train left Chicago on the 8th inst., and it is said to be the most beautiful freight train that ever entered the Southern States, decorated as it was with flags and flowers. At every station along the route, it was met by large crowds who hailed it with cheers and speeches of welcome…..When the train arrived in Lake Charles; over a thousand people were at the depot to welcome it." (156) Speeches were made and a big banquet was given at the Howard Hotel. Another company entered the field, and it is estimated that not less than five of six hundred machines were sold that year. The estimated crop of the parish was 600,000 barrels. (157) Sentiment was aroused for the erection of a rice mill, and in 1892, the Lake Charles Rice Milling Company was organized under the leadership of G. A. John. The mill had a capacity of three thousand barrels a day. 158 (159) Shortly afterward, the North American Land and Timber Company entered the field of rice production and constructed a canal for the irrigation of fifteen thousand acres of rice land. (160) The whole period was one of increasing rice production.
The first permanent school was started in Lake Charles in 1890 upon the completion of what was known as the Central School Building. For that time, it was an imposing structure, being forty-seven by seventy-eight feet, two stories in height, and containing eight schoolrooms. Professor O. S. Dolby was the principal, and he was assisted by four teachers; Miss M. J. Grossman, Mr. A. Vincent, Miss M. A. Jenkins, and Miss Louise Leveque. (161) This school had an exceptional growth; in 1890, there were five teachers and two hundred and twenty-six students; in 1891, six teachers and two hundred and forty students; in 1892, seven teachers, five hundred and forty-three students; and in 1894 twelve teachers and six hundred and fifty-six students. J. E. Keeny took charge of the school in 1893, and even a greater growth and development took place under his administration. The tenure of teachers seems to have been very short, for in 1892, only two of the teachers remained who started in 1890. The teaching staff that year comprised Miss Louise Lebeque, Miss Laura Siling, Miss Susie Bradley, Miss Myrtle McClelland, Miss M. Burt, Miss A. M. Jenkins, and C. H. Buche. On several occasions, it was necessary to hire teachers in the middle of the school year to take care of the increasing attendance. In 1895, a Summer Normal Institute was held in Lake Charles, which showed that an effort was being made to equip teachers with the best methods. (162) In1897, the schools reported an enrollment of over six hundred and fifty and a very crowded condition in all of the buildings. (163) A new building was constructed on the south side in 1899. In the annual school report made by Principal Grant Shaffter to Superintendent McNeese, there were listed three hundred and forty-two students in the primary grades, one hundred and thirty-two in the intermediate, and one hundred and fifty-eight in the grammar department. One hundred and thirty-three were enrolled in the high school division, making a total for all departments of seven hundred and sixty-five students in the public schools. (164) At this time, the building of the Lake Charles College was purchased and transformed into a high school building. Over $200,000 was expended for building improvements during the year 1899, and still there was a shortage of room. Several old buildings were rented to remedy the shortage, and constant additions were made to the faculty. In 1896, there were thirteen graduates from the high school, and in 1899, the High School Cadets were organized with Ed Williams as captain; J. Jacobs, first lieutenant; and Andrew Caldwell, second lieutenant. (165) Football was introduced during this year, and three games were played with Crowley on the following dates: November 26th, December 1st, December 25th, all of which were won by Lake Charles. (166)
The Lake Charles College was established by the Congregationalists of the New England states, although a few of the wealthier citizens in Lake Charles aided the enterprise. The building was erected in 1890. It was considered to be a magnificent building at that time and was surrounded by sixteen acres of land. The college opened on October 1st, 1980, with Rev. H. L. Hubbell, D. D., of Amherst, Massachusetts as president, and Rev. A.R. Jones, a graduate of Amherst College, as principal. (167) By 1897, seventy students were enrolled. (168) Elaborate commencement exercises were held, and the American stated in 1895 that "a great deal of fun was had by all." In that year, the following students graduated: Annie Fawcett, D. B. Gorham, Jr. J. Alton Foster, Lula Hoag, Hattie Fenton, Flora Carroll of Merryville. (169)
A fine dancing school was established in 1893 by E. B. Mayo. Classes were held twice a week, and a great deal of progress was made. (170) Probably much of this was due to the fact that the first phonograph was used in teaching the classes. The American reported, "A loud speaking phonograph is in town, and everyone and his girl is going to her it. It is the talk of the town, and is a wonderful machine. We don’t see how they get it to talk like they do." (171)
Much construction took place about this time. A new courthouse was erected of brick. A new ice factory was built. Two new bank buildings and a large number of houses were built. At one time, there were forty housed in the course of construction.(172) A number of new homes were given names, among which were the following: S. A. Knapp, "The Three Pines"; George Harridge, "The Southland Home"; H. H. Eddy, "The Three Oaks"; William Loree, "The Rose Cottage"; and L. W. Kinney, "Sunnyside". The Lorees, were pioneers in introducing new varieties of flowers and fruits. They had eighty-five varieties of roses and eighty-six orange trees in their yard at this time. (173) The newly organized sulphur company spent between one and two million dollars in developing their holdings near the present town of Sulphur. (174) Miller’s store made its first big advance when it took over the building formerly occupied by Phil Jacobs. (175) A waterworks and light plant was constructed. In the early nineties the Lake Charles Street Railroad Company built and old street car line which was operated by mules for a number of years. A new opera house was built, and it was later sold by Captain George Locke to the Lake Charles Opera House and Hotel Company, Ltd. In 1897. (176) This was a flimsy structure of wood, and was destroyed by fire a few years later. Agitation was started for a new hospital, and over a thousand dollars was subscribed by citizens to begin the work. This work, however, was delayed until the next period. (177) In 1899, a great deal of building took place. J. A. Bel built his home, which is still one of the finest in the city. The Bartley Building was constructed. A new jail was built after repeated attempts had been made to renovate the old one. (178) Railroad Avenue was opened and graded from Ryan to Bilbo Street to provide a new entrance to the new depot which had been ordered to be constructed by the Interstate Commerce Commission to take place of the old one which had long been in disgrace to the community. (179) Several stores opened soon on the new street. Civic improvements were made. North Ryan Street was shelled, and the residents on East Division Street raised funds through private subscription to build a five-foot boardwalk to Ryan Street. (180) A bridge was constructed over Contraband Bayou, which drew people into town more frequently than when they were forced to cross in a rowboat. (181) Complaints regarding the service of the old ferry across the Calcasieu resulted in a new one. It started form the municipal wharf just back of the Charleston Hotel and went almost straight across the lake to where the Kelly-Weber Fertilizer Plant now stands. A bicycle path was constructed along Shell Beach, which was enjoyed by almost all the citizens of Lake Charles. (182) By the end of the period, Lake Charles had spread over almost twice as much ground as it had formerly occupied, and Ryan Street began to have the appearance of a city street.
Social activities became commercialized during this period much more than they had formerly. Exclusiveness began to creep into social functions. At the end of the period, much of the wholehearted spirit with which the citizens had formerly entered into various activities was lacking. The fire companies ceased to have social recreation as one of their main interests, and complaint was made in 1899 that there was at that time no band to furnish music for gala occasions. (183) However, as in most affairs, the lack of interest might have been due to the fact that there was a reaction from the other extreme. In the early ‘nineties, the American stated that "the social whirl was becoming maddening." Many soiree dansantes were given, and scarcely a day passed that one did not read of parties and entertainments given by Judge Gorham, the Horridges, the Eddys, the Lorees, the Halls, the Knapps, the Mayos, the Wentzs, the Blocks, the Thompsons, the Van Dykes, or the Williams. (184) The Lockes, the Bels, the Goos families, the Roberts, and others gave many affairs. An elite classification had raised itself above the community social life of the past.
Another type of exclusiveness formed among the young men of the town in the medium of the Lakeside Recreation Club. The organization held its first meeting in 1891, and it was composed of most of the enterprising young men of the town. A regular ritual was used in their initiation ceremonies. Mock trials exceeded other activities, an evidence of the importance of law and oratory in the lives of the young men of this period. Other forms of recreation indulged in were debates, readings, declamations, and musical entertainments. The club expanded and was received so enthusiastically that a building was erected and membership opened to practically every young man in the town between the ages of fifteen and twenty-one. (185)
In October 1891, the American stated that there had been a great many entertainments and concerts given. The next year Columbus Day was celebrated in great style. The first part of the day was spent in the schoolhouse where Rona Keener, Helen McCoy, Lizzie Blair, Dan Gorham, and Alton Foster gave recitations for the entertainment of parents and others. A big parade was a feature furnished by the Confederate Veterans. That evening a party was given for the young people of the town in which most of the entertainment was furnished by the young people themselves. The following people took important parts: the Misses Mamie Dees, Mamie Curley, Emma and Maud Jenkins, Lillie Winterhaler, Gallie Keener, Mary Richardson, Alice Curley, Irene Dees, Nettie Kinder, Clara Marshall, Laura and Emma Siling; Messrs. Munroe, Krause, Terren, McCain, Mayo, Foster, Winterhaler, Dees, McIver, Neal, Martin, White, Hollie, McCormick, and Dr. Pierce. (186) This party was the last large one of record. From this time on the social affairs were restricted to fewer people. Poverty parties became the rage in the spring of 1892, and for a few months teemed with their announcements. (187) Exclusiveness again began to creep in when the Review Club was formed in 1893, whose membership was restricted to thirty very carefully chosen ladies of the town. (188) The Elks Club was formed on March 24, 1899, and it soon became one of the most important organizations in town. (189)
In 1894, the Pleasure Park Association was formed which sold bonds to provide the funds for the construction of a race track, forty feet wide and half a mile long, a dance floor, and a grand stand. Twenty-five acres of ground were leased and about $500 worth of bonds sold. (190) The main use of the park for the year was in celebration of the Fourth of July. The celebration was a parish-wide affair, really the beginning of the Calcasieu Parish Fair, (191)
One of the most important transactions was concluded in 1890 when the Lake Charles Echo was sold to and consolidated with the American. Few papers in any town played so large a part in its development as this paper. The editor, Captain J. W. Bryan, fought strenuously for whatever he believed to be right and was never backward in his criticism of things he believed to be wrong. He constantly demanded better schools and was probably more important in obtaining good schools for Lake Charles than any other man. Articles in his newspaper were frequently rhetorical, but they reflected very clearly the ideas and manner of his time. Above everything else, he loved Lake Charles. A poem, "Evening on the Calcasieu," which he published in 1888, showed that he caught the spirit of the new town and appreciated to the fullest the beauty, romance, and atmosphere of the Calcasieu Country. Impressions of the town are not so clear in other papers, and to any one who desires to obtain a realistic recording of the events, which took place up to the present period, the writing of Captain Bryan in the Echo, will prove to be a gold mine.
There was not much religious development in this period. People seemed to care little about moral issues. An anti-Lottery League was organized in 1891, but it apparently had little success or interest in its work. (192) In l897, interest in the temperance movement seemed to be very small, for an item stated that a very small crowd gathered to hear Mrs. Wilkins’s lecture which was supposed to be one of the best at that time. (193)
The most important civic welfare organization ever to function in Lake Charles was formed in 1898, the Enterprise Club. (194) The work of the club has been more extensive and had been of more value to the city than all other organizations combined. It contributed much in making Lake Charles one of the most beautiful small cities in the South. In 1899, the Club ordered trees for the cemetery, the first to be planted there. (195) From that time forward, the Club had constantly been engaged in beautifying the city of Lake Charles.
The weather during this period was somewhat freakish. The greatest rainfall in the history of the city in one month occurred in July 1892, when 14.20 inches fell. On the other hand, there were two months when no rain fell which was very unusual in Lake Charles. These were the months of September 1895, and May 1899. Snow fell on March 3, 1894, and again on February 16, 1895, when from sixteen inches to two feet of snow lay on the ground. A very cold spell came in the early part of 1899, when the thermometer fell to seven degrees above zero. The lake was covered with ice as far a one hundred feet from the shore. (196) Even Big Lake was frozen over. (197) And, worst of all, there was a wood famine for a time in town. People used so much in trying to keep warm that they soon depleted the supply on hand, causing prices to go up very high and making it impossible for some people to obtain at any price. (198) Buck Brothers Brick Works lost over 40,000 bricks as a result of the freeze.(199) One of the tugboats was frozen in the Calcasieu River. (200)
During the period under review, there were numerous scares on account of yellow fever. Whenever Lake Charles heard of a community in the state, in which the disease had broken out, they would establish a quarantine and would allow no one to enter the city until the epidemic was over. Guards were stationed as far east as the Mermentau River to prevent people from coming in from the east. (201) The year 1899 was one of the worst in the history of the city for diseases. In March, small pox broke out to such an extent that every one was forced to receive vaccination. If they were unable to pay for it, the city furnished the necessary money. (202) In November a diphtheria epidemic started, but it was checked before it became very bad. (203) It was, however, important in bringing back the parish officer of health who had been allowed to resign after having had his salary cut in half. (204) More attention was directed after this to public health which may be one of the reasons why Lake Charles at the present time is one of the most healthful cities in the United States.
Several very good plays and play companies were brought to Lake Charles during this period. In 1899, three plays were well attended. "The Princess Bonnie" was given on February 11, 1899. (205) Shortly afterward Katherine Kidder appeared in the play, " The Winters Tale" and Lewis and Morrison in "Frederick, the Great."
Evidence that Lake Charles was still not far removed from its backwoods years was seen in 1899, when a none-foot alligator was pulled from the trestle of the Lake Charles Mill within the city limits. (206) A cow wandered into a doctor’s office in the same year. (207)
The city grew rapidly through the period. New subdivisions were laid out and the residential section crept closer to the pine forests on the outskirts of the city. Watkins continued his advertising and sent an exhibit train through the states of Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois during the winter of 1892-1893. Many settlers were attracted to the town as a result of this excursion. The Louisville Daily Times for September 12, 18997, said, "The progressive people of Lake Charles have taken advantage of the immense number of visitors in Louisville to do a little advertising of their own bustling city and have circulated some very interesting literature, telling why settlers should come to that section of the country.
Postal receipts show an increasing population and prosperity. In 1890, the receipts were $5,249, and in 1899, they were over $11,000. A paper stated that it only remained for the City Council to provide for the placing of the names on the streets and numbers on the houses to have free mail delivery. (208)
The population increased from 3,442 in 1890 to 6,680 in 1900. (209) The assessment value of the city was $872,995 in 1899. The deposits in the First National Bank increased from $94,404.90 in 1890 to $141,240.33 in 1895 and $508,205.04 in 1900. The Watkins bank and the Calcasieu National Bank were also doing business. It is said that over $80,000 was paid in wage money to employees by manufacturers of Lake Charles in 1894.
Evidences of greater prosperity appeared on the streets. A great many bicycles, delivery wagons, and fine buggies were shipped in. S. Kaufman received a shipment of fifty buggies at one time. (210)
A new paper, the Lake Charles Press, was started in 1893, but it did not assume much importance until after 1900.
A bad fire occurred on August 2, 1899. It swept the west side of Ryan Street, causing a loss of about $50,000. The following buildings were destroyed: Smith’s Music Store, Frank’s Furniture House, the two-story warehouse and barn of K. P. Hall, the harness shop of Louis Runte, Piercy and Spearing Restaurant, William Teal’s Tailoring Shop, the office of Dr. Lyons and Dr. Richard, and D. R. Swift’s Livery Stable.(211) Lem Dees also lost part of his mustache in the fire. Dees was one of the most interesting characters in the history of Lake Charles. He was made chief of police in 1894, and he was probably the best that the city ever had. He is reputed to have had a powerful voice, so powerful that when he attempted to whisper, his voice had more carrying power than any ordinary person’s conversational tone. He, many times, stood at one end of Ryan Street and made people understand what he was saying at the other end. There are a great many stories in circulation regarding him and his work. After the fire, the City Council met and established a fire limits ordinance, preventing the erection of a certain type of building within the business district. (212)
At the close of the year on December 18, 1899, occurred the death of Jacob Ryan who was called the "father of Lake Charles," and who saw the city of Lake Charles rise from a forest of pine trees on his farm to the fifth largest city in Louisiana at that time. (213) Ryan was unfortunate in most of his undertakings and reaped little financial benefit from the fact that the city had grown up on his farm. He disposed of a great deal of his property at a very low price, receiving only $50 for the finest lots on Ryan Street, and, of course, much less for the residential lots.
LAKE CHARLES ATTEMPTS MANY THINGS
Before 1900, the history of Lake Charles showed well-defined movements extending over a period of years. Progress seemed to be orderly and progressive over a certain range of time. After 1900, it was almost impossible to characterize a period with any one characteristic, not solely because there were so many and diverse developments, but rather because of the fluctuations in the attitude which the people took toward and new movement. Just when a movement seemed well under way, a reversal of opinion changed the course of the subject entirely. The fact that Lake Charles is not now a very much larger city may be attributed to the inconsistency in following out well-defined objectives.
The cause for lack of consistency may have been due to rivalries, which prevented the businessmen of the city from uniting themselves solidly behind any movement. But, there are a number of incidents, which would disprove this theory. Rather, it may be said to have been caused by a very general and indefinite reason; namely, that a period of readjustment was in progress, and the citizens of Lake Charles themselves did not know how to accomplish that which they desired. Their desires were many times clearly stated, but the means of bringing then to completion were often lacking.
That a period of readjustment was in progress may be seen by the development in bank deposits during the year of 1900. Evidently, the citizens realized the condition and wisely refused to commit themselves for any project. The Watkins Bank closed at the opening of the next year. Lake Charles had now reached the point where they were able to do without the services of J. B. Watkins; to have lost him before would have been a calamity to the growth of the city. Bank deposits continued to increase, reaching a total of $1,400,000 at the end of December 1901. (214) Such and increase, of course, encouraged the formation of another bank, the Lake Charles National Bank, with a capitalization of $100,000. H. C. Gill was made president. A small building at the corner of Ryan and Broad Streets was the home of the bank. In 1904, the Calcasieu National Bank began to draw ahead of the other banks, and during the year, they spent $25,000 in remodeling their building. (215) In the same year, another bank was organized, the Lake Charles Loan and Trust Company, with a capitalization of $50,000. Leon Chavanne was elected to be president. (216)
The older banks were strengthened during this period from 1900 to 1905. Shortly after the year 1903 opened, the capital of the Calcasieu National Bank was increased from $100,000 to $150,000. In addition, $50,000 was added to the surplus. It was decided that none of the new stock would be sold to old stockholders in order that the bank might increase its sphere of influence. (217) The bank had developed very rapidly since it was founded, and on April 1, 1903, had deposits of $1,148,702. (218) Other banks had continued to increase their deposits and capital until by the end of the year, the combined capitalization of the three banks: The Calcasieu National, the Lake Charles National, and the First National was $300,000. Their deposits were $1,693, 000, and their loans, $1,679,000. Their surplus and undivided profits were $209,000. The most striking increase for the year was in capitalization, closely followed by that of surplus and undivided profit. The gains in other respects were normal. The reason for increased capitalization and surplus was due to a wider field of activity now covered by the banks. The financing of rice production became one of the important functions of the banks.
School interest was reflected by the appropriation of more money for their maintenance. In 1900, they asked for $10,500. (219) Interest had been revived in Lake Charles College, and there were one hundred and ninety-one students in 1901, of whom seventy-two lived outside Lake Charles. (220) During the summer, the Calcasieu Normal Institute attracted over a hundred teachers. (221) Professor J. N. Yeager, principal of the high school, was elected president of the Louisiana State Teacher’s Association, which delighted the people of Lake Charles. (222) Increased attendance had again increased the dissatisfaction of the old buildings which were not able to accommodate all of the pupils.(223) So, in April 1903, the Parish School Board purchased the old Lake Charles College, which had by that time been discontinued , for $7,000. The purchase included sixteen acres of land. (224) Another purchase was made during the summer from J. B. Watkins of the high school building.(225) The Calcasieu Normal Institute attracted the largest number of students to ever attend during the summer of 1903 when two hundred and thirty students registered. (226) The usual appropriation was made in 1903, but the system officials demanded more than the allotted $10,000. (227) Perhaps in disgust, Principal J. N. Yeager resigned, and E. F. Gayle was elected in his place. (228) The schools opened that fall with an attendance of fourteen hundred and fifty students. (229) Everyone realized that the number of students much exceeded the capacity of the buildings, but the City Council seemed very reluctant to give more money.
In 1904, the accommodations denied by the City Council were partially supplied by the Sisters Marianites who constructed a new building at a cost of $10,000. (230) E. F. Gayle was reelected principal of the High School, but resigned before school started in the fall to take a position in the South-west Louisiana Institute at Lafayette. (231) L. L. Squires took Mr. Gayle’s place in the High School, and the present Superintendent of Schools, Ward Anderson, was appointed principal of Central School.(232) The total enrollment at the beginning of the year was twelve hundred and seventy with a teaching force of twenty-five. The High School enrollment was the greatest up to this time, a total of one hundred and forty-six being registered. (233)
The period closed with the schools in very bad condition. There was a debt of $10,000 and insufficient funds to carry on the ordinary operating expenses, despite the overcrowding. The superintendent stated that something must be done at once in order that work be carried on. (234)
The city government started the new period with economy measures, which gave then a profit of $4,063.11 for the year, 1901. However, the city still labored under a debt of $36,000.(235) John H. Poe was mayor at this time, and demanded strict economy despite the requests of the citizens for the city to purchase the Ice, Light, and Waterworks Company. The purchase price would have been $140,000, which was too much for the mayor to sanction, so the project fell through. (236) The citizens also demanded a sewerage system, which would have cost $5,000. (237) All these demands were set aside for a long time.
As the importance of the City Council Increased, more problems were brought before it for solution. These problems were always vexations to council members, and some of the most interesting reading of the period was the attempts of the council to dodge the issues. The influence of Theodore Roosevelt was seen in the zeal of the reformers of the period; they displayed a tenacity that left little rest for the harassed council members. Early in January 1903, the ministers of the city appeared before the council asking that something be done to abolish the disorderly houses, which had grown considerably in numbers during the past five years. One section of the town just south of the Southern Pacific tracks and east of Ryan Street had been reserved for places of this nature, but due to the great increase in the houses of assignation which had sprung up in various parts of the city, the ministers believed that all houses should be stamped out. Many of these houses were visited by the prominent men of the city, and appointments were made between various men and women of the city who did not follow the occupation for gain. There was quite a strong, though veiled, sentiment that these houses should not be disturbed, for several of the women who ran these houses, many of whom were mulattoes, knew too much for them to be harshly disturbed. The council agreed with the ministers that the houses were wrong and should be abolished, and they drew up a resolution to that effect, but when the vote was taken on the resolution, everyone was very much surprised to see the resolution voted down overwhelmingly. (238)
The council decided that they must have a new city hall. After looking about for property, they finally selected a sixty-foot lot on the south side of Division Street. Several others were offered than which will be quoted for the purpose of showing property values at this time. J.H. Tuttle offered the south-west corner of Kirby and Cole Streets, a lot sixty-seven feet by one hundred and thirty feet, to then for $1500. Gill and Gossett offered the southeast corner of Ryan and Kirby, a lot forty-five by sixty-six and three-fourths feet, for $4,500. The lot selected was in the rear of the First National Bank, and the owners wanted $1,500 for this lot. (239) However, it did not remain the final choice, for on account of the rivalry existing between those desiring to sell their lots two more selections were made before the actual purchase. The final selection was J. H. Tuttle’s property at the corner of Cole and Kirby Streets. (240)
The building was completed in September and accepted from Contractor N. D. Dawson. (241)
At the city election held in April 1903, C. H. Winterhaler was elected Mayor to succeed John H. Poe. L. C. Dees was again elected City Marshall. These men served the remainder of the period.
A city report of finances, which appeared on July 15, may be interesting in showing the various revenues and expenditures at that time. The total revenue was $45,400 of which $20,000 was obtained from licenses and $1,800 from fines. The expenditures were as follows: Schools, $10,000; streets, $5,000; salaries, $8,000; Board of Health, $2,000; library, $1,000; water, lights, $8,000; old indebtedness, $7,200; and contingent fund, $4,200. (242)
The reform movement which the ministers of the city had started early in the year was revived, and this time an effort was made to abolish gambling and close the saloons on Sundays. Due to great pressure, the Council passed an Anti-Gambling Ordinance and provided that the saloons should be closed on Sundays. (243) The next few weeks saw many saloons being fined for violations of the ordinance, which was generally disregarded. Practically nothing was done in regard to gambling, and in just about a month after the passage of the gambling ordinance, the ministers renewed the attack, and the Council was forced to raise the saloons license to $1,000. (245) Their work also resulted in more arrests. During the month of October 1903, ninety-two arrests were made: thirty-two for disorderly conduct, twenty-three for fighting, and thirteen for drunkenness. (246) In November, even more were made, a total of one hundred and two for the month. (247) However, the saloons continued to increase in popularity, and twenty-five licenses to sell liquor were given out in one day. (248)
More problems were brought up in the following year, and the City Council, as usual, had great difficulty in finding solutions. One account of the inability to solve the sidewalk problem, and the property owners on Broad Street constructed sidewalks upon their own initiative between Common and Ford Streets. (249) The same reluctance to settle a problem was seen in the question of whether or not the Lake Charles Opera House should be condemned. Many citizens had complained of the danger. (250) So, the Council met, and decided to pass an ordinance asking the Lake Charles Opera House why it should not be condemned as a fire hazard and on account of its decayed condition. Gathering courage, the Council a few days later met and passed an ordinance condemning it. A day or two later, the Council again met, and, because of the complaint of the owners, passed another ordinance nullifying their condemnation order. (251) Again braving criticism, the Council ordered that all private sewers leading into the lake should be closed. (252) Several of these private sewer owners persuaded the Council that their action had been unjust, so the Council repealed the ordinance. Other property owners who had made the original complaint objected, and the Council side-stepped the issue at every opportunity, in the next few weeks. (243) The harassed Council again received general criticism because the insurance companies had reduced Lake Charles from second to third class because of inadequate fire protection. The rate was raised at least twenty-five percent on all property, and in some cases the rate was raised even higher. (254) However, this problem was promptly solved. $12,500 was appropriated to purchase fire wagons, hose, install a fire alarm system, and to build a fire station. (255) The city was just beginning to realize that the honor of the old volunteer fire companies appealed no more to the citizens, and that they could no longer depend upon the old system if the rate of insurance for the city were to be kept at their proper figure. In the latter part of the year, added protection was given by the placing of nineteen new hydrants on the streets. Many efforts were made to lower the liquor license, which had continued to pay quite a large part of the expense of running the city government. The license was $1,000, and remained at this figure probably because of the activity of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the property owners who desired no increase in their taxes. Twenty-six were taken out at the close of the year. As may be easily seen, the city government was very weak at this time and did little to advance Lake Charles. Its greatest concern seemed to be in offending none of the friends of members of the Council.
Several progressive and beneficial actions were taken, however, Lake Charles had become a mecca for hoboes and idle men. The council for the past two years had deported them when discovered. They now became more drastic and passed an ordinance subjecting such men to a $10 fine or ten days in jail. (256) The situation was relieved greatly by this action. Sidewalks were again brought up, and the council passed an ordinance, providing that pavements and walks would be constructed at cost to the owner by the city and would be given five years to pay for the improvements, the installments to be paid annually. (257) A tax of $400 yearly for the buying of fire equipment was passed. (258) A proposal to issue bonds for street paving and sewerage was submitted, but it was turned down by the citizens. A campaign for cleaning out the numerous stray dogs was instituted. The police department estimated the number to be about 16,000 in the city. (259) The city announced to the public that it had the assurance of being able to obtain its share of the cost of paving Ryan Street, and that it was only waiting upon the property owners to raise their money in order to start work. (260) A new budget was adopted for $57,300, which increased the expenditures of the city about $15,000. (261) Six new streetlights were put up. (262)
Several public improvements were made during the year. The public library was opened to the public on March 6th 1904. (263) A clean-up campaign was undertaken and carried out with a great deal of enthusiasm. The Enterprise Club, as usual, took the lead in the work and directed the campaign. (264) The Court House yard was leveled and an iron fence was placed around it. (265)
Few disorders of a serious nature took place. The worst was a shooting affray on a Negro excursion train. (266)
The size of the American was increased to eight pages of six columns. (267)
The Lake Charles Board of Trade was an exceptional body in proposing new ideas, but was very unsuccessful in carrying them out. Many plans were proposed, but before they could be worked out, other plans were proposed which seemed better to the members. A great many projects were proposed during the year, but few reached completion. However, the attempt to realize new projects showed a desire to improve Lake Charles. The board had sixty-two members. H. B. Milligan was president, and C. H. Winterhaler was secretary. Each member paid dues of $5 a year. The first project of year was the planting of the Boer colony. (268) Nothing of permanent nature was accomplished. The next project of the year was the encouragement of the planting of magnolia trees. (269) Over eighty were planted. The dredge work, however, which the board had started, was discontinued because of the lack of funds. (270) Better train service was accomplished when a new local train was put on between Lafayette and Lake Charles. (271) The Calcasieu Lake Canal was completed during the latter part of March. (272) A new railroad company was chartered to build a road through the pine woods north of town with a capitalization of $2,000,000. The company, which built the road, was the Gulf, Calcasieu and Northern. (273) The Lake Charles Street Railway Company put on all-night service for the first time in February to accommodate the workers at the sawmills. The cars were run hourly between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. (274) The Board of Trade pleased everyone in the city when it assured the public that the extension of the Kansas City Southern to New Orleans via Leesville and Crowley was a certainty. (275) However, the road never materialized. The ambitions of the Board of Trade in their endeavor to help all was extended to every field, and in 1903, a benefit vaudeville for the library was put on which netted $300. (276) Natchitoches made an attempt to secure a railroad north from Lake Charles, but was given little support from the Board of Trade. (277)
So many projects had failed of completion that the interest, which gave the birth to the organization of the Board of Trade, began to flag. On April 12, the Board held a meeting, which had a very sparse attendance. (278) The Board received some credit for the building of the first steel bridge in the parish over English Bayou in May. (279) But the president, realizing that something big must be accomplished to regain the support of the community, made a trip to New Orleans in June and came back with the information that by an expenditure of half a million dollars, Lake Charles could secure an eighteen foot channel to the sea. (280) The board secure often times failed to work for possible and needed things because there was not enough prestige to be gained from its accomplishment. One of these was street repair work. A great deal of complaint had been made regarding their poor condition, and considerable publicity had been given the fact that a transfer wagon drawn by large horses mired in a mud hole between Broad and Division Streets on Bilbo. It was necessary to unload the wagon to get it out. (281) A new hotel was needed, so the Board called a meeting at which seventeen businessmen were present. (282) Their work was of little value, for the plans had already been drawn up for the $40,000 structure. (283)
The Board of Trade was inactive during the next year, and little mention was made of any of its activities. The only thing in which the Board was concerned which had any importance was the resumption of work on the Calcasieu Pass Jetties, which had been partially destroyed by a storm in 1900. (284)
Another organization made its appearance during this year, which had much more influence then the Board of Trade. This was the Civic League, which presented two signed petitions to the City Council for adoption, providing for a board of public works of seven members and for the suspension of the franchise tax for a period of five years. (285)
A number of civic improvements were made during the period. The Enterprise Club, as usual, began the work by establishing a drive along Shell Beach. They created one of the most beautiful drives in the United States without receiving a cent of aid from public funds. (286) A new road from Foster Street to the city limits was also constructed by the same organization. The public library was founded this year, although it was not opened to the public until1904. The library received its first aid from the North American Land and Timber Company who donated one of the finest sites in Lake Charles for the library. (287) Carnegie donated $10,000 for the building, and it became a municipal institution when an ordinance was passed by the City Council. (288) The paving of Ryan Street obtained definite action in a meeting of the City Council on July 17th, 1903. The contract for the work was awarded soon afterward. (289) A half block of cement sidewalk was laid on Broad Street near Ford, but the people tried to ruin it, according to the City Council. (290) New street lights were placed on south Ryan at Watkins Switch and on Foster Street. (291) Then, the Enterprise Club continued its good work and housed its headquarters in the old American building on Hodges Street. (292) The club concentrated its activities for 1904 in beautifying Drew Park and Shell Beach. (293) The Elks Club made a substantial addition to the building activity of the city when they purchased the property on the corner of Broad and Hodges Streets and began plans to erect one of the finest club houses in America.(294)
A great deal of excitement was aroused in Lake Charles in the early part of 1904 over an attempt to disqualify D. J. Reid for the office of sheriff. Mr. Reid had been one of the most successful men in the community, and, consequently, had very good friends and very bitter enemies. The first fight occurred when the Democratic Executive Committee met and by a vote of twelve to thirteen decided that the proceedings to disqualify him were out of order. (295) The fight was carried to the people a short time later, and in an election, Reid won over Perkins for the office.(296) Politics began to assume a much greater importance, people began to investigate the actions of their elected officers, and the Reid trouble resulted immediately in an investigation of the assessment rolls of the parish which were found to be in very bad order, not-with-standing the fact that $55,093 had been spent on them in 1903. (297)
More and more complaints were made by the people about more and more things as the period drew to a close. The old condition of satisfaction with life was changing into a more critical attitude. The telephone service, which would have been unquestioned a short time before now, drew many complaints. Five hundred subscribers signed a petition for relief from poor service. (298)
There were fewer outbursts of enthusiasm for the country. Several things had contributed to this feeling. A bad storm broke over Lake Charles in 1904 and caused a great deal of damage.(299) In April of the same year, the cold weather was said to have injured the rice crop to a great extent. (300) That summer, the eastern part of Calcasieu Parish suffered greatly from drought. (301) Whether this had any bearing on the subsequent talk regarding the division of the parish may be inferred only. It is certain that the talk of division received no favor in Lake Charles. (302) In the latter part of the summer of 1904, Lake Charles suffered a great deal from a plague of mosquitoes which swarmed in from the Gulf Coast, brought by the high winds. All out-of-door work was suspended; it was almost impossible to stay in the open for any length of time. (303)
Sports occupied a larger place in the recreation of the people than before. Baseball came in for quite a large share of the attention given to competitive games. Games were played regularly between the high school and the college nines. (304) Interest became so great in the fall of 1901, that the aggregation of All-American and All-Southern teams was brought to town for a game. Among the players were Donlin, Seymour, Lajoie, Bradley, and Carrick. (305) The games between the high school and the college were very close and often aroused much bitterness between the two schools. As a result of one of the games, a tumult was started on Ryan Street, which took the mayor and several policemen to quell. (306) The town itself organized a team, which defeated Beaumont 18 to 1. (307)
Football was again started in the Lake Charles High School. James Williams was responsible for starting the interest among the students; he laid out the grounds and persuaded Edmond Chavanne to coach the team. (308) The big game of the year which was played on Thanksgiving Day resulted in a victory of 5 to 0 for the Lake Charles High School over the Lafayette industrial Institute. (309) The next year, 1904, the High School lost the same team by a score of 17 to 0. (310)
Amusements occupied a larger place in the minds of the people. More and more shows came to Lake Charles each year. In 1901, the Al G. Fields Minstrel Show, which has not missed coming every year since that time, made it first appearance. (311) Considerable complaint was made at various times during the year, however, that the price of one dollar was too high for shows in Lake Charles, and mention was made of the fact that the same shows were presented at the Crescent Theatre in New Orleans for fifty cents. (312) Excursions on the train which had been very popular during the preceding two or three years now lost some of their attraction on account of the "rowdies shooting out of the car windows and terrorizing the timid passengers." (313) As the period progressed amusements decreased in popularity. People seemed too intent upon the making of money. The LeBleu Rangers under J. C. LeBleu became very popular as entertainers, especially for Fourth of July celebrations. (314) The visit of General John B. Gordon and his speech was an occasion long remembered. (315) The Secretary of Agriculture made several visits to Lake Charles to confer with his friend, S. A. Knapp. Knapp’s opinion of agricultural matters seemed to be more important than that of any other man in the United States even at this time.(316) At the close of the period, public amusements had dropped so in favor that the Opera House in an effort to hold its patrons announced on September 1st that it would present in the near future the following entertainers which was by far the best group that had been obtained during any year in the history of Lake Charles: A. G. Fields, Tim Murphy, Billy Kersands, Murray and Mack, W. B. Patton, William Gillette, Joseph Jefferson, and Charles B. Haufitz. (317) The Elks Minstrel was the closing act of entertainment of the period and one of the best. (318)
A somewhat depressing attitude comes to one as the period is reviewed. Much of the enthusiasm of the past years seemed lacking. Yet, the industrial and commercial accomplishments of the period were the greatest that had yet been completed. The Lake Charles Rice Mill finished in April, 1901, but the other mills continues to run at full blast, so that little loss was felt by the general public by this disaster. (320) Shipping increased, for a total of 139,581 tons were shipped through the Calcasieu Pass for the year ending on June 1, 1901. In the latter part of the year, the Watkins Refinery started operations and received quite large shipments of sugar cane. (321) The refinery, however, never became very successful, mainly because of the fact that Watkins was not able to personally supervise its operations. His attention had been directed toward his new land development scheme, which was to drain twenty-five thousand acres east of town by deepening the Kayoche Coulee. (322) This project is just now being carried to completion. Property values made no great increase during this year, which indicated that the town was in a somewhat quiet state financially. An indication of the property valuation may be seen by the sale by R. H. Nason to J. A. Gayle of a lot sixty-three by one hundred and eight feet in Block 27 of Nix’s Subdivision for $729. (323)
Probably the greatest industrial progress of the period was made during 1903. One of the largest real estate transactions up to this time was completed in January when Swift and Kirkwood sold to the Calcasieu Real Estate Company the northeast corner of Ryan and Division Streets with a hundred foot front on Ryan Street for $23,500. The lot was three hundred feet deep. (324) Another large purchase was that of the Industrial Lumber Company from Wright, Blodgett and Company of twenty-seven thousand acres of timber land for $635,000 or an average price of $27.50 an acre, which was the highest price paid up to that time for timber land. (325) The rising price of property values on Ryan Street was seen in the purchase of Singleton Bryan from the Bryan Company of the lot at the corner of Ryan and Court Streets. The lot with a hundred and fifty foot frontage on Ryan Street changed hands for a consideration of $15,000. (326) A short time later, a lot at the corner of Ryan and Pujo Street was sold for $8,400 with a hundred foot frontage on Ryan Street. (327)
Several building improvements were made. The Reams and Hollins Building was constructed. (328) The parish jail was remodeled, which had been a usual event every two years since prisoners were kept in it. The Rigmaiden Hotel was built, which is still one of the busiest hotels in the city. (329) There were, as usual, a number of residences erected.
Several bad fires hurt business during the year. The Rigmaiden Bakery of Railroad Avenue was destroyed with a $16,000 loss. (330) The Welsh Machinery and Supply Company burned with a loss of $15,000. (331) The largest fire occurred when the Howard Hotel burned. There were eighty sleeping guests in the hotel when the fire was discovered, and all were taken out safely with one exception. (332) The Howard was the largest hotel in town at that time. The St. Clair Hotel enlarged its building to take care of the trade, which had formerly been accommodated by the Howard. (333) The last fire of the year was that of the Cagney and Christman Building, the first brick building to be erected in Lake Charles. The loss was $20,000. (334)
This year, 1903, was a great development in the formation of many and large companies. J. B. Watkins had brought big finance methods to Lake Charles, and the citizens were at this time following his example with little caution. Many of the companies were unsuccessful, which was to be expected when one took account of the way in which they formed and operated. Somewhat peculiar was the fact that the man who was responsible for bringing the idea of big finance to Lake Charles was at this time in difficulties with his largest company. The North American Land and Timber Company was suing and receiving judgment against Watkins for$150,000, which, it was claimed, was due them as interest on money which Watkins had used for twenty years which belonged exclusively to the company. (335) Moore’s Investment Company and the Pelican Paint Manufacturing Company were organized in March. (336) A few days later the Bayou Serpent Oil and Mineral Company was formed with a capitalization of $1,000,000.(337) The Mayo Abstract Company was next formed with a capitalization of $10,000. (338) The Industrial Lumber Company increased its holdings by the purchase of the Calcasieu River Lumber Company for $480,000. (339) Another large real estate company was chartered, the Homeseeker’s Real Estate Company. (340) The Kelly-Weber Wholesale Grocery Company, which had started on a very small scale, now increased its business to the point where it was receiving shipments of as much as twenty-four cars at a time. (341) The Lake City Oil Company was formed by citizens of the city with a capitalization of $50,000 to exploit the Jennings field. (342) The Union Oil and Sulphur Company was formed at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for the development of resources in Calcasieu Parish. (343) The Edgewood Oil and Land Company next made its appearance. (344) It had capitalization of $300,000 and owned ten thousand and eight hundred acres of land. (345) The Mutual Development Company was formed with a capitalization of $200,000. (346) An industrial enterprise was started when the Lake Charles Bottling Works was organized with a capitalization of $3,500. (347) Another large company to appear was the Lake Charles Paper Mill Company with a capitalization of $400,000. (348) The last company of the year to be organized was one which the citizens had been demanding for some time, the Lakeside Steam Laundry, with a capitalization of $5,000. (349)
The next year more companies were formed. The Majestic Hotel Corporation was organized in January with a capitalization of $100,000 most of the stock being purchased by the people of Lake Charles. (350) The Klondike Plantation Company was formed with a capitalization of $400,000. (351) A short time later the Lake Charles Chemical Company was incorporated with a capitalization of $50,000. (352) The Johnson and Lyons Realty Company was organized, capitalization at $10,000. (353) A large grocery company was organized and capitalized at $25,000. It was known as the H. W. Miller Grocery Company. (354) The Louisiana and Pacific Railroad was capitalized at $30,000 as was also the DeRidder and Eastern. (355) These roads were used to bring logs to the mills, particularly the Long-Bell Company. The West Virginia Oil Company made its appearance, backed by a $25,000 incorporation. (356) The Union Sulphur Mines Company raised its capitalization form $70,000 to $270,000. (357) Many of the organized companies did not prosper. A receiver was appointed for the South-west Brick and Tile Company. (358) Although, fewer companies organized, the ones started had a more substantial foundation than those of the preceding year. The last two years of the period were remarkable for the interest taken in the formation of many and varied companies.
Religious development did not keep pace with the industrial. Although Y.M.C.A activities were revived during the year and ninety-four members were enrolled, the young people of the town apparently were too interested in financial betterment to give of their time as freely for religious purposes as they had in the preceding few years. (359) The trustees of the Jewish Synagogue let the contract for their new temple, which was to cost $7,000. (360) The new Baptist Orphanage opened with twenty orphans in its care. (361)
Lumber continued during the period to be the backbone of Lake Charles industry. A severe loss was felt by the industry when the woods north of town burned for six weeks before rain came, which put the fire out. (362) However, fortune helped at a critical time, when the log jam which had been collecting for more than two years in the Whiskey Chitto Creek was broken, releasing over 200,000 logs. (363) There was still no shortage of timber nor timber land. The industry received another set back in the spring of 1904 when the price of Lumber dropped abruptly, causing the seven mills of the Kirby Lumber Company to shut down. (364)
A DEPRESSING YEAR
The year 1905, was perhaps the worst from every standpoint that Lake Charles ever experienced. Practically no progress was made along any line, and the growth, which seemed about to begin at the end of the year, 1904, was definitely checked, not to reappear for several years.
The cause of the depression was a Yellow fever epidemic, which swept over Louisiana and ruined business of all kinds. Throughout the entire state, many enterprises were discontinued, and very few new ones were begun. Those who continued in business often did so at a loss. The flow of new settlers who had been building up Lake Charles during the past few years was stopped, and they did not again begin coming for several years afterward. The epidemic was one of the greatest blows that Louisiana or Lake Charles received.
There were no cases of yellow fever in Lake Charles due to the very careful guarding of the city limits. It was almost certain death to attempt slipping past the guards, so careful were they of their duty. But, with no business being carried on with the outside world, Lake Charles soon lost the prosperity, which she had been building and which seemed destined to place her among the large cities of Louisiana.
Of course, the most important work carried on in the city during the year was in the prevention of the spread of the fever. A detention camp was established at Mermentau to guard against persons bringing the fever in from New Orleans. (365) Texas, likewise, put on a very strict quarantine camp before entering the state.(366) Calcasieu Parish also had quarantine camps on every road leading into the parish where people were forced to remain five days before being allowed to enter the parish. (367) When the epidemic was first reported, people flocked to the trains in frenzied droves in order to get out of the state. However, this was soon stopped by the quarantine regulations. All passenger traffic on the trains ceased with the exception of that on the Lacassine Branch and on the Watkins Road between Lake Charles and Oakdale. (368) The north-bound passenger train on the Kansas City Southern Line, running to DeQuincy from Lake Charles, was met at the station with a shot-gun brigade and sent back to Lake Charles. (369) Freight shipments from all places having yellow fever was forbidden, and through freight train passing through the parish were required to pass at a speed of not less than twenty miles an hour past all points in the parish. (370) Guards were stationed everywhere.
The epidemic had one good feature. Lake Charles had never before and probably not since received as thorough a cleaning from one end to the other as she received at this time. All places, which might be unsanitary, were either cleaned or burned. (371) A "Fumigation Day" was proclaimed by the mayor, and every one was compelled to thoroughly fumigate their houses. (372) The scare lasted until near the end of the year.
There was a stampede for food supplies, which soon depleted the groceries of their stocks. (373) Reports of no foundation were responsible for much of the trouble, so the mayor proclaimed an ordinance, passed by the City Council, making it a fine of $25 for spreading reports of yellow fever. (374)
During the yellow fever epidemic, the Union Sulphur Company donated four hundred tons of sulphur to the city of New Orleans to aid in controlling the spread. (375) There were at this time, one thousand four hundred and forty-six cases of fever in New Orleans. (376)
The business of the banks during the year remained almost stationary, indicating that there was little or no business. There were no increases in capitalization nor in surplus funds. There was a gain of only $92,000 in deposits, which was, much less than the normal gain, and a gain of only $13,000 in loans. There were no improvements made in any of the banks, which seemed to be content to merely hold their own.
The post office receipts for the year remained about the same as in the year previous, $21,870.26. (377)
The city had its usual troubles. An Anti-Gambling and a Sunday-Closing Ordinance was again passed, but as before, both were disregarded by every one. The front doors of the saloons were closed, but all the side doors were open, and business was carried on as usual. (378) In July, the City Treasurer found that he had no funds and that he must pay $400 to street laborers at once. The usual amount of verbal fighting took place before the matter was settled. (379)
In April, the city election took place in which Mayor Winterhaler was reelected mayor by a very close margin over Patterson. The vote was: Winterhaler 342; Paterson, 328. (380)
Several improvements were made. The rails of the street railway were laid to Shell Beach. (381) An electric streetcar was put on, and the street railway company laid plans to build more tracks and furnish better service. (382) The sidewalks along the north side of Broad Street were completed this year. (383) A branch line of the Southern Pacific was surveyed north of Lake Charles with the intention of soon extending the road in that direction. (384) Cole Street became a very popular residential district, and many new homes were built there during the year. (385) L. Kaufman built a two-story brick building on Broad Street for the use of the Hemingway Furniture Company. (386) Mrs. J. Muller increased the size of her store, which had a great increase in business from its small beginning. (387) A. Levy made the first break in the row of frame buildings between Broad and Division Streets on Ryan by erecting a brick building. (388)
Some idea of the property values may be gained from the fact that S.W. Gordon purchased the site of his home on Hodges Street for $900. (389)
The year was not without a serious fire in the lumber industry. The J.B. Powell Lumber Company suffered a fire loss of $50,000. (390)
The most important business transactions were the purchase of the Watkins Railroad by the Iron Mountain for $1,500,000 (391) and the organization of a new real estate company, the Realty Company, with a capitalization of $50,000. (392)
Had not the yellow fever epidemic taken place in 1905, this might have been the greatest year of the new decade. Everything seemed to point to that conclusion and that is why the year seems depressing more than any other in the history of the city.
The population had increased since 1900 over eight thousand people. The population was now about eleven thousand, whereas in 1900, it was about three thousand.
The depression of the previous year was soon dispelled with the opening of the new two year period; one of the most brilliant in all respects in the history of the city. That year, 1906, was the greatest year financially that the city had enjoyed up to this time. Every field experienced increasing activity, and the short period was one of development to a remarkable degree. A contrast of the past period with the present one cannot be studied except with a feeling of enthusiasm for the people who advanced their interests of the city to such a remarkable degree after the depression of the previous year.
Deposits in the banks increased almost $600,000 in l906 and almost a million dollars in l907. The First National Bank increased its capitalization to $100,000 on the first of July 1906, and the next year another increase was made of fifty thousand dollars in the total capitalization of the banks. Loans increased over $300,000 in 1906 and over $400,000 in 1907. During the period, the per capita, circulation of money, in Lake Charles was $243.39 while the average of the United States as a whole was only $31. (393) The Louisiana State Banker’s Association met in Lake Charles in 1906 and elected H. C. Drew as president of the association which Lake Charles felt was very complimentary. (394)
The steady growth and development of Lake Charles may be seen by the increase of deposits in the First National Bank. On July 1, 1890, the deposits were $94, 404, 90; July 1, 1895, $141, 240.33; July 1, 1900, $463,296.60; July 1, 1905, $508,205.41; and July 1, 1906, $730,007.61. (395)
The period opened with school trouble occasioned by the resignation of the superintendent, Mr. Squires. Considerable trouble was had in selecting the successor, for family relationships were even now beginning to cause discord among the board members. The deadlock was finally broken by the selection of Mr. Dudley. (396) The salaries paid to the teachers in the system at that time are somewhat interesting. The principal of the high school teachers were as follows: $95, $85, $75, and $65 a month. The principal of Central School, Ward Anderson, received $125 with the salaries of the other teachers ranging as follows: $75, $60, $55, and five teachers at $50 a month. There were five colored teachers in the system whose salaries were not given. (397) The appointment of B. F. Dudley as superintendent of schools was confirmed with a salary of $1500 for the year. (398) It was provided that the school board would be elective instead of appointive after the recent trouble over the election of the superintendent. (399) On November 6th, 1906, the first school board election took place, and the following members were selected: J. J. Nelson, F. H. Haskell, H. W. Rock, Leon Locke, and J. A. Williams. (400) During the winter, this school board elected E. S. Jenkins (as) superintendent in place of Dudley. (401) A few additional teachers were employed, making a total of forty-one in the system with seven in the high school. (402)
When the schools opened in September, 1906, fourteen hundred students enrolled. By February l907, the enrollment had increased to two thousand, one hundred and eight, and the total was increased slightly in the September figures. The enrollment was stated at that time to be greater than that of any other city in Louisiana with the exception of New Orleans, being twice as large as that in Alexandria, and two hundred more than twice as many as Baton Rouge, and very much more than Shreveport. (403) The high school enrollment had increased to about one hundred and fifty.(404) That the teachers were overloaded was mentioned by the American which stated that the Lake Charles teachers taught more hours than any other teachers in the state. (405) The enrollment had increased so greatly that extra classes were given to almost all the teachers; the financial conditions preventing the employment of additional instructors. The increase of students brought a serious problem, which could be met only by increasing the appropriation given by the City Council. They are still receiving $10,000 at this time. $2,500 more was given by the Council the following year. (406)
At this time, the plays given by the high school graduating classes were very popular with the people. In 1908, the class gave "A Scrap of Paper" (407) That fall another play was presented, "She Stoops to Conquer." (408) "The Elopement of Ellen" was given the following spring. (409) All the plays drew large audiences.
Athletics in the high school began to develop very much at this time, and the football team of 1906 was said to be the best in the history of the school up to that time. They played a number of games with Orange, Lafayette, Beaumont, and others without suffering a single defeat. (410) At the end of the season, Miss D. Zena Thompson entertained the team with a party. A very good time was had by all in playing "Skip to My Lou" and Jam Along Joe." (411) The next year the football team was again coached by Will Gorham, who spent the first part of the season at Vanderbilt. He came back with a number of new plays he hoped would win over all the other schools. (412) The plays must have been successful, for after having been defeated in the early part of the season by Jennings and Beaumont, the team revived and defeated not only these teams, but several others as well. Another reason, which was given a great deal of credit for the success of the season, was the fact that the football team did not smoke cigarettes. "Not one men ever delayed the game to get a breath," in the words of the American. (413) The stars on the team were Scott, Reid, and F. Gayle. Three men had coached the team during the year: Captain Scott, Dr. Carlysle Hamilton, and W. Gorham, (414) Jennings, although refusing to play Lake Charles in a post-season game, was awarded the state championship. The Jennings refusal to play was based on their contention that the last game played at Lake Charles was only thirty-five minutes in length instead of the legal hour, and they were unwilling to take a chance in playing. Lake Charles offered them expenses for fourteen men and agreed to admit visitors free of charge. Jennings forfeited a hundred dollars rather than play the game. (415) The Lake Charles team was unquestionably very good, for they defeated the Industrial Institute of Lafayette by a score of 4 to0, although outweighed eighteen pounds to a man. That game was featured by a forty-four yard drop kick. (416) A few days later, the Sophomore team of Tulane University came down and played a game with the young businessmen. The game ended in a scoreless tie after forty-five minutes of play. The players for the young men’s team were Gorham, Barbe, Hamilton, Blanchfield, E. Scott, S. Scott, Lake, Collette, McGowan, Moss, and Winston. (417) Football had now become one of the most important diversions for the city. There is, at present, probably no city in Louisiana, which takes more interest in this sport or supports its team better than does Lake Charles. Football is an important institution in the community.
The private schools, which attracted some attention, were St. Charles Academy and the Walden Business College. (418)
The City Council as usual had a hectic two years. Being urged constantly to provide means for obtaining sewerage and paving, they voted the establishment of a sewerage district and gave contracts for the construction of concrete crossings of the streets. (419) The dark streets next received the benefit of their generosity, and seventy-five of the eight-hundred candle-power lights were changed to sixteen-hundred candle-power lights. They also voted to contribute $1500 for the improvement of a lakeshore drive. (420) Evidence of new courage was seen in their condemnation of the Opera House which had been unfit for public use for a long time.(421) After considerable deliberation, the Council gave its permission to a pipe line company to run its line through the city. (422)
Although the sewerage and paving programs had been passed, no attention was given to their accomplishment by the Council until the complaints of the citizens forced them to the work. The American stated that talk of paving had started before the opening of the century, but that the bricks were very slow in going down. (423) It also stated that the mud on Ryan Street was so deep that a temporary crossing, which had been laid down, sank out of sight within a very short time. (424) The work was referred to by the citizens as being like a glacier in its rapidity of accomplishment. (425) The street crossing work was finished early in 1907,(426) and the street paving from Piton Coulee to the south line of Division Street was finished shortly afterward. (427) At this time, three streets in the city were paved; Ryan, Pujo, and Broad Streets. (428) In the latter part of the year, sidewalks were given a great improvement when contracts were let for the construction of sixteen miles. (429)
The sewerage and drainage problem was not so readily settled. A six-inch rain in the latter part of 1906 caused the Council added trouble, for the city was under water from Kirby Street eastward and from Common Street northward so deep that the streetcars could not run. (430) Charles Prater offered to contribute $50 toward the betterment of drainage. (431) J. A. Landry then proposed to give a drainage system to the city, but his offer was rejected because of the bitterness of feeling which had arisen between the Board of Trade and the Council. (432) The next year the problem was again intensified by a flood, the worst since 1886, which swept over the city. The water lapped the stringers of the Southern Pacific bridge, caused the sawmills to shut down, and cut off all street car service. The water was a foot above the tracks for a block each way from Watkins Railroad crossing, and practically the entire south part of town was under water. (433) A private drainage problem was settled when Hodges Street was graded. Mr. Kaufman had stated that he could no longer stand for the drainage of the street through his lot, and that the street must be graded. It was done above the protest of the property owners on Hodges. (434) That, however, was the only real accomplishment of the sewerage and drainage plan during the two years.
The difficulties in the attaining of the above project may have been responsible for the Council giving up its attempt to establish a city hospital. The Sisters of the Incarnate Word then took up the project. (435)
The budget for the 1906 was as follows: Salaries $10,000; Public Schools, $10,000; and Fire Department $7,000. (436) The next year saw a much-increased budget as follows: $12,500; Public Schools $10,000; Fire Department $7,500; Street Improvement $ 7,000; and Contingent Fund $10,000. (437) The salary of the City Attorney to $600. (438) A building Inspector had been hired the preceding year to watch carefully that there was no crowding in the erection of buildings. (439) The liquor license was raised to $1,250 the same year. (440)
The Council had a disagreement with the Board of Trade on 1906, and the relations from that time onward were very strained between the two organizations. In spite, the Council refused to vote money to entertain the consuls from France, and the Vice-consuls from Italy, Demark, and Spain who intended to make the city a visit. They also refused to remit the carnival licenses which the Board of Trade wished done. (441)
To avoid further trouble, the Council avoided the Anti-Gambling Ordinance, which was not being enforced, although a number of people demanding that it be. (442) Considerable complaint had been made to the Council that dogs, cows, and horses wandered over the entire town. The Press stated that there was no place in the world where they would be allowed to wander in such a manner except Lake Charles. (443) The Council then passed an ordinance preventing cows from running loose about town and stood firm in its refusal to repeal the ordinance when protests were made by the owners of the stock. (444) Another ordinance was passed making it unlawful to ride to ride a bicycle on any street in the city faster than ten miles an hour. (445) The bicycle had become a menace in the opinion of the City Council. Fire horses were purchased for the fire department in 1907, (446) but a new appeal for street grading and drainage was turned down at the same time. The street grading in progress was stopped for a time in order that the Council might see what success was had with the grading of Hodges and Common Streets. This caused a great deal of protest from the property owners. (447) A petition to abolish the saloons was next presented, but the Council paid no attention to it. (448)
The temper of the Council was quite changeable, and the citizens were learning to humor it. Such an action resulted in the Council giving way to a demand, which had been made for some time: namely, granting manufacturing concerns freedom from taxation for a number of years. The Council agreed not to tax new concerns until 1910. (449) Then, some one angered the Council, and they became more obstinate than before. As the editor of the Press remarked, the obstinacy become more acute when it concerned the best interests of Lake Charles. The editor appealed to them publicly, "Not to allow small personal grievances and peanut politics to stand in the way of development of the city." The editor cited the example of the Gaar Scott Company who had located in Crowley seven years before after having first considered Lake Charles. He said the reason for their not coming to Lake Charles was because of the way city affairs were run, making future prosperity seem to be far distant. (450) More pettiness on the part of the Council was seen in the Watkins Railroad controversy, The railroad had criticized them, and they tried to avenge the criticism by ordering the road to remove its tracks from Front Street which proceeding was, of course, unnecessary and detrimental to the business interests of the city. (451)
City elections had become important in the eyes of the citizens, and when Mayor Winterhaler again announced his candidacy for the office, he had been chosen in 1903 and again in 1905, the storm broke. An open charge was made that the Democratic Nominating Committee was under the power of J. A. Landry and his corporation. (452) This was followed by an attack upon Mayor Winterhaler who was criticized as being a weak Mayor and partial to the ring. It was said that he consistently refused to do anything for the best interests of the city. The Daily Press as an extreme measure urged that Mr. Clement, who had placed his name as a candidate, withdraw in order that a man might be run who would have a chance of defeating Winterhaler. (453) The suggestion was acted upon, and W. E. Patterson was entered in the race. However, he was thrown out shortly on some technicality, leaving only two candidates: Winterhaler and S.H. Clement. (454) As a protest to throwing Patterson out of the race, the citizens held a mass meeting. Under the leadership of J.E. Cline and A. R. Mitchell, the citizens declared themselves as in favor of an independent ticket. They based their platform mainly upon the condemnation if the existing city government, charging that no improvements were being made and that the government was very corrupt and under the guidance of the ring. A great deal of excitement was stirred up over the charges and the formation of the independent party. (455) Another meeting was held a day or two later in which a full ticket was nominated, headed by C. P. Martin for the mayor ship. Dr. James Ware, who maintained that he had been a Democrat for sixty years, acted as chairman for the revolt meeting. Rev. G. B. Hines was also one of the prominent leaders of the new organization. (456) However, the revolt was not successful, for the full Democratic ticket was nominated with Lem C. Dees leading in the number of votes.
The Board of Trade, the chief opponent of the City Council, enjoyed quite a degree of success during the period. H. B. Milligan was president when the period opened. He was succeeded shortly afterward by N. E. North, who in turn gave way to W. P. Weber. North had much criticism directed toward him, and when he was reelected in 1907, several of the members protested. These protests eventually caused him to resign the office. (458)
The main objectives for the year, 1906, were stated to be the closing of the gap on the Southern Pacific Railroad between Lake Arthur and Gueydan, the construction of the Intercoastal Canal, a railroad from Opelousas, and a sewerage system. (459) The next year, the Board worked to locate a box factory, a shoe factory, a furniture factory, a chemical works, and a fertilizer plant. It stated that they were working to make Lake Charles a city of smokestacks, but that it was most concerned with making Lake Charles what the only ideal city can ever be - a city of homes. (460)
An intensive campaign was started in 1906 to obtain new members. The organization was thrown open to every one who paid the membership fee of $5. Promises were made that the body would be reorganized and revived after its inactivity of the past year. (461) Forty members were present at the meeting held early in the year, and the newspapers criticized the organization by saying that the Board of Trade was like the "Four Hundred" in its exclusiveness. (462) This paved the way for a more intensive campaign, and by March 30, the membership had increased to a hundred members. Evidently a great many more were expected, for the Board stated its disappointment over the small number. (463) Whenever new measures were not supported by the people, the Board maintained that the people were not supporting it by either their attitude or their membership. (464)
The actual accomplishments of the Board were small and few in comparison to its aims and its own sense of importance at this time. It was certainly the most optimistic organization in the city. At a meeting held on January 16, 1906, the Board stated that Lake Charles stood on the threshold of a growth, which would make it a city of thirty thousand within a period of ten years. (465) Much talk was made in Board meetings for the improvement of Calcasieu Pass. Little was accomplished in this direction. A more concrete aim was the encouragement given for the formation of a ball team. (466) One thing, which the Board of Trade did do, was to bring conventions in increasing numbers to the city. In the spring of 1906, six statewide conventions were held in Lake Charles. (467) The next year saw more brought to the city through letters and circulars, which the Board sent out. Among these were: Interstate Islands and Waterways Convention, the Louisiana Banker’s Association, the Travelers’ Protective Association, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, the State Baptist Association, and the Hoo Hoo Convention. (468) Later in the year, the Louisiana Federation of Women’s Clubs, the State Horticultural Society, and the Louisiana Elks Convention were held.
The Board of Trade had many enemies, the chief of which was the City Council. A clash of great interest occurred between the two bodies over the proposal of the Gould System of Railroads to build a main line into Lake Charles. The company erected a $20,000 warehouse and seemed to be getting ready for a great deal of business. As soon as the Board of Trade heard of their activity, they undertook, to secure for them a right of way through the city. The City Council, believing that the Board was intending to reap the reward of an object already accomplished and being very reluctant to see that the Board received any credit for the project, balked when the right of way measure came up and refused to give it to the road. Of course, this was very unnecessary and was detrimental to the future growth of the city. The only possible reason for their action was their enmity toward the Board of Trade. (469) Most of the people of Lake Charles agreed with the Board when they stated to the City Council that "It was now time to put away childish things, for Lake Charles has become a city. It is necessary for her to assume a dignity becoming her stature and years. Proof of this may be seen in the fact that mule cars have given way to electricity on the street railways." (470) When the year closed the Board was still fighting the City Council, and very little was being accomplished.
One idea which the Board of Trade attempted constantly to show the people of Lake Charles was the futility of depending upon one industry, such as they had been doing in the past with the sawmills. In order to help that work along, the Board tried to sell stock for the new turpentine company, which was being organized with a capitalization of $15,000. (471) The Board than undertook to guarantee $7,500 for the first two performances if a new theatre would be built. (472) However, these ambitions were short-lived for the Board ran out of funds and were forced to decrease its activities for a time.(473) The cash receipts of the Board for the past year had been $2,024.04.(474)
Then the Board surprised the people with the announcement that there was a probability of obtaining three new railroads in the near future: the Louisiana and Pacific, the Santa Fe, and the Rock Island. (475) A victory was announced by the Board when the southern railroads agreed to reestablish rates of thirty-three cents per hundred pounds on canned goods from Baltimore. (476)
The Board made their greatest mistake in the latter part of 1907 when they declared themselves against the coming in of foreigners. (477)
Industry and building made a great deal of progress during the two-year period. The taxes in the parish almost doubled during the year, and the parish was reported to be out of debt in January. (478) The American stated that the city of Lake Charles looked much larger than it really was. (479) Three rice mills were now running in addition to the nine sawmills which turned out 800,000 feet of lumber daily. (480) The railroads now had a payroll in Lake Charles, which exceeded $15,000 a month. (481) Business was helped by the fact that the rice crop was good and a price of $3.50 to $4 was obtained per sack. This encouraged more people to come in from the North to take up rice lands. (482) Business became so good that there was a shortage of railroad cars. (483) This was the greatest year industrially in the history of Lake Charles up to this time. Even the post office receipts were much greater; a total of $25,000 was made for the year. (484) It was stated in July 1907, that more lumber was being shipped from Lake Charles than any city in the South. (485) Business had increased so rapidly that the city was in need of many improvements, the most important of which, according to the Press, were a theatre, office room, store buildings, and halls for the meeting places of many secret orders who were unable to find a place to hold their meetings. (486) The business at Lake Charles became so heavy that the Southern Pacific was forced to put in a Terminal Train Master. (487) Business conditions received a set back in the fall when the price of lumber dropped. The mills were curtailed to an eight-hour day, and one mill closed for a period of three months, causing a needed reduction of 11,000,000 feet of lumber. (488)
A much-needed new hotel, the Majestic, was opened to the public on the first of February 1906. The American stated that the amount of interest exhibited on the part of the citizens in the work on the front of the new hotel was much greater than that of a circus crowd. (489) The cost of the hotel was $147,000 and the rates of $2.50 a day and up were established. A list of the Board of Directors shows that practically all of them were from the city: G. Locke, J. A. Bel, Frank Roberts, L. Kaufman, W. E. Ramsey, H. C. Drew, J. G. Powell, D. R. Swift, and H. B. Milligan. (490)
Much more trouble was encountered in building amusement centers. The Pleasure Pier was built by Sid Musey. It extended two hundred feet out into the lake. (491) A small theatre was added to the buildings at Pleasure Pier. (492) However, these did not care for the demands of the citizens that a new theatre worthy of the city be built. Cagney and Christman, saloon keepers, agreed to construct the theatre if the people would donate $10, 000. (4923) Another proposition was offered by Major Bernstein who offered to erect a $40,000 theatre if the city would donate the site. (494) The proposition of Cagney and Christman was accepted. They promised the construction of a building to cost no less than $35,000 if the Board of Trade would guarantee a sale of $7,500worth of tickets for the first two performances. (495) However, the added proviso caused the city to turn down the offer. (496) A new theatre, the Casino, was opened, but it was not large enough to satisfy the needs of Lake Chares. (497) Next, two of the smaller theatres were consolidated, the Lyric with the Nickelodeon. (498) But the period ended with no theatre worthy of the amusement interests of the city.
A few public improvements were made. The Shell Beach Road was improved by means of private subscriptions. (499) Interchangeable tracks were installed between the Kansas City Southern and the Southern Pacific Tracks. (500) Eight miles of electric street railway were laid, and a street paving program was started which cost $100,000.(501) The Young Men’s Christian Association put in a gymnasium over Rock’s Hardware Store which soon became very popular. (502) The Enterprise Club found itself in financial difficulties in July 1906, because of their purchase of drinking fountains, and there was some talk of discontinuing the organization that fall. (503) New terminals were built for the railroads at the intersection of Ryan and Clarence Streets.(504) Previous to this, the station for the Watkins Railroad had been out in the east part of town on Broad Street. A new hospital was begun. (505)
Many private improvements were made. The Longbell Lumber Company did a great deal of work in making their mills more complete during the period. (506) The Louisiana Baptist Orphanage spent $18,000 in improving their property. (507) The rice mill, the largest in the world, made new improvements. It now had a capital stock of $200,000 with a surplus of $75,000 in the treasury to meet unforeseen expenses. (508) Twelve brick buildings were constructed on Ryan Street in 1906. (509) The next year the Viterbo Brothers erected a fine building at the corner of Ryan and Division Streets. (510) A fire in the car barn of the Lake Charles Street Railway Company destroyed property belonging to the Lake Charles Ice, Light, and Waterworks Company with a loss of $20,000, and necessitated new buildings and improvements. (512)
Residential property was very scarce. Houses for winter visitors were at a premium. (513) This caused the sale of much property in the residential districts. Some idea of the prices paid may be gained from the prices paid for fourteen lots adjoining the Southern Pacific Depot, which sold for $650 a lot, and four lots on Division Street near Kirkman, which sold for $1,000 apiece. (514) A price of $15,500 was paid for a lot thirty-three by one hundred and fifty feet between Pujo and Broad Streets on the east side of Ryan.(515) This was the high water mark for property values in Lake Charles up to this time.
The literary interests of the people were being satisfied by the increase so rapidly in the number of books in the library. On March 8th 1906, there were thirteen hundred and fifteen books in the library.(516)
That business conditions were good may be seen in the fact that the attendance at the Walden Business College increased so rapidly that Professor Walden was forced to purchase Woodford Hotel to accommodate new students. (517) Another indication was seen in the putting on of a new train, "The Oriole", by the Southern Pacific Lines. (518) Prosperity was indicated in the fact that the citizens of the city responded to the appeal to raise funds for the victims of the San Francisco earthquake by contributing over a thousand dollars. (519) Another contribution for public benefit was the putting on of a play. "The Little Princess" for the improvement of Drew Park, which netted $121.15 (520)
Every period has events of special interest to the people of that time - things which loomed as milestones in their every-day life. In the belief that these events will lend some character to the period, they will be cited with no comment. The Elks gave a minstrel, which was the sensation of the town for a few days. (521) A ball club was organized by J. Ad Lyons and was admitted into the South Texas League composed of the following teams: Austin, Beaumont, Houston, Galveston, San Antonio, and Lake Charles. (522) People began spending more of their summers down on the lakes where they said they could obtain more enjoyment in a tent than in the best hotels in Florida. (523) A hockey team was organized in the fall, which the people of Lake Charles claimed to be the fastest hockey team in the country. (524) A great deal of space was given to the arrest of F. D. Haas, miracle healer;(525) the gaining of second place in the Gulf Coast League by the baseball team against the team of Opelousas, Lafayette, Monroe, and Orange; (526) the Chautauqua which was opened by Lieutenant Hobson; (527) the committees which were formed for the gaining of prohibition; (528) the growth of the Methodist Episcopal Church; (529) the Young Men’s Christian Association Lecture Course; (530) the marriages of Inez Kennedy and S. A. Knapp, and of Inez Meyer and Rufus Green; (532) the new Baptist Church;(533) Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show; (534) the publication of the "Searchlight" against the liquor traffic by D. H. McLeod; (535) the organization of the Italian Band under the leadership of F. Assunto; (536) the gaining strength of the organization of the society of Victor Immanuel III; (537) the return to town of J. B. Watkins; (538) and the performance of the Carver House. (539)
One of the most serious setbacks of the period occurred on the first of September 1906, when eight hundred men employed in the sawmills walked out on strike. The main objection of the strikers seemed to be that the mills were employing nonunion men, and, in fact, declared that the mills had stated that they would hire no more union men. (540) The mills, on the other hand declared that the men did not wish to work and that the wages paid were the highest in any sawmills in the United States. The mills offered the men a ten-hour day, a weekly paycheck, but stated that the men would have to sign the nonunion card. (541) Finally, the president of the Lake Charles Labor Union gave the men permission to sign the nonunion card, and the strike ended on October 27th.(542)
The entire parish was thrown into a turmoil when the people, switching their criticisms from the City Council to the sheriff, claimed that he exercised too much power, that the sheriff controlled every legislative assembly in the state, and that their emoluments, based on the rate of assessment and tax collection were excessive. The sheriff of Calcasieu Parish was said to have received between $40,000 and $50,000 a year for his services, which was probably true. (543)
The period of wild corporation had closed with the preceding year, and few new firms were started. A new lumber company was organized by W. Scott Matthews with a capitalization of $200,000. (544) The Williamson sporting Goods House was organized with a capitalization of $15, 000. (545)
Corporations were being attacked by the people now, and that is most likely the reason why no more were started. The Union Sulphur Company made its first protest against the assessment of its property during 1907 when the assessment valuation was raised form $500,000. (546)
As the period closed, agitation which had been slumbering for some time regarding the division of the parish, flamed up again. Throughout the parish, people thought that D. J. Reid, the sheriff, was controlling not only the affairs of the parish, but of the newspapers as well. The most criticism was directed against the Press. (547) Reid gave cigars to a jury, which was trying him on the charge of illegal manipulation of the funds of the parish. (548) This, and other talk, resulted in a desire on the part of the people outside of Lake Charles for a division of the parish, based on the fact that all of the officers of the parish were controlled by Lake Charles. (549)
Lake Charles now lost the services of the man who had done more for the city than any other man, J. B. Watkins, because of mental derangement. (550) However, his good work was continued by the publication of a new magazine in the city, called "Louisiana’s Monthly Magazine." (551)
And, the example set by Watkins in advertising the city was followed by the newspapers. Some extracts taken from them are interesting. "Would that J. B. Watkins could recover his health and return to resume the best interests of Lake Charles." (552) "There is no more progressive young city in America than Lake Charles." (553) "Lake Charles is beginning to resemble a sure-enough city. She has brick streets by a mile and activity to spare." (554) "No city in the South is considerably in excess of fifteen thousand, and at the present rate of growth, the city will have a population of twenty thousand within a period of five years. The development of Lake Charles has not been on paper, but is a hard, substantial fact. It is conceded that Lake Charles is growing more rapidly now than ever before." (556) "In seven years, the lots of Tom Clooney have increased in value form $59 to $900. (557) "Lake Charles has eighteen thousand people and no opera house. Yet, it is generally conceded that this city turns out better and will pay more for a first class performance than any other city in the South." (558) A statement was quoted from Albert Baldwin, Jr., capitalist from New Orleans, and John H. Gannon, President of the Hibernia Bank and Trust Company, which they stated that Lake Charles would have a population of twenty-five thousand within a period of five years. (559) President Murphy of the New Orleans Sugar Exchange stated that Lake Charles was destined to become a great city. (560) The census figures showed that there had been some exaggeration in regard to population, for there were only 14,741 people including West Lake, Lockport, and other localities outside the corporate limits. The city proper had a population of 12,741. (561) However, this made Lake Charles the third largest city in the state. Port Arthur then had a population of only seven thousand. Had Lake Charles developed as Port Arthur has, it would have retained its place as the third largest city in Louisiana.
The famous John W. Gates began in this period to take an interest in the development of Lake Charles, and had he received the proper amount of encouragement, he would have made Lake Charles the center of his speculations instead of Port Arthur. The failure on the part of the city to encourage his interest was one of the most serious mistakes made. He urged Lake Charles to build a canal from Calcasieu Lake to the Sabine River, but nothing except talk resulted from his advice. (562)
Lake Charles now had a city assessment of $3,532,000. There were eight miles of street railways; bayou and river navigation of five hundred miles connecting with the lake; five railroads; the Kansas City Southern, the Watkins, Iron Mountain, and the Southern Pacific, the Lacassine branch to Port Arthur, and the Lake Charles and Leesville; nine sawmills with a capacity of one million feet daily and employing fifteen hundred men; three rice mills; three machine shops; three banks with a capital and surplus of $500, 000 and deposits of $3,500,000; and a monthly payroll of $110,00. The rice mills handled one-twentieth of the rice crop of Louisiana and Texas. The sawmills still had over a million acres of timberland to draw from. The railroads expended $500,000 for wages in Lake Charles per year at this time. (563)
The editor of the American summed up the beauty and the needs of Lake Charles. He described the city in glowing terms, calling it "an amethyst among emeralds" and the Calcasieu River "dreamy, sensuous, deep, and alluring." (564) The most dominant needs of the city, he stated a short time later, were a yearbook, sewerages, street paving, a new theatre, and several blocks of brick buildings. (565)
THE PANIC OF 1907 REACHES LAKE CHARLES
The next two years of l908 and 1909 on the whole showed a slump over the preceding two years. Many reasons were given for this condition. Among them were the partial failure of crops, the exorbitant Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act, the drop in the licenses formerly received from the liquor interests, and the Panic of 1907. (566) The most radical believed that prohibition in Lake Charles was responsible. (567) However, the lag effect of the panic was undoubtedly the greatest reason.
The depression at its greatest ebb in the latter part of l909 was serious. There were a large number of vacant houses, which was an unusual condition for Lake Charles, and many houses were put up for sale. Many inhabitants moved away in this period. (568) The American stated that the transient traveler avoids Lake Charles, and our hotels and boarding houses were empty. Many were said to be out of employment. The streets were in bad condition; the bridges and culverts were full of dangerous holes or were stopped up with debris, dirt, or offal. Work on the concrete sidewalks was arrested. The schools needed improvement, and there was scarcely enough money to pay the teachers. (569) The picture painted was very depressing. Yet, much of the picture was painted in the hope that people would realize as the paper did that prohibition had caused the condition according to the editor.
The solution was suggested in the American. The public improvements, the street railroads, the banks with their vaults bursting with cash, the numerous and well-filled and appointed retail and wholesale stores and business houses, the mills and factories were still extant and without equal among towns of equal size and population. (570) Such a condition and such a lack of progress rested squarely upon the heads of those who drove the saloons out. The saloons had its ardent supporters at that time. That the liquor interests in moving out had caused a breach in the community was the general opinion expressed by the people, according to the American. (571)
The year, 1908, was even not so prosperous as the previous one had been. There was a decrease of over $150,000 in deposits and an increase of almost $200,000 in loans. No additions were made to capital stock. The next year saw a slight increase in deposits, but a decrease in loans. An important consolidation in banks occurred in l909 when the First National Bank of Jennings, the First National Bank of Welsh, the First National Bank of Lake Arthur, and the Calcasieu Trust and Savings Bank of Lake Charles combined their resources. The resources of the banks were above three million dollars. (562) The capitalization now of the Calcasieu National Bank was $300,000. (573) S. A. Knapp arrived on November 1st to take the cashier’s position. (574) The First National Bank of Lake Charles now employed nine men instead of three at the beginning of the bank’s existence in 1893. (575) The Calcasieu Building and Loan Association now did quite a bit of the loan business which had been done solely by the banks before. During the year, requests were made of them for $42,300 in loans. (576) The company had just been organized since June 25, 1909. (577) W. E. Patterson had been made temporary chairman of the organization. The banking interests of Lake Charles were even at this time dominated by the Calcasieu National Bank, for the Calcasieu Trust and Savings Bank was very closely affiliated with it. The Calcasieu Trust and Savings Bank had just been organized in May 1909, with a duplication of officers in the Calcasieu National Bank. (578)
For the public schools of Lake Charles, the year, 1908, was a crisis. The enrollment in the schools of two thousand and three hundred pupils taught by a faculty of forty-five teachers. (579) Although the enrollment did not increase much during the year, the faculty was increased to fifty-four before the end of the year. (580) There were seven school buildings: five for the whites and two for the Negroes. These buildings were very poor, and the American stated that Lake Charles was the only city in the United States with a population over ten thousand, which had nothing but wooden school buildings, and very poor ones at that. (581) It is needless to say that the buildings were very overcrowded. (582)
E. S. Jenkins had been reelected superintendent, and he did his best to secure good teachers, but he was unable to hold them on account of the poor salaries paid. The average salary for the white male teachers was $105 a month, and that of the female white teachers, $59.90. (583) The American stated that the teachers were so poorly paid that they were going on to better positions. Among the teachers who left the system because of the poor pay were Aswell, who later became a congressman; Harris, who left the city system because he was paid only $60 a month; Shaeffer, who became City Superintendent of Schools of Newark, N. J.; Keeney, who became Assistant State Superintendent and President of the Louisiana State Teacher’s Association, and many others. (584)
When the schools opened in the fall, it was thought to be impossible to run them for the full term. The schools for the year before had a deficit of $5,000 and $15,000 more was needed. Yet, in the face of this, the City Council in an attempt to reduce expenses out the school appropriation to $5,250 from its previous figure of $7,500. (585) The total receipts for the year were $36,579.04. (586) Most of this went for salaries. The superintendent received $2,000 and the teachers $26,551.85. (587) A ray of hope appeared in July when a bill passed the legislature providing for a three mill tax for the support of the public schools of the state. (588) However, there seemed to be no way clear for their continued operation. In August, the school board found debts, which they could not pay owing to the refusal of the banks to loan money to them. (589) Finally, the Calcasieu National Bank agreed to cash warrants for the board. (590) Then, the superintendent made an effort to obtain private subscriptions to keep the schools running. He asked for $2 a month for each child in school. He obtained the help of D. W. Thomas, who had formerly been in the school system and who was now at Louisiana State University to help obtain the money. A mass meeting was called by the citizens in which $2,150 was raised. By the next meeting, the fund had been increased to $2,240, but $4,000 was needed to guarantee the schools for an eight months term. (591) The raising of the fund was completed on the sixteenth of September. (592)
The City Council brought the school question up for consideration in its meeting in September. The Alderman-at-large proposed that the schools be discounted for a year. Mayor Winterhaler opposed this. Then, Alderman Jones proposed that the teachers’ salaries be cut, but Alderman J. A. Williams said that would be impossible, for Lake Charles was already paying her teachers less than Sulphur, Jennings, or Deridder. He also stated that he had learned of twenty-five applications for release from the teachers because of the low salaries paid. (593)
Another meeting of the Council was held a few days later in which a decision was made to support a ten-mill tax; the Council stating that they could not appropriate any money to the schools. (594) The Enterprise Club declared themselves strongly for the tax and helped to complete the subscriptions necessary to keep the schools running. (595) The election was called for November 3rd, at which time the tax carried by a large majority after a heated campaign. (596) This was, perhaps, the greatest victory ever gained by the Lake Charles Public Schools, for since that time there has never been serious difficulty in financing the school system.
The enrollment was increased to one hundred and forty-seven in the high school and a total of twenty-five hundred in the system. (597) The latter part of the same year, 1909, found the school board out of debt for the first time since the city took over the schools. (598) Salaries of the teachers were increased slightly, the total appropriation for this purpose mounting to $23,939.56. The superintendent’s salary was $2,000. (599) School affairs seemed to have passed the crisis.
Football was still the big sport in the high school. In 1908, the team did not have its usual strength, for they were defeated by Lafayette, but the material which Coach W. C. Braden had was below average. (600) The next year found Professor J. O. Carson assuming charge of the football squad. While the material was still below par, his enthusiasm and superb coaching brought wonderful results, and the team was champion of South-West Louisiana. (601) Some believed the team to be state champions. The stars on the team were Reid and Bordelon. (602) Track was gaining a feeble start in the high school. That the team was poor, however, may be seen in the fact that Central Grade School was able to defeat the high school in a dual meet. 72-50. (603)
Seven students were graduated from the high school in 1909. (604)
Tendencies which were regarded with apprehension were beginning to creep into the schools according to a discussion in the Teachers’ Institute held in Lake Charles early in the year. An extract from the findings of the Institute follows: "Parodies of famous poems, low rag-time music, the lack of education in the higher things of life were deplored by the members of the Institute. Tests have been put to the children, and it is found that they regard the cheap show as a great institution; songs were liked because they were funny or cunning." (605)
The City Council was a little more efficient than usual during this period. In January, 1908, they passed an ordinance for the removal of brick sidewalks as dangerous to life and limb. (606) The state inspector gave them uneasy moments when he scored the city heavily on account of the sanitary conditions within the city. (607) The religious interests again got behind Mayor Winterhaler and forced him to take a strong stand against gambling. He stated in an open letter that "Gambling must suppressed." "Monroe, Shreveport, Alexandria, Baton Rouge, and New Iberia," the American stated, "have successfully driven out all tin horn gamblers and cheap sports. The bulk of these outcasts are now sweetly and peacefully lounging and rusticating in Lake Charles. How long, oh Lord, how long?" (608) It seemed as though some action was necessary at this time, for crimes were very numerous. (609)
The period was unusual because of the appearance of an entirely new and somewhat defiant attitude on the part of the Council. Its disregard of the businessmen and their appeals was seen when it stopped work on the new Bartley Building on account of the fire ordinance. (610) This was soon followed by a proclamation issued by the mayor, calling for a general clean-up of the city. (611) The Council next decided that the curfew ordinance must be enforced, and the Chief-of-Police announced that he would carry their instructions. (612) As the people became more active in their demands, the Council announced that they were always kicking about something. (613)
However, the defiant attitude on the part of the Council seemed to bring only more trouble upon them. Mrs. May Reid first enjoined the city from excavating Ford Street in front of her property. (614) She later received damages for $214. (615) This was followed by an injunction against the city by A. R. Mitchell for sidewalks on Moss Street. (616) The next day the Council met and decided that it would put sidewalks only where grading was unnecessary, for it was weary of damage suits brought by property owners against the city. The Council stated that they had been forced to pay $500 damages for the construction of sidewalks in front of property, which was only worth $350. (617) The Council went even further a few days later in deciding to stop all sidewalk work. (618) The Council had ordered new uniforms for the policemen, but they were not well received by the people who seemed to take an especial dislike to the brass buttons. (619)
Then came a lull for the council. At a meeting held on September 3, 1908, the Council announced that it was the first meeting in history in which people had expressed no wishes. (620)
However, this was probably due to the fact that the city was in danger of losing $30,000 yearly income because of the parish going dry, which would mean a total loss of the license fees. (621) At the next meeting of the Council, the appropriations were cut to meet the decreased revenue. The fire department was cut to $5,500; the schools to $5,250; the police department was reduced two patrolmen; the city prison guard was eliminated, and the assistant pound master was discharged; the fire department was reduced one fireman; the street workers were reduced to six men which caused the American to say that Lake Charles streets which had been the best-kept in history would most likely become very dirty; and the Board of Health appropriation was cut. (622) Financial worries had been added to the already harassed Council. However, the sewerage ordinance passed earlier in the year received $2,000 for its operation. (623)
With the coming of a new year, more complaints and troubles worried the Council. Mr. Goos, an alderman, demanded paving damages. The City Council announced publicly that they did not like this action on the part of one of their members. (624) Many other citizens brought suits on account of the new walks, the construction of which caused too great expenses or ruined the value of the property on account of the necessary grading. (625) The citizens began to attend the Council meetings in large in large numbers, and the Council stated that all the town workers were always present. (626) Albert Gunn refused to pay for his sidewalk, and the Supreme Court decided in his favor when the case was brought to it. (627) The railroad was sued for lowering the grade on Front Street for the construction of tracks, and the Supreme Court decided that the city ordinance permitting its construction was illegal, and that the railroad must remove its tracks within six months. (628)
The Lake Charles Fire Company Number One, which had been organized in 1878 passed out of existence in 1909. (629) This, and on account of the decrease in appropriations for the fire department caused the Council more worry.
The Council was next forced to remedy the unsafe buildings in the city. They found upon investigation that only one of the seven theatres even approached a safe condition. (630)
The sewerage problem, which had been a main topic of contention for several years, was brought before the people in a mass meeting. Here, it was decided to spend from $100,000 to $200,000 for sewerage. (631)
Mr. Watkins again came forward to help promote the best interests of the city by giving five acres of land for the beginning of a school in the third ward. (632) A dew days later he agreed to give one of his mills to the town if the Council would allow him the exclusive use of St. Joseph Street. (633)
Mr. C. B. Richard was elected mayor to succeed Mayor Winterhaler. (634) The reform interests were largely responsible for his election. Richard was not a reform mayor, but the people believed that any man would be a reform mayor compared to Winterhaler. Lem Dees was again selected as Chief-of-Police. A reform wave seemed to be sweeping over the town according to the arrests made. In 1908, three hundred arrests were made, and in 1909, there were one hundred and seventy-nine arrests during the first four months, which showed that the police department was doing it part in stamping out the undesirables. (635) A Hoo Doo doctor was arrested at this time.
The Board of Trade began the year, 1908, with the demand that several new improvements be made in Lake Charles. Among these were a theatre, a gas plant, a new railroad, deep water, new schoolhouses, and sidewalks. (636) The Board became very enthusiastic over the probability of connecting Lake Charles with the Sabine River by means of a canal which would also be extended to Port Arthur. J. W. Gates of Port Arthur and Leon Locke of Lake Charles were the leaders in this movement. (637)
In March 1908, the American stated that "The Lake Charles Board of Trade is alive and doing, and there is every indication of Lake Charles reaching the twenty thousand population mark within the next two years."(638)
The Board grew greatly in numbers during the year and had four hundred members in November. (639) In September, W. P. Weber resigned as president and Leon Viterbo was chosen to succeed him. (640) In October, Leon Locke resigned as Secretary of the Board. There was a lack of harmony, but the Board was too wise to reveal the cause to the public at this time.
The newly organized traffic bureau and the traffic manager were doing good work. In November, the American stated that the Lake Charles business interests were already reaping the benefit of having the traffic bureau to look into the freight rates for the city. "The new traffic rates received yesterday gives Lake Charles jobbers on even break with New Orleans in having the same freight rates from the North. I the business men of Lake Charles discard village ways and pull together for results, the city will speedily become what Nature destined it to be - the business center if a great scope of territory. (641)
The next year under the leadership of the Board of Trade a deep-water committee was organized, and every effort was made to give the project its necessary impetus. (642)
Another idea fostered by the Board was the organization of the Lake Charles Trade Extension Body. This comprised forty-seven members, and the procedure of the body was designed to extend the trade limits of the city by refunding the railroad fares of incoming customers. (643)
Other beneficial work was the steps taken to secure an experiment farm.(644) The Board urged the telephone to either institute a new system of lose the support of the body.(645) A victory was won when the Kansas City Southern made an adjustment of their freight rates favoring Lake Charles. (645) Another project which failed was the attempt to pipe gas into the city from the Caddo Oil Fields along the tracks of the Kansas City Southern. (647)
Probably the best work of the year was the publication of a booklet entitled "Lake Charles," for distribution throughout the country as an advertising move. The booklet contained between fifty and sixty pictures. Twenty-five thousand were distributed. (648)
People took a greater interest in providing beauty spots about the city. The "Champs Elysees" of Lake Charles was Shell Beach, which was rapidly becoming the most popular retreat about the city. Lover’s Retreat, a walk along the lakeshore through one of its most beautiful spots, had long been the place for pedestrians to come and enjoy the beauty of the Spanish moss, the live oaks, and the Cyprus trees. Here, but a few steps from main street could be seen Louisiana vegetation in its greatest splendor, however, in this year, the retreat was ruined by the erection of an oil tank, the seepage from which discolored the water and gave the wild beauty of the spot a besotted appearance. (649) In this year, the greatest planting of camphor trees occurred. These may be seen on almost every street in the city at the present time. (650)
The Lyric Theatre, which had been the only theatre safe to attend, was burned at a loss of $20,000. (651) There was new talk of erecting a real theatre.
A striking headline appeared in the American on October 19, 1909, stating that there was a new auto in town, recently purchased by Cashier W. A. Guillemet. (652)
Considerable building took place during the year, 1909, over $250,000 being spent in the erection of new buildings. (653)
Many comments were made regarding the city. An interesting one appeared in the Daily Press which stated that "Baton Rouge is a coming city, but it will have to come at a more rapid rate than it ever has to arrive at the coveted condition of peaceful activity that prevails in Lake Charles and New Orleans, beside which the quiet and silence of Baton Rouge is like unto a Nigger’s graveyard in the dead of night."(654)
The movement to eliminate the gamblers gained strength. In the early part of l909, the organization known as the Good Government League assisted in rounding up the gamblers in the city at that time, seventeen in number. (655) Many thugs were reported on the streets of Lake Charles. (656) In the latter part of the year, the general movement through out the state was said to have moved them out of all towns except Monroe. (657) Law enforcement was gaining strength in the city. The Law and Order League presented H. A. Reid with a medal for his faithfulness in enforcing prohibition. (658) A petition was signed by more than a hundred citizens to put D. J. Reid, the sheriff, out of office for his maltreatment of citizens. It was said also that he permitted a small war to continue at Fields for six months due to his cowardice. (659) These sentiments were the result of the same wave of law enforcement, which was sweeping the community, and not entirely due to omissions of Sheriff Reid. Still, the locality took some pride in their rough and ready ways. The American stated "Perhaps it’s just as well that Honorable James J. Jeffries will probably not visit Lake Charles. An exhibition affair with soft gloves would rather be tame in a community where the bitter differences are settled with bare knuckles or a club." (660)
A drought ruined the crops to quite a great extent in 1909. It is said that there was a twenty per cent loss. (661) However, the talk of much new immigration from the North softened the detrimental effect of this loss. And, then when the hurricane, which swept the southern coast, missed Lake Charles almost entirely, the people were thankful rather than pessimistic.
An event long to be remembered in the vicinity was the visit of Cornelius Vanderbilt who gave an address to the truck farmers. (662) A train load of railroad officials visited the city with intention of drawing plans for wharves. (663)
The year ended with growing prosperity. There was an increase in assessments of $1,759,628 in the parish despite the great loss in assessments on the sulphur and the pine timber lands. (664) An indication of rising prices in city property was seen in the sale of a lot with a hundred and thirty-five foot front and with a hundred and eighty-five foot depth for $9,250. (; 665)
CHANGES IN PARISH AND CITY GOVERNMENTS
The next three years from 1910 to 1913 were marked by an increasing extravagance in city finances, and the end of the period found the city very deeply in debt. Progression was normal and steady in every other line. Many criticisms were directed against Lake Charles because of her shiftless attitude in taking advantage of her opportunities. Mention was made by several cities of her sleepy attitude. However, this was most likely caused more from the fear of another depression than it was from disregard of opportunity. The depression had made the businessmen of Lake Charles very conservative, and they were content to establish their business enterprises upon solid foundations rather than take chances on quick and easy money as they had done just before the depression. The whole period might be termed one of progression without undue enthusiasm.
The American and the Daily Press were combined and run as one newspaper from this time on. The new paper was known as the American-Press. (666)
That the financial condition of the community was good may be seen in the dividend of $6 a share paid by the Lake Charles National Bank at the beginning of the new period. It was the most successful year in the bank’s history. (667) The Calcasieu Building and Loan Association paid an eight per cent dividend. It now had assets of $24,303.98. (668) The Calcasieu Loan and Trust Company increased its capitalization from $50,000 to $100,000. (669) The other banks showed like prosperity for the year 1910.
The City Council, as usual, was between two fires. Many complaints were made that the apparent lack of prosperity was due to prohibition. (670) Others maintained that the city was prospering because of it. "Blue Laws" were passed, or rather had been in existence for some time, and were now for the first time enforced. No tobacco nor candy could be sold on Sunday. (671)
Five miles of new sidewalks were built by the city, extending from Hodges to Clarence and to Eleventh Street. The reason was a complaint from the people that they had, before the walks were built, been compelled to go to Ryan Street in order to cross the Coulee in going to the Post Office. (672) The new sidewalks were said to be the best and the most completely equipped town in this respect in Louisiana. The sidewalks were paid for entirely by the property owners, while the city paid one-third of the paving. There was a great deal of complaint from some sections of Lake Charles, which claimed to have paid taxes for fifteen years and more, and had, as yet, received neither street lights not fire protection. (673) The city replied by revealing the fact that they were 38,277.48 in debt.(674) Another complaint regarding health conditions which were denied by Dr. Dowling was stilled by the appointment of a new Board of Health. (675)
Mayor Riling now for a short time instituted a period if strict economy. He stated that his predecessors had not only spent all of the cash, but they had destroyed the credit of the city as well. He said that $3,500 was spent unnecessarily during the months of December, January, and February. The street fund had been over drawn by $10,878.65, and a subscription was taken among the businessmen to provide for the cleaning of Ryan Street. The newspaper agreed with Mayor Riling that the condition was shameful and unnecessary. (676)
Fire protection for some time had been inadequate due to the decreased expenditures, and the newspaper warned the city of danger in this regard. However, none was provided until a disastrous fire swept through seven city blocks, destroying $750,000 worth of property. The fire started in an outhouse in the rear of the Opera House, spread quickly to the Rock Building and then wiped a pathway two blocks wide and half a mile long to the south-east, being stopped at the Catholic Cemetery. The fire started about three-thirty on Saturday afternoon. Among the buildings destroyed: Gunn’s Book Store, $5,500; Old Opera House, $20,000; Rothman Meat Market, $1,700; Lake House, $7,000; Pete Martin Paint Shop, $1,500; Bryan Building, $4,5000; Court House, $85,000; Bolton Company, $ 50,000. In addition, the City Hall was burned. The Catholics lost their church, rectory, convent, and school building. (677) The City Council received some of the blame by permitting the old firetraps to exist. (678)
The people met the loss bravely, and the work of rebuilding started at once. The richer citizens of the city formed an organization, pooling their money into a temporary relief fund. (679) The Calcasieu Building and Loan Association proved to be very valuable in helping the work of rebuilding.
The Council passed a new fire ordinance, which was over twenty pages in length and established a new fire district, which extended over several more squares. (680)
In July, the citizens voted for a new bond issue of $360,000 to extend over a period of thirty-six years. The issue was to be spent in the following manner: Fire Appliances, $25,000; City Hall, $75,000; Sewerage, $160,000; Paving, $100,000.(681) All of the surrounding towns congratulated Lake Charles on her far-sighted move.
More improvements were voted in October. It was decided to drain Central Place bounded by Division, Common and Boulevard Streets and the southern limits of the city. Pithon Coulee was also to be deepened and widened. (682) Improvement seemed to be the keynote of the Council. Fire Chief Sudduth was suspended from service because of fighting and drunkenness. (683) Dick Gunn was appointed to be the new Fire Chief. The Fire Prevention Bureau Chief states, however, that the department needed six more men, new fireplugs, and a chemical wagon. (684)
The salaries of the various city officers at this time were: Mayor, $75; Marshall, $75; Mounted Police, $75; Policemen, $60. (685)
The Enterprise Club, apparently reviving itself after several years of little activity, accomplished a great deal in 1910 in beautifying the city. Civic Leagues were organized among the children, and a total of nineteen hundred and eighty-three were enrolled. Both Orange Grove and the City Cemetery were taken over by the Club for beautification purposes. Drinking fountains were placed on Ryan by the Sanitation Committee. A Benevolent Club was organized. (686)
Truck gardening received more attention this year then ever before. A great deal of produce was produce was shipped north, and truck growers associations were formed. (687) Regular shipments of at least one car a week were made from this time on.
The Board of Trade demanded more support, and a request was made for one thousand members. (688) When the people failed to support the request, a proposal was made to organize a Chamber of Commerce, for, as one of the newspapers stated, the Board of Trade had died of starvation three years before. (689) The new organization was effected, and the organization purposes were stated as follows: "For some years, Lake Charles had been like a garrison consuming its own resources. Not a new industry had been obtained which would bring in a new source of wealth. The city has depended upon the rapidly diminishing lumber industry. The new needs are: improvement of Shell Beach Drive, acquirement of grounds for parks, advancement of work toward an inter-coastal canal, construction of a bridge across the Calcasieu, and the improvement of the passenger station facilities."(690)
The first work done by the newly organized Chamber of Commerce was the investigation of the new stock offered by the Pineland Naval Stores Company at the request of the citizens. The body found the new stock to be sound. (691) The Chamber now advocated the policy of building up the parish as well as the city, for the success of the city depended to a large extent upon the success of the parish in financial affairs. (692)
The desire of the people for pleasure flamed a new in one of those periodical waves, which had been occurring since the founding of Lake Charles. There were forty-four automobiles listed in Lake Charles - the largest number in proportion to the population in the state of Louisiana. (693) The theatres and the dancing floors were kept busy. The Casino reported record-breaking crowds for both skating and dancing. The Imperial and the Pastime vaudeville halls were crowded. (694)
The people were not entirely unmindful of religious interests, for the Baptists dedicated a new church in 1910. (695)
Reports of mineral deposits of gold, silver, lead, and zinc in the western part of the parish aroused a great deal of enthusiasm, and made the people forget to some extent the drought which threatened to become serious in the spring of 1910. It was broken in the latter part of November with about a twenty per cent damage to the growing crops. (696)
One of the much-dreaded swarms of mosquitoes came in the early part of July, and for eight days, very little work was done. The summer school for teachers was forced to close, and the merchants closed their stores in many cases. (697) The people had just recovered from this scourge when very heavy rain fell on the eleventh day of July. Three and fifty-six inches of water fell, making it impossible to cross Division Street for some time. (698)
School affairs occupied less attention in this year than for some time. In July, the School Board authorized a seven-mill tax for maintenance of schools, and a three-mill tax for new buildings. (699) However, there still seemed to be a scarcity of funds, for the Board was unable to hold Principal Anderson and Coach Carson of the High School; Anderson going to DeRidder and Carson going to New Orleans. (700) Both of these men later returned. As usual, there was not enough room for the increased number of students.
The football team was very successful under the coaching of Scott, winning the state championship from New Orleans. (701) Alf Reid was the star in most of the games.
Business education was becoming very popular, for Walden bought a new house to accommodate the overflow of students from his other establishment. (702)
The dedication of the clubhouse of the Lake Charles Yacht Club brought disaster when one of the motor boats exploded, killing one and seriously injuring seven others. (703) However, the speed boat race held later in the year was very successful from every standpoint. The world’s record was nearly broken in one race. (704) The largest sea-going vessel to yet put in port in the harbor of Lake Charles came in this year. It was a three-masted schooner of one hundred and thirty-nine gross tons and carrying a cargo of two hundred fifty tons. It drew eight feet of water. (705)
A new theatre, which had long been asked for by the people, was erected this year. It was known as the Arcade Theatre, but considerable complaint was made that the building was not heated, as it should be. (706)
The census figures showed that Lake Charles had a population of 11,449, which made it the fourth largest city in Louisiana. It had advanced from fifth place since the last census. The census showed that there had been a gain of seventy-one per cent during the decade. During this time, Baton Rouge made a gin of only twenty-two per cent. However, Monroe and Alexandria made the same relative growth as Lake Charles. (707) In an editorial in the paper the following day, the claim was made by the editor that Lake Charles would have a population of thirty thousand within ten years. (708) The next day, he waxed even more enthusiastic and stated that at the present rate of growth, the city would have a population of a million and a half at the end of the century, and that it would make New Orleans look like Dequincy. (709)
The complaint that the streets were in bad condition again harassed the Council. (710) They stated in defense that the revenue for the city had been reduced from $70,000 in 1909 to $50,000 in 1911. (711) As a move of economy, the Council voted to cut the cost of the new fire station to a sum within $10,000. (712) Considerable protest was made over the fact that the cesspool from St. Patrick’s hospital was being run into the lake, (713) and a new jail was demanded by the Board of Health. (714)
The Council purchased a new steam fire engine. (715) And the contract for the new City Hall was let to Delatte and LaGrange for $39,740. (716) The corner stone for the City Hall was laid by the Masonic Lodge.(717) The dogs next received the attention of the council, and one hundred and ninety were killed within a short time. (718) The city assessment exceeded the estimate, being at this time $3,439,060. (719) So, the Council promptly contracted for forty new blocks of walk. (720) The city government seemed to have gained some in prestige the past year.
A swarm of new settlers began coming into the city. There was talk of enlarging the Majestic Hotel as every room had been occupied almost every night.(721) One man stated that he had seventeen chances to rent his house before the foundation was finished. (722)
Another club was organized known as the Lake Charles Commercial Club. It was organized by Leon Locke, Guy Beatty, and A. G. Wachsen. One dollar was charged for the initiation fee, and the candidate guaranteed a willingness to work for the city. (723)
Muller’s Store, said to be the finest at that time in Louisiana outside of New Orleans, moved to the corner of Ryan and Division Streets. The store was started from a little millinery store operated by Mrs. Muller. (724)
The moral tone of the city was much improved. The editor of the School Arts Book on his visit to Lake Charles said that the civic spirit was unusually strong. (725) A drunken man was stated to be quite an unusual sight in Lake Charles. (726) The needy families of the city were cared for now by the Enterprise Club. (727) The Good Government League was organized and soon had over two hundred members. Mr. A. S. Dudley was elected president. (728) Its main purpose was to retrieve Louisiana from "bossism."(729) A Humane Society was organized. (730)
The physical condition of the people was at a fine healthful state. The death rate for the whites being thirteen and thirty-three hundreds per thousand and that of the negroes being seventeen per thousand. (731) Diphtheria broke out in town in the spring but was stopped before it gained much headway. (732)
The financial condition was even better. The per capita wealth was $298 which was four time that of the average of the United States as a whole. (733)
The people were kept very busy with the numerous state conventions, which were held in Louisiana during the year. (734) Many good shows came to town during the year also. (735)
The schools made satisfactory progress, but were on a program of too strict economy to accomplish the best results. The board even went so far as to eliminate the printing of the proceedings of the school board. They were said to have saved five to six dollars monthly by this. (736) That there was very strict economy may be seen in the fact that it cost just $1.70 monthly for each child, a very low cost. (737) J. H. Funderburg was the new principal of the high school, and W. H. Moore was the new coach. There were now fifty-two teachers employed in the schools. (738) The greatest need of the system was new buildings. A mass meeting was held in which almost every one expressed himself in favor of the new building program as necessary for safety to the pupils. Before school opened in the fall, the board tried to carry things too far in their reduction of salaries, and had one of the finest teachers in the system, Miss Pomeroy, who had been in the schools for nine years for nine years, resigned. (739)
The football team was not as successful as it had been the previous year and lost the state championship to Baton Rouge in their first defeat of the year. (740)
A great deal of building took place during the year. Bids were accepted and work commenced on the new Court House, which was to cost $177,000. (741) The City Hall was being constructed at a cost of 75,000. (742) The new Catholic Church and the Convent was being erected at a cost of $175,000. (743) The sewerage project under construction was costing $200,000. (744) During the past ten years, over $612,000 was spent in the construction of new industrial plants. (745) Permits for building since the fire in 1910 had amounted to $330,092. (746)
There were thirty-three manufacturing establishments in Lake Charles at this time, which produced a total of $2,251,000 worth of manufactured goods. (747) The pay roll of these establishments was $523,000 yearly. (748)
The library, which had been founded through the fostering influence of the North American Land and Timber Company, had grown very rapidly. When it was opened to the public, there were seven hundred and four volumes, and in 1911, these had grown to three thousand seven hundred and eight volumes. (749)
A great rain fell in December, which caused a great deal of inconvenience. Traffic was suspended on the Shell Beach Drive, and many of the walks and streets in the city were closed. The total amount of rain falling in the month was fifteen and seventy-five hundredths inches. (750)
A petition for the paving of South Ryan Street opened another year of worry for the City Council. (751) Finally, after months of deliberation, the Council let the contract for the paving. Eight sections were eliminated on account of the protests of the property owners. (752) Then came the news that the Council had been running on trust funds, $23,000 of which had been taken for current expenses. The Council was urged not to allow the paving to be done on account of the finances and because the winter looked to be an unfavorable one. Some people stated that the sewerage program, which was incomplete, should be finished before the paving was undertaken. (753) The American Press in a cutting article said that during the past year, the city had spent the entire receipts, put the city in debt over $40,000 and had nothing to show for the expenditure of the money.
The first trouble of the school year occurred when Professor Homer Kirkwood was forced to resign his position in the Fourth Ward School because of some corporal punishment, which he administered. (754) The attitude of Lake Charles had always been one of great reluctance to permit corporal punishment of any nature in the public schools.
Contracts were let for new school buildings in the First, Second, and Fourth Wards. A new building to be known as Central School was to be erected. The buildings were contracted for $ll7, 416. (755)
The receipts of the School Board for the year were $42,677.14 and the disbursements were $42,371. The average salary paid to the white male teachers was $103.26, and the average salary for the white female teachers was $60.14. The total enrollment was two thousand two hundred and fifty-eight. The average monthly cost of educating each child in school was $2.32. (756)
A remarkable increase had been shown by the Calcasieu Building and Loan Association. This was probably due to the fire, which made necessary the construction of many new homes and business places. The assets had at this time grown to $86,253.55. (757)
A greater interest in activity on the part of the young men about town was seen in the Calcasieu Club. Its purposes were to sponsor athletics and encourage exercise on the part of its members. (758)
Several improvements were made during the year in the business property on Ryan Street. A new hotel, the Rigmaiden, was opened with forty-five rooms. (759)
The American Mutual Life Insurance League was formed, with a capitalization of $200,000. (760)
The Lake Charles Progressive League was formed. The president was A. J. Perkins and the secretary O. S. Dolby. The dues were one dollar a month. The purpose of the organization was to aid in the development of Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish. (761) At this time, one hundred and twenty-five thousand acres were being reclaimed in Calcasieu Parish by surface draining. (762)
Lake Charles was a mecca apparently for secret organizations; there being twenty in town at this time. (763)
Now came the big event of the period: the division of Calcasieu Parish into four smaller parishes. There was very little opposition to the move. (764)
There were many land companies formed during this year, probably because of the bright prospect ahead for the parish. Among these were the South-West Louisiana Land and Mortgage Company with a capitalization of $500,000; the Intercoastal Land Company with a capitalization of $200,000, and the Swift Land Company with the same capitalization. (765)
The good financial condition was reflected also in the bank statements, which showed combined deposits of $5,337,653.17. There was an average of over $400 for every man, woman, and child in the city. (766)
The merchants offered on Wednesday refunds of all railway fares to customers so long as the fares did not excide five per cent of the purchases. Newspapers telling of the bargains to be gained in Lake Charles on Wednesday were distributed free of charge in a fifty mile radius of the city.
The Hi-Mount Land Company purchased Margaret Place for $33,000. This ground was plotted into one hundred and thirty-two lots. (767)
Then, as the period closed, the reaction from the poor and inefficient city government was shown in a special election, which changed the old form to a new one: the commission type with a mayor and two alderman. The vote for the new plan was overwhelming, the new plan being carried 581 to 57. (768)
CONSOLIDATED BANK STATEMENTS
Year Capitalization Surplus and Undivided Profits Deposits Loans 1899 $150,000 $30,000 $527,000 $400,000 1900 150,000 40,000 785,000 680,000 1901 150,000 70,000 1,115,000 918,000 1902 216,400 190,000 1,485,000 1,355,000 1903 300,000 209,000 1,693,000 1,679,000 1904 300,000 242,000 1,964,000 1,996,000 1905 300,000 242,000 2,056,000 2,009,000 1906 300,000 259,000 2,635,000 2,311,000 1907 350,000 241,000 3,359,000 2,702,000 1908 350,000 242,000 3,207,000 2,892,000 1909 350,000 248,000 3,268,000 2,667,000 1910 500,000 296,000 3,490,000 3,738,000 1911 500,000 314,000 3,976,000 4,311,000 1912 500,000 327,000 4,358,000 4,300,000
A REAL ESTATE BOOM
The next two years were marked by great increases in the value of land in Lake Charles and its vicinity. Little of this was due to speculation entirely. The opening up of new roads and the growing realization of what could be produced in the land in the way of truck and diversified crops were the influences causing the land to soar in value and be sought after. The forces which had been building the boom, were, of course, instituted years ago through the advertising work of J.B. Watkins, and the new settlers who came in were coming as a result of his work.
Progress along most lines was normal during this period. A great deal of business was done, especially in real estate transactions. Quite a large amount of building was done, one hundred and five residences alone being constructed in the year, 1914. Ryan Street new had four blocks of brick establishments. In almost every field, there was gradual progress.
The most important change, which occurred during the year, was the change in the city government. The change took place in May 1913. When the commissioners took charge of the city under the new plan, they should have found $21,000 with which to run the government for the remainder of the year. Instead, they found $41.54 to carry the municipality from May until October. They found in addition $45,000 in bills and warrants which were unpaid. The expense of running the city affairs for the preceding eight months had been $46,000. In spite of the heavy expense resulting from the overflow in late September and October and the interest on the money borrowed to cover the deficit of the preceding administration, the commissioners were able to run the government on about $5,000 a month. Trust funds were neither spent nor juggled. If the commissioners had started with the $21,000, which they should have had on hand, they would have closed the year with of $14,000. From the very start, the commission form of government was a great success. The average yearly expense of the city government was thousands less than the average over the preceding ten years. (769)
Shortly after the commissioners went into office, they asked for a revision and increase of the assessment rolls. Instead of the three and a half million assessment, the commissioners believed that the assessment should be at least five million dollars.(770) The higher assessment in prospect received little criticism when the commissioners showed that the city was about $70,000 in debt, that all the revenues of the current year had been spent, and that there were twenty-five thousand dollars expense to meet in the near future.(771) By gathering a little money here and there, the commission was able to pay the first month’s bills which included a salaries payment of $588.37. (772)
The dilatory policy of the old City Council in regard to gambling and the blind tigers was to be changed, announced the commissioners. These evils would have to be driven from the town. (773)
The budget adopted for the coming year was $60,000. (774) The budget included some more paving, some of which was to be started very soon. Bids were accepted for the paving of Broad Street with wood, North Ryan with brick, Hodges with asphalt and concrete, while the bid on South Ryan was rejected. (775) A short time later brick paving was accepted for South Ryan. (776) At the close of the year, the Somers Assessment System was instituted. This new assessment valued property at five million dollars and was designed to bring in a yearly income at the present rate of taxation of $70,000. (777)
Another policy of reform adopted was the enforcement of the curfew ordinance. (778) The commissioners maintained that this ordinance would be enforced throughout the four hundred and sixty-seven blocks within the city limits.
The bank consolidations occurred during the year. The First National and the Lake Charles Trust and Savings Bank were joined. The Lake Charles Loan and Trust Company merged with the Lake Charles Trust and Savings Bank after paying the stockholders their annual dividend of nine per cent, which had been paid for the past seven years. (779)
The Calcasieu Building and Loan Association continued to develop with great strides. They paid their eighth semi-annual dividend of four per cent in addition to putting $5,500 in the surplus fund. Their assets now amounted to $158,712.80. (780)
The biggest piece of banking business done during the year was he under writing of the good roads bonds of the parish of $900,000 by the Calcasieu Trust and Savings Bank and the Lake Charles Trust and Savings Bank. (781)
The biggest piece of commercial business was the dale of the holdings of the Ludington Wells and the Van Schenck Lumber Company to the Long-Bell Lumber Company for $3,500,000. (782)
Schools made good progress during the year. The Central Building was completed at a cost of $60,000 and was said to be able to accommodate fifteen hundred students. (783) The First, Second, and Fourth Ward Schools were dedicated a short time afterward. (784) On the opening school day in the fall, the past records were broken with the enrollment of two thousand four and ninety-three pupils. Two hundred and ten were enrolled in the high school. On the opening day in the previous year, only two thousand and fifty registered the first day. (785) The football team had a bad year.
The biggest educational news of the year was the resignation of John McNeese as Parish Superintendent of Schools. He will undoubtedly go down in all future history as the greatest schoolman of the parish. He spent thirty-seven years in the Calcasieu Parish Schools, twenty-nine of which were spent as Superintendent. (786)
Industries were having a successful year. The Clooney Construction Company built $100,000 worth of barges during the year. (787) The Calcasieu Development Company was chartered for $1,000,000. (788) Delatte and LaGrange increased the capacity of their plant to forty thousand brick. (789) The Hobo Medicine Company was organized with a capitalization of $100,000. (790) The Calcasieu and Cameron trappers shipped furs worth $3,000.000 during the preceding year.(791) A great deal of building took place during the year, and many improvements were made. The Lake City and the Rigmaiden Hotels were combined. (792) By October, thirty-four concerns had filed charters with a combined capitalization of $2,683,900. (793)
New fast freight service was instituted by the Southern Pacific, which brought Lake Charles within fifteen hours of New Orleans. (794)
The newly organized Chamber of Commerce was said to be responsible for the new train service. Among their accomplishments during the year were the beginning of better service on the Kansas City Southern, helping establish the distillation plant of the Pineland Naval Stores Company, the raising of funds for the construction of a new road along Shell Beach Drive, and aiding in securing rights for the Intercoastal Canal. Their aims were to secure parks and playgrounds, a public wharf, encouraging the Rock Island to bring tracks into Lake Charles, and helping construct good roads. The fields of their activity were commercial canals and waterways, trade extension, public wharfs, beautification of the Lake Shore and the city, bringing in new industries, roads and bridge improvement, and publicity. The organization was made permanent and a charter was adopted. (795) A $6,500 budget was adopted, $1,800 of which went as salary to the secretary. (796)
In the fall of 1913, the bankers paid the expenses of the district agents, furnished cars and drivers for them to go out and urge to the farmers the planting of oats. The banks stated that there must be more corn and oats planted. They also loaned money to the boys in the parish for the information of pig clubs. (797)
However, all of the organizations apparently did not accomplish what was expected of them, for the American Press said that there were too many organizations and not enough men willing to work. All had good ideas but little energy to put them into effect. (798)
The Worley Directory Company who put out a directory for Lake Charles in this year stated that the city had a population of sixteen thousand. (799) The Cumberland Telephone Company attempted to tell the fortune of Lake Charles based on the experience of the past. They stated that Lake Charles would have a population of nineteen thousand by 1917, and a population of twenty-eight thousand by 1927. This estimate was thought to be very conservative by the people. (800)
Another athletic club was organized, the Olympic Athletic Club, with Franklin Miller as president. They turned out a good basketball team. (801) Considerable complaint was expressed because of the lack of a high school gymnasium. (802)
The worst fold in the history of the city occurred in the latter part of September. The heavy fall rains were responsible for it. The Powell Lumber Company had the only mill able to operate along the river. The water stood one foot deep in Central Place. Around Hodges and Common Streets near Pithon Coulee, the water came to the eaves of the houses. One hundred and fifty houses were flooded at a damage of $15,000. The lake shore rose three feet in one night as the flood swept down the Calcasieu River. The worst damage was that done to the rice, fifty percent of which was ruined. Seventy-five thousand acres were damaged. (803)
A report of the Manufacturer’s Appraisal Company in their survey of Lake Charles may give us a clearer picture of the town as it really was. This company showed that the valuation of the city, not including the street railway, merchants stocks, or personal property was $6,703,455. Counting the omitted items, the valuation would exceed $8,000,000. Out of four hundred and seventy-two blocks within the city, one hundred and sixteen were unimproved. The value of the land and of the improvements was about equal, which was somewhat unusual. As a rule, the value of the land is in excess of one and a half times the value of the improvements. Yet, there were few high priced residences; only one being of as high as $15,000 in value. (804)
The commissioners again announced that the law against gambling would be enforced. (805) Their work had been very good for the past year, and as yet little opposition developed from any announcements that they made. Be sides keeping within their budget, they had constructed more than seven miles of brick pavement. The parkways along the sidewalks had been planted palms and other shade trees. (806) The Commissioners were helped by the generosity of George and George T. Locke who constructed concrete paving on Reid Street between Broad and Clement at their own cost. (807) The Assessor, S. P. Wetherhill, completed the assessment according to the Somers Plan. There was $4,940,000 on his books with sixty-five per cent on land and thirty-five on improvements. (808) The parish assessment at this time was $23,107,000 with the Union Sulphur Mines contributing $12,000,000 to the total. (809) A drainage ditch was constructed in the northern part of the city. It drained more than one hundred and fifty acres in a congested residential section. (810) Another donation which was appreciated by the commissioners was that of the Southern Pacific Railroad who gave six car loads of gravel for surfacing Railroad Avenue in front of the passenger station. (811)
A small strike ruined the harmony of the industry at the opening of the year when the members of the building trades struck against the contractors and the dealers. (812) The strikes lasted but a short time.
The year, 1913, had been a very good year for real estate dealers, and the year 1914 was equally as good. The most marked development of the year was the building, which took place in the best suburbs. The construction of highways to the east and south caused a phenomenal rise in land values within a five-mile radius of the city. It is safe to say that the value of the land within this area doubled in value during the year. The suburbs now contained about twenty-five hundred people. (813) Another project which gave a great deal more land was the widening and deepening of Contraband Bayou below the parish poor farm. This work was done by convicts. (814) Shortly after this was done, the McSpadden Realty Company purchased a tract of thirty-three acres for $8,833. This land was to be sub-divided and put on the market. (815) The Long-Bell Lumber Company went into the real estate business at this time. They subdivided their one hundred thousand acres of lend which they held north of Lake Charles and prepared to sell it to northern farmers. (816) The next month the state of Kansas put their official seal of approval upon this land. (817) The Southern Pacific Railway donated Railroad Avenue to the city. It had been used by the city before only by concession on the part of the railroad. (818) In the latter part of the year, more than one thousand lots, comprising one-tenth of the total area within the city limits was placed on the market by the East Lake Townsite Company. The land had been purchased twenty-five years before by J. B. Watkins. (819) The Calcasieu Trust and Savings Bank sold to the North American Land and Timber Company a tract of seven thousand two hundred and forty acres of land south-east of the city for $50,678. This was to be subdivided, developed, and sold to settlers on easy terms. (820) It was said that during the year, real estate in value of over a million dollars changed hands. (821)
The tax rate for the citizens was gradually being increased. The tax rate for Lake Charles citizens was twenty-three and a half mills for city taxes alone. Ten mills was taken by the post special school tax, one half a mill as a city tax, and one and a fourth mills for the city hall tax. Those in the sewerage districts had to pay an extra tax of four and a half mills. The parish levied a tax of three and a half mills, and the state tax was six mills. (822)
E. S. Jenkins resigned as superintendent of schools to take effect in June. (823) J. N. Yeager was chosen superintendent to succeed Jenkins. His office was moved from the Court House to Central School. The teaching force now numbered seventy-five. This high school enrollment had advanced to two hundred and thirty-two. Funderburg was still principal of the high school. There were no track or farther football teams developed at the high school during the year. No reason could be found except finances. (824) Night schools were started. No tuition was charged; the teachers donated their services free of charge. Over fifty were enrolled. The enrollment in the public schools had now reached two thousand six hundred and seventy-six. (825)
That the city was gradually becoming more healthful may be seen in the decreasing death rate. It was now thirteen per thousand with only ten and two-tenths for the whites. (826)
One of the finest things done during the year was the beginning of the brick highway across the parish. Contract was let for thirty miles of this improved highway during the year. (827) An All-Southern Transcontinental Highway Association was formed in the Court House. There were nearly a hundred delegates from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California in addition to many from Louisiana. The purpose of the body was to secure a highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, or from Atlanta, Georgia to San Diego, California by way of New Orleans, Lake Charles, Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso. (828) A short time later as a first step, a hundred businessmen visited the police jury, asking for a bridge across the Calcasieu. The Police Jury practically pledged themselves to have it done. (829) Then the Gulf Coast Auto Club was organized to create sentiment for the further improvement of the highways in South-West Louisiana. (830)
The Agricultural clubs, which had been established by the bankers the preceding year, were a success, and over two hundred and fifty were in operation in 1914. (831) The diversification, which had been long urged, was beginning to be accomplished. Close to ten thousand acres were planted to corn in 1914. The previous year four thousand had been planted, and in 1912, only four hundred had been planted in corn in the parish. (832) The South-West Produce Association under the management of D. M. Foster, Jr. had accomplished a great deal in furthering the interests of the truck growers.(833) At this time, the farm paper editors were giving Lake Charles and its vicinity the highest praise as an agricultural community. Silos were being erected for the first time. Sixty acres of land was planted to cabbage at this time. (834) The acreage of land planted to fall and winter crops was six or seven times larger than it ever had been before. (835) Thirty acres was planted with strawberries. (836)
Another gymnasium club with more than fifty members was launched by the young men of the city. (837)
The Southern Pacific in this year completed the fill in for their tracks across the northern edge of the lake at a cost of $250,000, taking the place of the old wooden trestle, which had been in existence for forty-five years. (836)
The western end of the Calcasieu-Sabine section of the Intercoastal Canal was also completed to the Vinton Drainage Canal. (839) The canal was reclaiming several thousand acres of land in the southern part of the state. (840)
The New Orleans Item complimented Lake Charles very highly in an article stating that it was a city of beautiful homes. The city was progressive. The oil wells were bringing in a different type of settler in contrast to the lumber employees. (841) Much of the population was composed of lumbermen at this time, for eighty percent of those engaged in manufacturing were engaged in the lumber business. However, the war was said to be hurting the lumber at this time. The merchants put on the First Dollar Day at the beginning of this year and made a great thing of it. (842) The interest of the people was claimed by stories of pirate gold with great frequency at this time. (843)
LAKE CHARLES DEVELOPS NEW INDUSTRIES AND NEW TRADE
During the next two years, the diversified policy, which had for so long been urged by the banks and other farseeing individuals to the farmers, was developed to a considerable extent. New crops of oats and corn were raised. Truck farming was undertaken by many farmers, and hog raising developed to a remarkable extent. The old idea of depending entirely upon the rice crop was fast losing ground. From this time on, the future prosperity was placed upon a sounder basis.
The citizens of Lake Charles opened up new trading territory with the construction of the new highways, which permitted residents of the territories as far away as fifty miles to come to Lake Charles to do their trading. Dollar Days and excursion rates on the railroad brought more and more people the Lake Charles, and it rapidly became the trading center of South-West Louisiana to a far greater extent than it ever had before.
As the greatest improvement, taking place during this period was in the building of homes and business establishments, the volume of business done by the Calcasieu Building and Loan Association gives to us the clearest idea of the amount of development taking place. On January 1, 1915, the assets were listed at $244,641.15. (844) In March, the statement was made that there were more applications for loans then ever before. (845) By June, the assets had advanced $36,000 making a total of $280,215. (846) By July, it was claimed that the association had experienced the greatest profits in its history during the preceding six months. (847) $20,500 in new stock was issued during the month of August, (848) and the development was continued during the fall months. Seldom had the city taken such interest in the building up of their property. (849)
A great deal of property changed hands during the year. An idea of the prevailing prices may be gained from the following transactions. S. T. Woodring sold to W. B. Williamson the property at the corner of Broad St. and Kirkman in the residential district for $4,000. (849) The property had a forty-foot front on Broad Street. The Gayle Land Company purchased the Powell property at the corner of Broad and Hodges Streets for $8,000. (850) More than sixty families from the North obtained land through the agency of the American Farm Lands Company whose holdings were twenty-five miles form Lake Charles. (851) The Prairie Farm Lands Company opened an office in the newly-improved Majestic Hotel, and were able to dispose of a great deal of their forty thousand acre holding of land. (852) A number of homes were erected at this time on Sough Street between the city limits and Contraband Bayou. (853) Another new residential district was planned in Drew Park Addition. This added sixty-five lots to the city, and the lots were placed on sale at from $$500 to$2500 a lot. (854) During the year, over $200,000 was spent in the erection of new residences. (865)
The new bridge over the Calcasieu, which had been promised by the Police Jury, was planed to cross the river at a point about a mile west of the city near Walnut Grove. (856) Work was started on the bridge in the fall. A beautiful concrete arch bridge was constructed over
English Bayou. The bridge was one hundred and fifteen feet long, and was said to be the longest reinforced concrete bridge at that time. (857)
The Diversification policy urged by the banks was given further impetus when the Louisiana Land and Orchard Company agreed to operate a cannery of four hundred acres would be planted in sweet potatoes. (858) The first carload of cabbage was shipped to Kansas City in May. (859) At this time, one hundred and fifty farmers were using the services of the South-West Louisiana Produce Association. (869) The increase in this business during the year was over four thousand per cent. (861)
Several public improvements were made during the year. Gravel was laid on Bank Street between Board and Clement Streets under a private arrangement of property owners. The same was done on Louisiana Avenue between Broad and Clement Streets. (861) Seven miles of paving were laid during the year. (863) A new park was laid out to extend from 18th to 20th streets and from Market to Pine Street. (864) The laying of the gravel on the highway between Chloe and the parish line was finished at a cost of $150,000. (865) A new plan was drawn up by the commissioners for draining the city. (866) Electric cars were run through to Goosport for the first time without transfer. (867) A gas franchise was awarded to (a) company who stated that they were (would) erect a $100,000 plant. (868) Some of the kind-hearted ladies of the city arranged for rest rooms for city visitors. (869) A canal was cut from the lake to the Iron Mountain crossing of South Ryan Street. (870) A committee was organized from the Chamber of Commerce to promote the improvement of the lakefront. Right of way were obtained and all obstacles were set aside for the actual work. (871)
The schools were making satisfactory progress. The salary of the superintendent was increased to $2700. (872) However, the financial condition was alarming. The schools were going in debt at the rate of $8,000 a year. In July, one-half of the revenue for the coming year had been spent. (874) It was a very quiet year in the school system.
The lumber industry received a great impetus when the when the English government ordered fifty million feet of lumber through the Long-Bell Lumber Company. (875) The rice industry was prospering; the reach of rice bringing $4 a barrel, the highest in years. (876) The banking business showed gains which brought the total resources of Lake Charles banks to $8,436,000 with deposits of about $7,000,000. (877)
There was some gain in population during the Year, for a close estimate based upon statistics compiled from the telephone company’s list, the next and new city directory, and the enrollment in the public school showed the city and suburbs to have a population of about 18,000. (878)
The Commercial Club attempted early in the year to work out a plan where by a boat line might be established between New Orleans and Lake Charles, using the Intercoastal Canal and Atchafalaya River. (879) Shortly after this, the first boat came through the Intercoastal Canal from Orange to Lake Charles. (880) Later in the year, the Commercial Club outlined plans for bringing all interests into closer relations for the welfare of the city and its surroundings. (881) Before the end of the month, the Commercial Club was dissolved and the Chamber of Commerce again organized. (882) A special campaign was made for members and three hundred and eighty-five were enrolled at once. (883) The next month the Chamber entertained one hundred members of the trade extension group from New Orleans. (884)
Lake Charles second annual Dollar Day was a great success. (885) Before the next day came, a great storm swept over south-west Louisiana, drowning ninety per cent of the cattle in the Grand Lake region. It was thought that the planned Dollar Day could not prove successful in view of the conditions.
The American Mutual Life Insurance Company, a Lake Charles Organization, wrote $1,500,000 in policies in its first year of operation. (885)
The protestant ministers of the city asked the mayor to abolish the segregated "Red Light" district, which had existed for so many years in the city. Activity in the district was increasing, and the district its self was creeping toward the business part of town. Nothing was done in regard to it for some believed that its abolishment would only cause it to spread to all parts of the city and others felt that the city should have such a district for several reasons. (886)
A good piece of news for the city in general was had when the old wooden buildings on Ryan and Pujo Streets were ordered demolished by the state Fire Marshall. He condemned fifteen as being firetraps. (887)
The Confederate Monument which stands in the Court House lawn was dedicated on June 2nd l915, with an elaborate ceremony. (888)
In the fall, an aquatic carnival was held in Lake Charles. It was the largest ever attempted in Louisiana and celebrated the completion of the canal connecting Texas and Louisiana. (889)
At this time, the Lake Charles mills, factories, and wholesale houses were employing twenty-five hundred people with an annual payroll, which exceeded $2,000,000. The largest enterprise in the parish was, of course, the Union Sulphur Mines, which paid $267,000 in taxes to the parish. (890) The Clooney Construction Company, which was engaged in the building of ships, employed over three hundred men at this time. (891)
The year continued to show a steady advance in the reality market, which had become one of the leading industries of the city. The business of the Calcasieu Building and Loan Association advanced nearly half a million dollars. (892)
The Naval Stores Company brought the turpentine industry to a point of profitable production and increased the prosperity greatly in the cut over lands. Twenty-six thousand acres alone were leased from the Long-Bell Lumber Company for a consideration of $100,000. (893)
The directors of the Chamber of Commerce sent out a letter disavowing the activity and project of the Sulphur Company in their sand selling scheme. (894)
Due to several recent clean-up campaigns, the health conditions in the city were reported to be better. (895) The fire loss of the previous year which had amounted to $72,000 would not be repeated according to the Fire Chief, J. W. Herndon, because many of the fire traps had been cleared away. (896) The Iron Mountain Railroad and the Cumberland Telephone companies alone made improvements, of $30,000. (897)
In the previous year because of the demands of the citizens, the City Commissioners were forced much against their wishes to authorize the construction of a new high school building to replace the one, which had served since the beginning of the school system. The bonds for the new building were sold with little trouble, for the people all demanded the building. (898)
The charter of the new gas company was filed, and its capitalization was raised to double its planned value. J. A. Landry was made president. (899)
The good roads program, which had been inaugurated several years before, was now completed, and Calcasieu Parish was known now as the Good Roads Parish of Louisiana. (900) The Old Spanish Trail was routed through Louisiana, which was good news to the residents of Lake Charles. (901)
After several years of contention, the City Commissioners granted a franchise to the Iron Mountain Railroad for the use of Front Street. (902)
Somewhat thrilling capture was made by the Sheriff Henry A. Reid of the bandit and outlaw Carriere. The bandit was mortally wounded. (903)
All of the theatres in the city, which comprised the Iris, Princess, Arcade, and Dreamland, were merged into one organization under the name of the Southern Amusement Company, which was capitalized at $106, 000. (904)
A mercantile syndicate was next formed. It included eleven stores and had a capitalization of $50,000. (905) The old period of organization seemed to be coming back into Lake Charles.
Some agitation had taken place for a municipally owned light plant. The proposition was put to the voters who defeated it by a vote of 322 to 51. (906)
The women finally decided that the organization was a good thing so they formed a city federation of clubs which included the following: Enterprise, Review, and Monday Clubs; the First, Second, and Fourth Ward Parent-Teachers Associations; The Women’s Christian Temperance Union; the Land Maccabees; the Woodmen Circle; the Rebecca Lodge; South Side Home Economics Club; South Side Child Conservation League; Ladies Aid Society of the Christian Church, the Needle Craft Club, and the Embroidery Club. (907)
The Rotary Club, which was destined to have a great influence in the city, was formed in 1916. (908)
A survey of the Industries (of) located in Lake Charles before the inflation of the war period will be valuable in showing us how greatly the city had developed from its backwoods status of a few years previous and will indicate the substantial enterprises upon which the city depended.
The following institutions were existent in the city in 1916; and orphanage, a business college, eight sawmills, two bottling works, ten wholesale houses, two grain mills, two brick plants, one broom factory, two rice mills, a turpentine still, a box factory, a canning factory, two car shops, a round house, two national banks, one trust company, a building and loan association, several machine shops, a foundry, several cold storage plants, three steam laundries, and electric railway, a sewerage system, a water works, two ice factories a power plant, a gas plant , a daily and a weekly news paper, two printing establishments, a carriage and implement house, whole sale and retail furniture houses. Of course, there were many stores, five hotels, twelve churches, and two school systems.
In considering the industrial condition, it is seen that more than one third of the population depended upon the lumber industry. There was an annual amount of manufacturing for the city of the size of Lake Charles; the value of manufactured products in 1916 was $6,652,037.
The biggest single undertaking, which benefited Lake Charles directly, was the completion of the one hundred and seventy-five mile highway system. Its cost was $1.075,000. Another great undertaking was the building of the bridge across the Calcasieu at the cost of $128,000. Bigger projects were being thought of constantly by the people.
THE WAR YEARS
The years 1917 and 1918 were the greatest years of activity in the history of Lake Charles. The great aviation camp brought work and money in such quantities that the people of Lake Charles were scarcely able to absorb it. There can be no doubt that they were probably the most prosperous years that the city has yet enjoyed.
Real Estate activity continued as it had in the past two. Many settlers came in urged by the colonization projects of the various companies. Few of them stayed after two or three years in their new homes, so the permanent gain to Lake Charles was not great.
The war was just a big excitement to Lake Charles. There seemed to be little realization on the part of the people of the seriousness, or at least, there was little indication of it. Social affairs were curtailed except for the flying boys, but many parties were given for them. Every hardship such as meatless days, and lightless nights were taken as a lark by most of the people. And, the Liberty Bonds were taken in great quantities. It was a new thing for the people and they received their full share of its enjoyment.
The location of Camp Gerstner in Lake Charles was, of course, the most important event of the year. It was located seventeen miles south of the city on the Bel City Highway. There were twenty-four hangers, housing six airplanes each, twelve barracks which were able to care for one hundred and fifty men each, twelve mess halls, four warehouses, two woodwork shops, two tin shops, two paint shops, two motor repair shops, two garages, two school buildings, one oil house, one shoe shop, one clothing repair shop, two headquarters buildings, one hospital, one club building, two Y.M.C.A. buildings, one nurses quarters, two bachelor’s houses, ten buildings for married officers, four buildings for enlisted men, two for non-commissioned officers, two water towers, one pumping plant, two fire station buildings.
There were four hundred and fifty officers stationed here, four hundred and twenty-five enlisted men, who were rated as cadets, and two thousand and fifty enlisted men.
The field was opened on November 11, 1917.
Some idea of its importance to Lake Charles may be seen in the fact that there was a weekly payroll of $60,675,000 seen in the pay to the workmen who were employed in the construction of the field. (909) This payroll was increased to over a hundred thousand a short time later. (910)
Several improvements were made during the year among which was the building of a potato curing plant, (911) the spending of $25,000 by the First National Bank for new fixtures, (912) the construction of a $30,000 building for the Huber Motor Company. (913)
The biggest transaction of the year aside from those of the government was the purchase of W. P. Weber and G. M. King of the Rigley Lumber Company for $400,000. (914)
Lake Charles easily passed its quota in the first Liberty Loan drive. (915)
Several troubles came up during the year. The Union Sulphur Company filed suit in Federal Court for the reduction of their property assessment from $25,000,000 to $12,000,000. (916) The oil workers in the Ged, Edgerly, and Vinton fields went out on a strike. Two hundred United States troops from Vicksburg were put on duty in the fields. (917) The city was forced to pay $150,000 as an extra war tax during the next twelve months. (918)
The usual troubles of the year occurred, and in an attempt to save time, these will be passed over. The affairs, which were really of importance, were those attempted by the Commercial Club, which will be listed
The aims of the club for the year were the location of the aviation field, the building of a toll road to Cameron, introduction of cotton into Calcasieu Parish on a larger scale, obtain deeper water in the section of the Intercoastal Canal known as the Calcasieu-Sabine section, adjustment of press deliveries for convenience and economy of Lake Charles and Alexandria Highway, location of the Lambert Chemical Company in Lake Charles, gaining the southern route of the Old Spanish Trail, location of an oil refinery, erection of a potato curing plant, publicity work, Pullman car service to a greater extent on the railroads, elimination of a tax on open account, vacant to gardens, and improvement of the weather station.
Few of the aims were accomplished, but a great deal of work was done in attempting to complete them.
A great many home seekers from the northern states came in 1918. A group of seventy-eight came in one party and were the quests of the Prairie Farm Land Company. (919) A short time later fifty members of the manufactures and merchants board of Cleveland, Ohio cane to visit and were entertained by the Chamber of Commerce. (920) The Payne Investment Company brought in ninety families on one excursion. (921) By the last of June, the Payne Investment Company had disposed of over fifty thousand acres of land. They then closed their offices in Lake Charles. (922)
The enrollment in the public schools had made a great advance. There were enrolled at this time three thousand seven hundred and two. (923) Complaint was still made about the low salaries paid to Lake Charles teachers. It was said that other towns were paying from $10 to $35 a month more to their teachers. (924) This complaint undoubtedly had some good effect, for in June, the teachers salaries were raised twenty per cent. (925) That fall an unusual expenditure was necessary on account of the storm. The Board spent $40,000 in equipping the schools. (926) The school expenditures for the year had been increased to $75,281.27. The Superintendent's salary had advanced to $3,600, and that of the principals of the High School and Central School to $220 a month. The Ward School principals were receiving $125 a month. (927)
A boom was experienced in rice values which resulted in a great deal more acreage. One of the reasons for this was a government order of fifty thousand tons equal to one million bags. The value of this order alone was $7,000,000, (928) and the filling of it was given to the Lake Charles Rice Milling Company.
The City Commissioners after several years of hesitation and uncertainty made up their minds to abolish houses of ill fame within the city limits. (929) It is very doubtful if their action destroyed any of them. It for the most part merely scattered them to various parts of town.
A plan was drawn up to this time to divert the upper waters of the Calcasieu. A storm of protest arose from the citizens of Lake Charles in such volume that the subject was not brought up again. (930)
A new highway was started between Lake Charles and Alexandria. It was to be known as the Pelican Highway. (931)
An addition was made to St. Patrick's Hospital which doubled the size of the institution. (932) A new Presbyterian Church was built at a cost of $37,000. (933)
A very important business transaction took place when the Lake Charles Naval Stores Company with a paid-up capitalization of $900,000 took over the independent Naval Stores Company, which had leases on sixty thousand acres of turpentine land. (934)
In May, South-West Louisiana more than doubled their allotment of Liberty Bonds. (935) The War Savings Stamps Campaign the next month was an equal success. (936) After the terrible storm both Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes asked to be relieved of the obligation to buy Liberty Bonds. (937) However, relieved both parishes later went over the top in their subscriptions. (938)
Activity at Gerstner continued at top speed. Night flying was introduced. (939) The camp was the first in the United States to establish aerial gunnery and an aerial ambulance. (940)
The Intercoastal Canal was made a certainty as a result of a bill signed by the President on July 18, 1918. The bill provided that the government and the locality would share in the cost of construction. (941)
The worst disaster of the year was the great storm, the worst in Lake Charles’ history. It caused a $1,000,000 timber loss to the mills. Seven mills in Lake Charles were destroyed. The loss of the Union Sulphur Company was $3,000,000. A large number of homes were ruined and the crops damaged. The school buildings were damaged to the extent that they needed $50,000 to put them back in their former shape. (942)
To offset the bad effect of the storm was the success of the city in their mosquito control work. (943) It was said that the city had wiped out malaria. (944)
The most sensational event of the year was the death of John Purroy Mitchell, former mayor of New York City, who was killed in a plane accident over the city. (945)
A ten per cent increase in valuation of property was made in Lake Charles to meet the increased expenses of the city. (946)
A BUILDING ERA
The years, 1919 and 1920, were the years of the great building activity in Lake Charles. The reason undoubtedly was the result of the war prosperity, which had increased the wealth of many of the citizens of Lake Charles. Another reason might have been the fact that employment was so cheap for the first time in several years.
The immigration from the North continued to pour in during the first year, but started slackening the second year. Many of the farmers coming from the North returned the first year, others stayed for two and sometimes three years, and the remainder went into rice production on a large scale. Those who stayed were made wealthy in a great many cases, but not from the development of the small tracts of land, which they purchased when, they came from the North.
At the end of the period, there was an indication of the hard times which were soon to result from an over production of rice.
The period was one of steady development up to the time of its close.
The year l919, opened in the midst of the greatest volume of business that the town had known. The deposits of all the banks totaled $10,747,504.17. (947) It was a very good cattle year and the eighty thousand head in Cameron and Calcasieu Parish brought their owners great financial returns. (948) Some idea of the prosperity maybe seen in the rising price of land. Five hundred and sixty acres of practically unimproved land five and a half miles Southeast of Lake Charles sold for $75 and acre. (949)
In spite of business, a drive for members for the Country Club resulted in ninety-four new members. The contract was let for a new building for cost of $27,000. (950)
The fifty Liberty Loan was greatly oversubscribed. (951)
The City Commissioners kept a cool head at this time, and despite the fact that more than a hundred citizens presented a petition asking for water, street paving, and streetlights, only minor improvements were authorized. (952) A short time later, the commissioners decided to pave five streets. (953) The city property value had increased to $12,327,370. (954) The taxes collected during the year, 1918, were$199,228.90. (955)
The bonded debt of the city was as follows:
City Hall Bonds $67,000
Fire Station $21,000
Street paving $90,000
High School Building $122,000
Ward School Building $128,000
Negro School Building $200,000
The certificates of indebtedness at the beginning of 1919 were $57,000 in amount, and there was a floating debt of $4,200. (956)
One of the most beautiful events, which took place during the year, was the May Fete presented by the public school children on the Court House lawn. Over eighteen hundred took part. There were five thousand spectators. (957)
The Chamber of Commerce again was the leader in promoting the best interest of Lake Charles. Their aims for the year were to promote the use and sale of the cut-over lands, help the returned soldiers and sailors to find employment, cooperate with the Homeseeker’s Bureau, encourage civic improvement, fight for Malarial control, boost the Pelican and the Old Spanish Trail Highways, send delegates to the Rivers and Harbors Congress, seek wharf and terminal facilities, arrange for amusement centers, obtain a good band, promote pleasure piers and an auditorium, obtain a lecture bureau, attract conventions, protect Lake Charles on railroad matters, and try to make Camp Gerstner permanent.(958)
School trouble marred the year. Many teachers resigned as a result of Yeager’s policies. The town was about equally divided in their allegiance to him and to the teachers. (959) The school board in an attempt to solve the trouble offered the superintendency held by Yeager to McKenzie. McKenzie declined the position. Then, a petition was circulated for Yeager. It was signed by six hundred and four parents or seventy-eight percent of the school patrons. The State Superintendent of Education, T. H. Harris, was called in, and he spoke in favor of Yeager. (960) The matter was eventually settled by calling Ward Anderson to head the schools.
The Kiwanis Club was organized in August 1919. (961)
The Weber-King Lumber Company was incorporated with a capitalization of $1,000,000. (962)
Drainage operations of a gigantic scope were going to begin in Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis Parishes. One hundred and eighty-seven thousand and eight hundred acres were to be reclaimed at an average cost of between $3 and $4 an acre. (962)
The colonization project of the Prairie Farm Land Company was a success. Every foot of land owned by the company was sold mostly to farmers from Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois. (963)
The following table will indicate the trend in crop planting:
CROP PLANTING BY ACREAGE IN CALCASIEU PARISH
CROP 1913 1917 1918 Rice 35,500 37,000 61,000 Corn 1,290 19,000 21,000 Sweet Potatoes 180 680 1,500 Pasture 900 5,900 7,000 Sorghum 80 1,300 2,000 Truck 280 1,600 2,050 Cotton ---- 870 1,000 Irish Potatoes 9 312 372 Oats 30 196 227 Peanuts ---- 138 178
The year 1920, was a year of construction. The month of January had as much construction work begun as the entire previous year had. (964) Among the construction work was a $150,000 addition to St. Patrick’s Hospital. (965) The building permits for the past several years is shown on the following page.
Rice production was increasing all the time, and the rice growers won a victory when they obtained an equalization on the rates of rice shipments in the early part of 1920. (966) During the year 1919, the export of rice to foreign countries was greater than ever before. It was thought that rice would be much demanded for this year due to the short wheat crop. (967) In March, two million five hundred thousand pounds of rice was sent to Athens. (968) Over twenty million pounds of rough rice, which had been grown of he Pacific coast, was shipped to Lake Charles for milling purposes. (969) There were two hundred and fifty-eight thousand and four hundred and twenty acres of rice planted in Calcasieu during 1920. This was too much for the demand, and that fall most of it remained in the warehouses. (970) This was the forerunner of the hard times, which were to follow from a like result.
VALUE OF YEARLY BUILDING PERMITS
A remarkable expansion of the business district had taken place during the preceding thirteen months. In the period, almost every vacant lot changed hands, and in almost every case, an announcement was made of a building to be erected upon it within the near future. The block of Ryan from Pujo to the Court House showed the greatest improvement. Four vacant lots here changed hands, and buildings were erected on three of them. (970) (USED IN PREVIOUS PARAGRAPH)
The Chamber of Commerce was fortunate in securing the Philadelphia athletics baseball team to train in Lake Charles. (971)
A great meeting was held in February of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce to which the Rotary and the Kiwanis Clubs were invited to hear the announcement of the plan of activities for the year 1920. The most important object was the securing of a thirty-foot channel to the Gulf. Other aims were the securing of a great white way, and auditorium and a pleasure pier, a municipal brass band, and money with which to operate. They obtained almost all of the $22,500, which they stated necessary to carry on their work. It was stated here that Lake Charles would reach the fifty thousand-population mark within the near future. (972)
A piece of property which had an interesting history and which showed the great increase in property values was sold on April 1st. It was located in the square bounded by Division, Moss, Mill, and Hodges Streets and included all except the residences of Mrs. E. F. Bel and Samuel Levy. Ten acres, which included the square, was originally purchased by Colonel R. H. Nason on May 5, 1883 from Dr. A. H. Moss for a consideration of $2,000. Dr. Moss bought the same tract for $12,000 from David John Reid. Reid bought the land from Jonathan Hardin Cole on February 20, 1857 for $30.21. The increase in the years had been one thousand fold, as the last bought at this time $30,000. (972) (USED AT THE END OF THE LAST PARAGRAPH)
A rat campaign was waged in July because of the discovery of the Bubonic Plague in Beaumont. (973)
The school budget had now increased to $200,000. (974) There were now enrolled three thousand and nine hundred and sixty-three in the system with five hundred and fifty-nine in the high school. (975)
Lake Charles was much pleased at this time to learn that they had received special classification as a tourists’ resort. (976)
The Chamber of Commerce at this time was attempting to obtain a paper mill, a chemical plant, a cigar factory, and an oil refinery, and automobile manufacturing establishment. (977)
The census figures now came out which gave Lake Charles a population of 13,088 which was an increase of fourteen and three-tenths percent since the last census. As the figures stated that most people considered the figures did not show the population which the people thought, the paper stated that most people considered the figures to be assured. The increase was the least of any large city in Louisiana including Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Monroe, and Crowley. (978) The gain for the parish was forty-five percent - a much larger increase than the city showed. (979)
For some time the Union Sulphur Company had been complaining of their high assessment, so the Board of State Affairs was called in. This body raised the assessment $19,000,000 over that given it by the police jury, making a total of $52,998,745. (980) The total assessment of the entire parish was set at $86,998,745. The Police Jury however retained their old assessment figure of $31,000,000. (981) Then, the State Board of Affairs rejected the Police Jury Assessment and stated that their figure must stand. (982)
The stock of the Calcasieu National Bank was increased from $500,000 to $700,000, and that of the First National from $100,000 to $200,000.
Lake Charles now adopted a city plan for the future growth of the city. The plan was prepared by expert engineers, and showed how to develop parks, municipal buildings, boulevards, and all other public improvements. (983)
INCREASE IN CROP PRODUCTION IN PRAIRIE LANDS TRACT
Land Under Cultivation 1917 1918 1919 Cotton 687 4,133 5,424 Sweet Potatoes 38 266 91 Corn 72 517 590 Rice 460 3,008 4,272 Irish Potatoes 2 14 21 Cane 10 152 46 Oats ---- ---- 120
NEW BUILDINGS ERECTED IN 1919-1920
Masonic Temple $100,000
Second Ward School $68,397
First ward school $32,969
Country Club $25,000
Miller Garage $25,000
Swift Estate Building $20,000
Episcopal Church $16,000
American Press $10,000
Gayle Garage $10,000
Louisiana-Western Lumber Co. $8,000
Calcasieu Banking Company $8,000
Virgadamo Building $27,541
Lake Charles Implement Co. $23,000
Frank Building $150,000
Sanitarium Annex $10,000
Paramount Theatre $10,000
Humble Station $10,000
Miller Filling Station $20,000
Dalvosio Building $17,000
Caps Building $25,000
DeBakey Theatre $25,000
LAKE CHARLES CLOSED A TEN YEAR PERIOD OF PROGRESS
The year,1920, was the second best year in the history of Lake Charles, and the prosperity was carried over far into the year 1921, in spite of the poor rice market. There was activity in every field land and prosperity for most enterprises. And above all, there was a greater harmony in the general affairs of the city then there had ever been before.
Crime had decreased greatly. There were no murders, no robberies on the highway, and but few robberies in the city in the year about to begin.
Crops were good, and poverty was scarce.
The year 1921, is a fitting close for the most prosperous period in the history of Lake Charles.
During the preceding year, the city spent $33,000 permanent improvements, spent $40,000 for fire equipment, increased the number of firemen and policemen, and raised the salaries of all city officials on an average thirty percent. (984) The expenses were all paid under the city plan. The taxation was increased. In 1917, there was a ten mill general tax, based upon fifty percent of assessed valuation. In 1920, there was a general levy of eight and a half mills on the hundred percent of the valuation. In addition, there was a general increase in the amount of assessment. (985) The new year opened with good expectations for the city affairs.
Shortly after the beginning of the year, the citizens of Margaret Place appealed for light and street improvements. (986) No action was taken on the appeal. Then, the City School Board and the City Commission settled the difference, which had been causing trouble for some time. The schools demanded $ 37,500 from the city annually for the support of the schools, while the Commission stated that they were able to give them only $20,000. The figure of settlement was $30,000. (987)
The City Commission was composed of Commissioners Funderburg and Gorham, and Mayor Trotti. (988)
The index of building activity, the Calcasieu Building and Loan Association, reported the most prosperous year in their history in 1920, and the beginning of 1921, appeared to be even better. Their assets were now $1,250,000. (989) This was a thirty percent increase since the preceding year. However, the look for increase continued only during the forepart of the year. After the forepart of the year, there was a falling off.
War reminders appeared constantly throughout the year. The new bridge across the Calcasieu at Moss Bluff was dedicated to the Heroes of the World War. (990) On November 11th, Armistice Day, was celebrated as no other day had ever been celebrated in the history of the city. There were parades, services at the Arcade Theatre, dedication of palm trees to the American Legion by the Kiwanis Club, speaking and athletic contests at Drew Park, balloon ascensions, a football game, and a big street dance. Everyone had a wonderful time. (991)
The overproduction of rice, which was beginning to pinch the farmers, was the cause for the formation and work of several organizations. That the matter was serious may be seen in the fact that rice on hand was twice as large as it was the preceding year. (992) A contribution by Calcasieu Parish of $10,000 to the starving children of Europe was given as an example for other organizations to follow. (993) During February, it seemed as if the appeal was affecting a chance, for the sales were heavy. Then, they started again to drop off and continued to do so for the remainder of the year. All that large organization, the American Rice Growers Association, could do seemed to be little. The banks were the first ones to feel the effect, for most of the rice farmers were operating on borrowed capital. However, President Roberts of the Calcasieu National Bank, had faith that the rice farmers would pull through, and his faith in them not only waved the banks, but the rice farmers as well before the end of the depression. (994)
The Association of Commerce (it seemed that the name of this organization changed several times even in the course of a year, and there are a few times when the newspapers called the organization by the same name over a course of time even in which no change was made in the name) concentrated on one main project, in 1921: the obtaining of deep water. (995) In previous years, their activities had been spread over such a large number of aims that little was accomplished. It was said that the obtaining of a paper mill and an oil refinery depended upon the deep water. (996) With a subject which appealed so much to the wishes of the people, the Association prospered very much during the year. The annual dues were raised to $12. The Italian businessmen of the city obtained sixty members among their own nationality. (997) Almost every organization in the city got behind the deep water project with either resolutions or with active work. There was never a time when the city was so united over any one project. A mass meeting was attended by a large majority of the citizens, and for once, there was not an opposing voice. (998)
There was a slight increase in population during the year. According to the city directory, there were at the end of January, 15,015 in the city limits. (999) This figure was not changed much before the end of the year.
A new organization, the Housewives’ League appeared. Its aim was to obtain fair prices, demand good quality of goods, and promote the health of the people. (1000 )
The Enterprise Club assumed the obligation of beautifying the high school grounds. Ten acres were planted to trees there during the year. (1001)
New industries being urged to locate in Lake Charles were a pepper sauce plant, a wood pulp plant, a box factory , a creamery, a broom factory, a handle factory, and iron foundry, a concrete culvert factory, a cigar factory, a trash burning factory, a paper mill, a rice straw manufacturing plant, a gas pipeline, and a wood working plant. (1002)
The new Masonic Temple was completed this year. The organization had grown rapidly after its founding in 1859. Its charter was issued on February 16, 1860. (1003)
Its membership had grown as follows:
1859 10 members
1860 16 members
1870 70 members
1890 90 members
1900 84 members
1910 183 members
1920 385 members
1921 450 members
The first house of the lodge was a one-story frame building. Then, the lodge moved over Glasspool’s store on Ryan Street where the Rigmaiden Hotel now stands. Next, it was taken to a room over J. W. Bryan’s store on the corner of /Ryan and the Court House Square. In May 1869, a two-story wooden building dedicated. Then an acre of ground was purchased on Hodges Street. One-half interest in the lot cost the lodge $75. On March 20, 1884, the adjoining property having a two hundred-foot frontage on Broad Street was purchased for $100. Their property in all amounting to one and two-thirds acres had cost them a total of $375. They erected a modern brick building at a cost of $175,000. (1004)
A review of the accomplishments of Lake Charles since 1911 may add some to the conception of progress taking place in the city.
The assessed valuation of the parish was $15,000,000 in 1911. In 1921, it was $53,000,000. The assessment of Lake Charles itself, had advanced from $5,000,000in 1911 to $13,242,000 in 1921.
The combined deposits of the banks had increased from $4,489,990 in 1911 to $12,000,000 in 1921.
The cultivated farm area of 1910 was 25,000 acres. In 1921, it was 110,000 acres.
A drainage project was now completed which gave the parish 75,000 acres of reclaimed land.
Since 1913, Calcasieu Parish had constructed over two hundred miles of surfaced highway at a cost of two and a half million dollars.
Twenty miles of street in the city had been paved.
Sixty miles of sidewalks were constructed.
Two great disasters had taken place: in 1913, a flood; and in 1918, a tornado.
The school enrollment had now reached the four thousand mark with seventeen hundred negroes among the number.
The schools now had a faculty of one hundred and seven teachers.
Lake Charles had the only school board in the state that did their work without pay.
Seven thousand books were now in the public library, and in 1920, there had been a circulation of twenty-five thousand.
The Post Office receipts had reached the figure of $69,883.38.
Lake Charles now had the leading Association of Commerce in the state.
Lake Charles was the cleanest city inspected in Louisiana morally according to the inspectors.
The value of Lake Charles manufactured products now reached an annual value of $8,291,000.
Calcasieu Parish had a remarkable showing in so far as owners’ statistics of farms were concerned. Of the nine hundred and twenty-two farms in the state only two hundred and fifty-nine were tenant- operated.
The Commission form of city government was rapidly becoming very efficient. The indebtedness was being decreased. On May 8 1917, there were
$10,000 in over drafts, and $65,500 outstanding certificated of indebtedness. In January 1921, the certificates had been reduced to $47,500 and there were no over drafts. In addition, the city had spent $33,000 for improvement.
The above facts speak better than words in showing that the city was making good substantial progress.
LAKE CHARLES OBTAINS A SHIP CHANNEL TO THE SEA
Lake Charles obtaining a ship channel to the sea might be termed one of the two or three greatest events in the history of the city. Future commerce may prove it to be the most important. Years of effort and countless discouragements were overcome by the body of men who could see into the future. Everyone was much surprised at the amount of shipping coming into Lake Charles the first two years after the completion of the channel except the men who were responsible for its origin. History may designate the men back of the ship channel movement as the great men in Lake Charles history.
The depression of the past year was overcome in 1922 by the return of prosperity. Everyone seemed to be planning big things for the near future. Seven million dollars worth of corporation stock was filed in a single year. The citizens of Lake Charles had seen their early errors in not encouraging industry and railroads, and they seemed to be determined that no such mistake could occur in the future. At the close of the year, 1923, the optimism of the businessmen seemed likely to lead to over-inflation of industry. The prosperity cycle was nearing its climax soon to be followed by another period of depression.
The budget for the year 1922 was increased. Schools were allotted $42,000 and increases were made to other departments. To meet the expenditures the city received $142,000 in taxes, $20,000 for licenses; miscellaneous collections $22,000; court fines $2,500; bond fines $600; and electrical inspections $500. (1005)
The United States Public Health Commissioners stated that the city water was unfit for drinking purposes. The city schools refused to use it any longer, but no steps were taken during the year to improve it. (1006)
The first annual Rice Carnival was held in this year. Miss Alma Krause was Queen and Mr. Hubert Foster was King. The carnival was opened by President Harding who pushed a button in Washington. (1007)
One of the most striking events of the year was the Ku Klux Klan initiation, which was held on east Broad Street. Three hundred were initiated at this time by eight hundred men in robes. Between eight and ten thousand people watched the affair. (1008)
The schools received more help when a five-year maintenance tax of five and a half mills was voted. It carried 247 to 5. (1009) There were twenty-two teachers in the high school at this time. (1010)
The rice depression continued, and the rice farmers were in a serious condition. Many lost all that they had, and banks were forced to take over great qualities of land when the banks were forced to close. The farmers were unable to meet their obligations. The Calcasieu National Bank, as well as the others, was on the verge of failure through out the period, but the banking genius of President Roberts of the Calcasieu National pulled the farmers and the banks out of the depression without a total bankruptcy. The condition was caused by the over-production which had resulted from the immense quantity used during the war. The market could not absorb the quantity production when peacetime came. The American Rice Growers Association did good work in selling rice. It disposed of a total of $7,282,134 up to June 17, 1922. (1011)
Opposition began to develop to the deep-water project. The unanimity of the previous year changed to a divided opinion. In the general election on the subject, the deep-water proposition received 1,713 votes while there were 874 votes against it. (1012) The Union Sulphur Company was against the project. (1013) The terms of the contract with the government were that each of the United States and the parish governments would assume a share of the cost. On June 19 1922, the parish voted a bond issue of $2,750,000 for widening and deepening the old channel to give a shipway thirty feet deep and one hundred and twenty five feet wide. (1014)
Football had not received much emphasis in the high school for several years. The 1922 team, however, was a very good one under the direction of Coach Johnson. (1015)
The most important organization formed during the year was that of Community Service. It was organized June 4th and adopted on June 20th by the citizens. The executive committee of one hundred prominent citizens divided the fieldwork into five divisions and appointed a committee to supervise each. The committees were Social and Physical Recreation, Music, Story Telling and Story Plays, Educational and Dramatics and Citizenship. A community festival was put on at Drew Park for three days. The work was carried on in the summer at the various schools and parks. Two directors were hired by the city. The project was a success the first year. (1016)
Lake Charles had not lived up to expectations in regard to increasing population. There were several reasons for this. It was said that only one tax had ever been voted down in Lake Charles, and that was the tax desired by the Kansas City Southern Railroad to enable them to locate their terminal in Lake Charles. Instead of its being in Lake Charles as it should have been it was placed at Port Arthur and Beaumont, and was greatly responsible for the building up of these two cities. (1017) A table showing the increases in population of several towns may show us better than a discussion:
Port Arthur Beaumont Orange Lake Charles 1900 900 9,407 3,835 6,680 1910 7,663 20,640 5,527 11,449 1920 22,251 40,422 9,212 13,088
Had Lake Charles taken advantage of the opportunities, her population would have undoubtedly exceeded any of the others.
The planning of the city, which had cost $5,000, was being followed quite closely at this time. Provision had been made in the plan for six more parks: thirty acres north of East Broad Street and east of Graceland, twenty acres east of the high school, ten acres in the Southeast part of the city, sixty acres on the lake north of the Sanitarium, and eight acres in two places in Goosport. Under the city plan, all boulevards were to be forty feet wide with a green strip down the center. The commissioners had already started a million dollar street paving and sidewalk undertaking. The construction provided that property owners would have ten years to pay for the improvement.
One Hardwood Mill
One Shingle Mill
One Hoop and Stave Factory
Two Fence Post Factories
One Box and Crate Factory
Three Machine Shops
One Oil Refinery
Two Brick Manufacturing Establishments
One Ship Yard
One Sulphur and Acid Plant
Two Mattress Factories
Two Planning and Wood-Working Shops
One Railroad Shop
Two Round Houses
One Steam Laundry
One Potato Curing Plant
One Gas Plant
One Electric Light Plant
One Ice Factory
Three Rice Mills
Three Wholesale Grocery Houses
Two Wholesale Fruit and Produce Houses
One Wholesale Hardware House
Two Packing Houses
Six Oil Plants
Six Brokerage Companies
One Cylinder-Grinding Factory
One House Dress Factory
One Wholesale Ice Cream Factory
One Sash and Door Factory
Two Stock Buying Companies
One Analytical and Chemical Manufacturing Plant
One Concrete Manufacturing Plant
Several Cold Storage Plants
A Number of Rice Warehouses
One Wood Block Manufacturing Plant
One Concrete Manufacturing Plant
Several Cold Storage Plants (repeated)
One Wholesale Furniture Plant
Two Oil Producing Fields
A revival in business took place during this year. The rice market improved and affairs were much more prosperous. The revival started in 1922, and the gains made in the latter part of the year made it better for business by fifty-three percent over 1921. The increase in 1923 continued. (1018) All business enterprises gained from twenty-five to forty-five percent since the depression. (1019) The streetcars demanded an eight-cent fare now in view of better conditions. (1020) And as better times came, the old enthusiasm for advertising Lake Charles was renewed. A joint meeting of the Kiwanis, Enterprises, and Rotary Clubs, along with the Trades and Labor Council and the Association of Commerce met about a plan to raise $100,000 for the purpose of advertising in Lake Charles. (1021) The postal receipts for the year were $74,671,580 an advance of $4,000 over 1922. (1022)
The most brilliant affairs of the year was the Ku Klux Klan initiation, which over twenty-five thousand people watched. (1023)
The biggest event for Lake Charles was the beginning of work on the ship channel. A brief history of the project reveals that the first Intercoastal Canal Convention was held in Lake Charles in 1907. The city paid $2,300 to bring the Louisiana legislature to the convention. Shortly after this, $8,000 was raised to bring the Rivers and Harbors Committee from Congress. In 1911, portions of Calcasieu Parish was formed into navigation districts for the purpose of voting taxes for the construction of the Intercoastal Canal from the Calcasieu River to the Sabine. $300,000 had been raised by this method at the opening of the World War. The government then added $500,000 to the amount. The parish of Calcasieu then voted bonds to enlarge the channel to its present size. The greater part of the work of the Association of Commerce during 1920 -21 -22 was for the channel. A survey was started in 1919. On February 10 1920, a joint meeting of the Association of Commerce and the civic organizations endorsed the movement. The government was asked for $700,000 to complete the channel on a twelve foot depth and ninety foot wide basis. The bond issue of $2,750,000 was voted in June 1922, and sold by October 20 1923.
White way lights were put in by the city in the block between the City Hall and the Court House. (1024) An agreement was made whereby the public was to support it. (1025) A mass meeting was held in June to work out some means of improving the Lake Charles water system, which had been condemned. Most of the citizens seem to favor its operation under a supervised franchise. (1026)
The Kansas City Blues took the place of the Philadelphia Athletics in training in baseball. (1027)
A record graduation class finished high school, seventy-four receiving their diplomas. (1028)
One of the boy scouts, Gordon Gill, was sent to the International Council in Copenhagen. The Scout organization was very strong in Lake Charles. (1028)
The football season at the high school ended with three losses and seven victories. A game was played with Waite High School in Toledo, Ohio. John Shirey coached the team.
The accomplishments of the Association of Commerce is really an indication of real progress made, so they will be given. The Association got out of debt, added materially to the membership, and paid the cost of the suit for the insurance of the bonds for deep water, contributed $1,000 to the Old Spanish Trail fund, secured free wharfage for shipping to and from Lake Charles over the Intercoastal Canal, secured the promise of the government in helping to exterminate the hyacinths, put over a "Get Acquainted Trip"
through Southwest Louisiana, entertained many important boards, succeeded in having southern terminal of Louisiana and Southern railroad changes to Lake Charles and Cameron from Brownsville, Texas, put out maps, and obtained conventions, a put over Second Rice Festival.
CORPORATIONS FILING CHARTERS IN 1923
Calcasieu Building and Loan Association (Increase of Old) $5,000,000 Lake Charles Electric Company $1,000,000 Gardiner Plantation Company $600,000 South-West Louisiana Live Stock Loan Company $100,000 Miller Brothers Realty Company $75,000 Coastal Investment Company $75,000 Rosenthal-Brown Company $50,000 Krause-Foster Company $50,000 P. E. Hammons Company $50,000 Noble-Trotter Rice Milling Company $40,000 Lake Charles Petroleum Company $35,000 Caladon’s Production Company $30,000 Johnson Brother Company $30,000 Proven Products Company $25,000 Perkins Tire Company $25,000 Green Oil Company $25,000 Lake Charles Grain and Grocery Company $20,000 Faris-Johnson Company $15,000 DeQuincy Motor Company $15,000 Kirby Street Grocery $10,000 Farm Supply and Canning Company $10,000 Brownie Oil Company $10,000 Southern Farm Land Company $10,000 DeQuincy Cotton Gin Company $2,000 Union Transfer Company $5,000
LAKE CHARLES REACHES A HIGH PEAK IN BUILDING ACTIVITY
The gaining of deep water undoubtedly had a great deal to do with increasing enthusiasm, which Lake Charles exhibited along almost every line of work. Vision of a great city in the near future seemed possible to many of the businessmen, and they were determined to build accordingly. Thus, many new business establishments were erected. Another reason for the great amount of building was the work of the City Commissioners. They demanded that firetraps and building which were not of the finest fire-proof construction be eliminated from the main business district. Residential construction was the result of the coming of a period in the lives of the majority of the foremost businessmen when they felt that they could enjoy to some extent the result of their work. As these leaders erected fine homes, others were moved to do the same, and the result was a city of beautiful homes.
The advent of deep water more than fulfilled its economic possibilities. In the latter part of December, it was stated the $65,000 had been left in Lake Charles by incoming ships within a period of eight weeks. The industrial foundation of the city was being built on a firm basis.
The water problem again demanded a solution. Dr. Martin, city health officer, had the water shut off in the schools. (1030) In August, the improvement of the water supply began, and there was little complaint after that. (1031)
The Calcasieu Building and Loan Association continued to develop, and in January increased their capital stock to $10,000,000 from $5,000,000. (1032) A short time before one of their officers was caught in embezzlement of $1,400. (1033)
The obtaining of deep water was already beginning to make itself beneficial. In the latter part of the preceding year, Kelly-Weber and Company brought in three ships of fertilizer. The ships had to stop at the head of the deep water, and thirteen barges were used to bring it the remainder of the distance. It was estimated that the company would save $75,000 in freight charges during 1924 as a result of the deep water. (1034) Lake Charles was granted commodity rates on railroad shipments on a mileage basis because of the deep water. (1035) Lake Charles had already began to claim to have the best shipping point for the west, south, and north portions of Louisiana. (1036) The Southern Pacific Railroad officials began to pay a great deal more attention to Lake Charles. Foreign agents began to make their appearance in the city as the ship channel neared completion. (1037) Lake Charles decided to build a municipal wharf. (1038)
The rice crop was seriously affected by a drought, which people believed would be much worse than it was. There was some damage by the gain in price to $6 a barrel more than offset lack of yield. (1039) The price dropped a little lower for the latter part of the year, but the average of all rice sold through the American Rice Growers Association was $4.98 a barrel. (1040)
Reduction of the tax levy from four and a half mills to one and seven-tenths mills in the First Sewerage District was good news to the people. (1041) The Stone and Webster Corporation, which had long been attempting to gain control of the lighting system of the city, at last did so. This was considered to be beneficial to the city by Mayor Trotti. (1042) The vote in favor of the change which would most likely mean better service was overwhelming, 960 to5. (1043) Stone and Webster agreed to pay $6,000 yearly into the city treasury for five years to offset the loss of profit to the city on the light plant. (1044) One-half a million dollars worth of new paving and sidewalks was voted in July. (1045) The Commissioners expressed themselves as seeing a bright future ahead for Lake Charles. (1046)
The schools were making good progress. Their financial condition, which had been in bad shape for many years, was now in excellent condition. On July 1st, there was a cash balance in the treasury of$15,674.30. (1047) Two years before there had been an overdraft of $48,000, which had been $64,000 three years previous. In 1919, the overdraft was $95,000. One reason for the more satisfactory condition was the fact that the student enrollment had dropped to three thousand two hundred and seventy-seven. Only eighty teachers were employed also at this time. There were seven men and seventy-three women. (1048) The school board in view of a future need purchased the northwest corner of Kirby and Kirkman for $7,000. (1049) The football team of the high school was not as successful as usual, losing four games and winning five during the season.
The tax rate for 1924 was twenty-one mills, the same as the previous year. The tax was divided as follows: General Revenue 10 mills; Special School Maintenance 6.5 mills; City Hall one mill; Street Paving one half mill; Colored Schools one and two-tenths mills; Ward Schools seven-tenths mills; High School bonds one half mill; and a special sewerage tax one a half mills. (1050)
The Union Sulphur Company went out of existence in this year. Taxes had been raised upon them until they were almost forced out of existence through inability to meet the taxes. At least, they maintained that they would meet them elsewhere better. This was a severe blow to the parish, for a good share of the evaluated property was that of the Union Sulphur Mines. Their assessment in 1924 was $19,166,484.85. (1051) The mines were sold for $3,200. (1052)
Oil activity was great about the city at this time. A new well was brought in a short distance from the city, known as Miller Number One. (1053)
There was a great increase in the acres of cotton this year, almost eight thousand acres being planted. (1054)
The Association of Commerce purchased the Elks property for $22,500, and since that time have had one of the finest commerce buildings in the South. (1055) E. J. Navak was employed as the new secretary.
1924 was a record home building year. More than a fourth of a million dollars being spent in the erection of residential property. There were forty-seven new home in all built. The finest was erected by Matilda Gray at a cost of $10,000. Hubert Foster, C. M. Managan, J. J. Utitz, and W.W. Lemoine all erected homes, which cost in excess of $10,000. (1056) The total building for the year amounted to $412,962.44. (1057)
The sale of all cars was so good that Lake Charles began to have traffic problems. Parking on Ryan Street and turning around on any of the main thoroughfares was prohibited. (1058)
The worst disaster of the year was the burning of the Lake Charles Rice Milling Company. It was the largest in America and was valued at $750,000. Seventy thousand bags of rice burned with the mill. However, a hurried meeting of the Board of Directors resulted in the announcement that a new one would be constructed double the size of the old one. They planned it to have a capacity of six thousand barrels daily. (1059)
On the whole, the year was good. The wealth of Louisiana increased seventy-four and six-tenths percent in the ten years from 1912 to 1922, while that of Lake Charles had increased even more. (1060)
The Association of Commerce had gradually worked its way into the respect of the citizens of Lake Charles by its efficiency and its zeal for the betterment of the city. Very seldom was any move questioned which it desired to make. It had taken to some degree the place of J. B. Watkins in making the city known throughout the United States, and was and is the most important agency in the formation of greater Lake Charles. Its budget for 1925 was $18,000. Its aims were the completion of the highway to Cameron, the opening of a seaside pleasure ground in Cameron Parish, beautification of the lakefront, obtaining of natural gas, and the installation of a white way. (1061) An organization was formed by the Association of Commerce for the purpose of securing home seekers for the idle lands in the Lake Charles vicinity. (1062)
Lake Charles had gradually been eliminating the causes for ill health, and its death rate in 1925 was only nine and three-tenths per thousand, one of the lowest in the entire Unite States. (1063) Later in the year, a mosquito plague swept over the city, but it soon ended. The Malarial mosquito seemed to have been stamped out. (1064)
The building permits for the year broke all records, $647,959 being issued. Ninety-eight homes were constructed during the year, and the Calcasieu Building and Loan Association did the biggest years’ work in their history, loaning out $1,105,900. (1065) One thousand and sixty of the sixteen hundred and forty-seven families in the city owned their own homes. (1066)
The Post Office receipts showed a gain of six percent over the preceding year. (1067)
There were some changes in the city officers. H. J. Geary won over Mayor Trotti by twenty-three votes, the closest race in the history of Lake Charles. (1068) Henry A. Reid was appointed the new Chief of Police. (1069)
Several changes were contemplated or made during the year in regard to streets and traffic rules. An age limit of fifteen years was put on drivers. (1070) Ryan, Bilbo, Hodges, and Kirkman Streets were made through fares. (1071) It was proposed to convert Front Street into a boulevard, but nothing was done in regard to the matter. (1072)
The city finances were not as good usual and the city was forced to go into 1926 in debt by $26,544.04. The reason for this was the building of a municipal wharf, paving on three streets where the city owned the property, and sidewalk construction. (1073) Three and seven-tenths miles of paving was done this year, and over eleven miles of sidewalk was laid. (1074) In December, work was started on the water purification plant. The improvements were estimated to cost between $100,000 and $150,000. It was said that Lake Charles would have with its completion the first pure water in the history of the city. (1075) A bond issue for $300,000 for drainage, $200,000 for a city park, and $10,000 for making the sidewalks and crossings uniform throughout the city was floated also in December. (1076)
A very bad fire occurred the latter part of November. Three persons were killed and a loss of $1,000,000 incurred. The Commercial Building, the second brick building erected in Lake Charles burned. The telephone and light service was thrown out of commission for almost a month. (1077)
Agricultural conditions were much better. The overproduction in rice had ceased, and it was stated that there had been a million dollars shortage in available rice the preceding year. (1078) The cotton crop in Calcasieu Parish was valued at $3,000,000. Three years before there had been none produced. (1079) The Association of Commerce was attempting to obtain a cotton compress. (1080)
A new record for building activity was set again in this year. $1,500,000 in permits was issued during the year. One hundred and ten new residences were erected. A six-story office building costing $400,000 was constructed. The new rice mill involving an expenditure of $360,000 was started as well as a new cellulose plant to cost $200, 000. The Huber Company and the Miller and Moss Corporation each constructed $100,000 buildings. A $100,000 fertilizer plant was started, and the half million-dollar port and terminal district was completed. At the end of the year, Lake Charles presented a much-improved appearance.
In addition to the great expenditures in the building program, the city spent $353, 500 for paving, $300,000 for drainage, $20,000 for parks, and $10,000 in improving crossing and intersections. The Southern Bell Telephone Company started the $76,000 improvement program. So, it was a great year for those engaged in the building trades.
Of course, the Calcasieu Building and Loan Association prospered. Their assets advanced to $2,919,068. (1081) At the beginning of the year, and passed the $3,000,000 mark before the end of the year.
A number of corporations were organized during the year, the largest of which was the Prairie Land And Canal Company with a capitalization of $300,000. (1082)
As before stated, the city undertook a great deal of work during the year. The City Commissioners were having much more authority than the old council ever had, and they were using it wisely. A new building code was adopted whereby no two-story building could be erected within the inner fire limits of the city if they were not fireproof. Shingle roofs were outlawed in the same district. (1083) Railroad Avenue was paved, (1084) and a definite plan was instituted for a right of way. (1085) A new residential district was created one half a mile long and a fourth of a mile wide in which store buildings, filling stations and etc. were not allowed to operate. It extended from North Street to Seventh and from Common to one hundred and fifty-nine feet west of Boulevard. (1086) The improvement of the water supply was given to the Stone and Webster Corporation, which spent $294,431 in this work. A new filtering plant was built. (1087) A paving program for 1927 was outlined which would improve forty-two streets. (1088) Special school and fire taxes were voted on and carried. (1089)
The first large ship to come into the new port of Lake Charles was Sewell’s Point, a ship three hundred and ninety feet long, sixty-five feet wide, and with a twenty-eight foot draft. It brought ten thousand cases of caned goods and eight thousand six hundred and thirty-two tons of fertilizer. Ten thousand people viewed it while it remained in the city. (1090)
Formal opening of the port was made the occasion of a big celebration, the largest in history with the exception of Armistice Day, 1918. A war ship, the Cleveland, with over three hundred blue jackets aboard helped celebrate the day with Lake Charles. The City Commissioners had donated $500 to help make the day a success. (1091) There were parades, boat races, banquets and dances. An address was given by Governor Simpson. (1092) Up to this time, seventy-five ocean going vessels had entered the port. Oil tankers began coming in on October 1st, 1925. (1093)
The death rate for the city had fallen to nine thousand, a very unusual rate for a city in the south. (1904)
Agricultural conditions were not as good as in the previous year. Crops were fair, but low prices existed for both rice and cotton. (1095) An urge was made in the American Press for the rice farmers not to sell their rice below $5 a barrel. (1096) The American Rice Growers Association a vigorous campaign against the low rice prices. (1097) An attempt was made to raise tobacco on the cutover lands, but the project failed. (1098)
The Association of Commerce had a good year. They were now operating on a $25,000 a year budget. (1099) However, the advertising campaign was not as good as it might have been, for the St Louis Boosters who came through a special train stated that the country needed boosting to greater extent than it had been receiving. (1100)
Seventeen conventions met in Lake Charles in the four early spring and summer months. The city was rapidly becoming the favorite place for holding conventions. (1101)
Due to a great deal of trouble in the Baptist Church, a portion of new members broke away and established a new branch. It was said that the pastor’s criticism of certain members of his congregation was responsible for the break. (1102)
Some idea of the price of rice land at this time may be gained by the following transactions. Nine thousand and four hundred acres were purchased for $85,000. The tract was located in Cameron Parish. (1103)
City property was moving quite rapidly. Drew Park Addition, located east of Alvin Street, was opened. The tract included forty lots with six hundred feet of riparian rights along the lake. Adolph Marx bought lots one to seven inclusive for 22,500. (1104) A lot on west Ryan south of the court house sold for 12,000. (1105) Despite the drop in assessment in Calcasieu Parish due to the stopping of work by the Union Sulphur Mine, the parish contributed $101,273 for the proposed road to Cameron. (1106) This road was being urged constantly by some organization or another. "Death Curve", a very bad turn on the Old Spanish Trail east of Lake Charles had claimed a number of victims during the year, and steps were urged to remedy it. (1107)
Lake Charles was rapidly becoming known as one of the cleanest cities in Louisiana, This was the result of the annual clean-up campaign. The city was divided into nine districts, each having a chairman in charge of the work. (1108)
Two new plants, which enlarged the city pay roll considerably, were the Massasoit Cellulose plant, which manufactured products from the rice hulls taken from the Lake Charles Rice Milling Company and the Davidson Sash and Door Factory. (1109)
Lake Charles had for a longtime wanted a higher educational institution then the high school, and when they were offered Silliman College, which had been existing at Clinton, they turned the proposition down. (1110) This was a surprise, but many believed that the college did not have a large enough future ahead of it to justify Lake Charles making any effort to obtain it.
By the close of the year, the Lake Charles port was recognized as a first class port by the United States Shipping Board. (1111) The port was complimented highly by a member of the board, Mr. W. S. Hill. (1112) A public wharf had been constructed. It was eight hundred and twenty-four feet long and one hundred and eleven feet wide. By the end of the year, the five railroads and three steam ship lines were in touch with the port. (1113)
CORPORATIONS CHARTERED IN 1926
Quincy Lumber Company $1,000,000 Calcasieu Agricultural Credit Corporation $300,000 Lake Charles Rice and Milling Company $300,000 Lake Charles Office Building Company $150,000 L. Seiss Oil Syndicate $87,000 Jones, Malloy, and Foster Farms $100,000 Utopis Oil Company $15,000 Knights of Pithas Hall $10,000 Pelican Oil Company $25,000 Frank and LeBleu Incorporated $20,000 Rex Petroleum Company $50,000 Louisiana Tobacco Society $30,000 Morgan Plan Company $50,000 Barron-Sigler Cyprus Company $10,000 Solar Terra-Scope Company $20,000 Kushner Lumber and Building Company $25,000 Leon Chavanne Real Estate Company $10,000 Massassoit Manufacturing Company Two hundred and twenty thousand of no par value Drysdale-Savoie Oil Company $10,000 Hollins Realty Company $15,000 H. Packman and Company $10,000 Lake Charles Building Material Company $25,000 Calcasieu Oil Company One hundred and twenty thousand share of no par value Milford Furniture Company $40,000 Island Plantation Company $50,000 Lake Charles Stevedores Incorporated $10,000 Ratliff Oil Company $20,000 Newton Development Company $25,000 Louisiana Mortgage Company $525,000 Louisiana Electric Company $400,000
PROMISES FOR A BRILLIANT FUTURE
The mistakes of the past were being carefully obliterated by fine preparations for the future as Lake Charles undertook to gain through water transportation that which she has somewhat foolishly lost by rail. The lesson of the past had been costly, and the embarrassment of the citizens as they watched Port Arthur, Beaumont, and other cities creep past her in population figures had hurt. Yet, those who profit by the mistakes of the past are the ones who eventually gain the greatest success, and such is rapidly proving to be the case with the city of Lake Charles.
Progress seems to be the keynote of every industry as the new era opens. Citizens are building, guided by imagination rather than by experience of the past. Only the future held limitations for the expansion of establishments. The trading limits of the city advanced far beyond the settlements surrounding Lake Charles and was now being extended to foreign countries. With the coming of the first ocean vessel, a new world was opened. New thinking, new spirit, and new business are the substantial foundations of a new city, which will rapidly relegate the old Charleston to the realm of musty memory.
The deep water became more and more a factor in the prosperity of Lake Charles. From the time of the completion of the deep water channel in October 1926, to January 1927, ten ocean going ships, nine cargo carriers, and more than one hundred and fifty ocean going tugs, barges, and oil tankers had come into port Lake Charles. (1114) More than one million barrels of oil from the Urania Field were shipped through the port. (1115) Movement of cotton through the port began in the early part of 1927.(1116) Lake Charles obtained a branch office of the American Rice Export Corporation of New Orleans. (1117) A deputy collector of Revenue was sent to Lake Charles. (1118) In the latter part of June, the first full cargo of rice was shipped from Lake Charles. (1119)
The wharfs, which were to be large enough to suffice for several years, were found to be too small for even the first year. Plans were at once drawn to extend them seven hundred and thirty feet to the west, making them fifteen and fifty-four feet long and one hundred and forty feet wide. (1120) It was thought at this time that they should be five times as large as planned. (1121) The installation of a high density cotton compress made Lake Charles the concentration point for the shipment of cotton from the western part of Louisiana. It was estimated that thirty-five thousand bales a year would be shipped from the city. (1122) In a little longer than a month, the Lake Charles compress was used to compress thirteen thousand one hundred and forty-one bales. (1123) The successful navigation of the Calcasieu River from the Public wharfs to the Long-Bell Lumber Company’s Mill and shipping sheds ten miles up the river assured Goosport of a future when a short time before, it seemed that the end was near. (1124)
Three highways which were apart of the Federal System were now running through Lake Charles. (1125) A highway was started from Lake Charles to Cameron, via Sulphur and Hackberry. The district voted $105,000 and the highway commission was to furnish the rest. (1126) So, another avenue of communication and transportation seemed about to open up.
More rights were secured for the Intercoastal Canal, which would be an artery feeding the new port and a committee was set to work obtaining the rights for the canal between the Atchafalaya and the Calcasieu Rivers. (1127)
A landing field was established to take care of future fliers. (1128)
The railroads now began giving Lake Charles better rates after its recognition as a port by the United States Shipping Board. (1129) It received the benefits of "short hauls" on the railroads to the interior cities. (1130)
Some idea of the amount of shipping going through the new port may be gained by the knowledge that $3,331.16 was collected in custom duties the first year that the port was in operation. (1131)
School enrollment had dropped off again, and there were only two thousand and ten now in public schools. (1132) There was some increase with the beginning of the fall term when two thousand three hundred and ninety four were enrolled. The high school registration figures , however, continued to gain and now showed five hundred and thirty students. (1133) The public schools were relieved of part of the education burden by the building of Landry Memorial School, which opened in the fall. (1134) The school was made possible through the generosity of Mrs. Landry in the memory of her husband.
An intensive drive for new members for the Methodist Episcopal Church South was made during the year. The immediate object was the construction of a new church. (1135)
The people of Lake Charles were thrilled over a telephone conversation between London and Lake Charles in regard to some shipping. (1136)
Many improvements were made during the year. The Majestic Hotel spent $60,000 in remodeling. (1137) Plans were drawn up and the land purchased for the erection of a new $550,000 hotel. (1138) The Enterprise drew up plans to beautify Boulevard Street and Drew Park. (1139) The Arcade started remodeling. (1140) A new fire alarm system was ordered by the city. (1141) The Huber Building was completed. (1142)
The building permits for the year totaled $714,499. The second largest year in this respect in the history of the city. (1143)
The library had increased in size and usefulness. A total of eight thousand one hundred and sixty-four books were now on file. The circulation for the past year had been twenty-seven thousand nine hundred and sixty-nine. Three thousand four hundred and seventy-seven had used the reference room. (1144)
The budget for the City Commissioners increased and a twenty-five mill tax was levied on the citizens. The apportionment of the tax was as follows: Seven mills for the city; three for the schools; special city school tax, six and five-tenths mills; and the remainder went to the parish and state governments. (1145) The $336,000 street paving bond issue was sold and immediate plans were made to pave thirty-five streets. (1146) The five mail projects of the Commissioners were the construction of a concrete coulee to be known as the North Ryan Street Coulee and used for drainage purposes, the building of a municipal baseball, athletic and recreational center, the widening of Bilbo Street between Kirby and Broad Streets, the resurfacing of Ryan Street between Belden and Pithon Coulee, the resurfacing of Hodges and Broad Streets, and the closing of unpaved caps and the paving of other streets where needed. (1147) The Commissioners were urged to clear Ryan Street of wires. (1148)
The budget for the Association of Commerce for the year was $26,998.90. Its aims were the securing of the right of way for the Intracoastal Canal, building of a road to Cameron on the east side of the Calcasieu River, development of barge line service, extension of the city limits, advertising campaign, industrial survey, promoting civic affairs, federal beautification, development of retail and wholesale trade, promoting construction of a new hotel, expansion of public utilities, and enlarged farm program. (1149)
The City health Report of the year was good. The Board recommended that a swimming pool be constructed. (1150)
Another organization made its appearance, the Young Men’s Business League. City extension was the main aim of the league for the year. (1151)
At the close of the year, some encouraging news was heard concerning the fact that New York capital was becoming interested in the mineral possibilities in Calcasieu Parish. (1152) The oil industry was already becoming very important in the parish.
The most beautiful development of the year was the number of Christman trees lighted at the holiday period. More than one hundred and eight were lighted throughout the city, thirty-eight of which were on Ryan Street. Lake Charles was becoming known as the "City of Christmas Cheer." Visitors came from long distances to see the trees and decorations. (1153)
The Postal Receipts for the year were $90,168.60, an increase of $3, 280. 43 over the previous year. (1154)
The progress, which started with the year 1922, was continued in 1928. Every year since that time, something definite had been achieved for Southwest Louisiana. Natural gas was promised for the city at the beginning of the year. (1155) This was very welcome news for it meant the bringing in of more industries. Lake Charles was to be the center of twenty cream stations located in the western part of Louisiana. (1156) Others of many industries promised better times for the city.
Work was begun on the New Intercoastal Canal, which involved an expenditure of $9,000,000. The canal was to be ten feet deep and one hundred feet wide. It had already been completed between the Sabine and the Mississippi with a channel five feet deep and forty feet wide, but the waves of the many lakes through which it passed made it impossible to keep it open. (1157)
Despite the protests of the people, the City Commissioners tabled the resolution to extend the city limits. (1158) The Association of Commerce and the Young Men’s Business League had both declared themselves in favor of the extension. (1159)
Lake Charles had now gained a population of 20,108 according to the City Directory. (1160)
The prosperity of the times was seen in the $11,257,478.55 combined band deposits. (1161)
The Association of Commerce decreased their budget for this year to $21,008. (1162) Forty-eight projects were outlined for the year under six classifications; Industry, Civic Affairs, Commerce, Agriculture, Transportation, and Membership. (1163)
The Young Men’s Business League proposed five projects for the year: New Assessment for equalization of taxation, city bus service to the docks, a new fire alarm system, extension of the sewerage system, and inducements to increase the population of Lake Charles. (1164)
The school system was prospering as the city ranked among the first three in Louisiana in the percentage of students in the high school. (1165)
The new fire alarm system was installed by the city. (1166)
The hotel proposed the preceding year was started and the cost was to be raised to $600,000, and it was to have ten stories instead of eight as first proposed. (1167)
And, with the opening of the year 1928, when Lake Charles seems to be on the verge of becoming a much larger and a much more important city, I will close this history, which I hope may be continued by a better recorder than I have been. I hope that he may like the city as much as I have. In the three years that I have been away from the city, it has become a vista of charming memory, and I am looking forward to the time when I am again making my home in Lake Charles and appreciate more fully the charm and romance of the city that holds such fascination to all who have known her.
1. Americana, First Edition, Vol.17, p.680.
2. Encyclopedia Britannica, 14th Edition, Vol. XI P.61 (Indian).
4. Lake Charles Press, January 6, 1907.
5. Interview with Mrs. A. LeBleu.
6. Lake Charles Press, November 15, 1909.
7. Lake Charles Press, January 6, 1907.
8. Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. X, p.88 (1927).
9. Interview with Elizabeth Mandell.
10. John G. Belisle History of Sabine Parish of Louisiana, p.69.
11. Lake Charles Echo, October 24, 1890.
12. American State Papers, Vol. IV, p.138.
13. Leon Sugar Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. X (1927), p.86.
14. Ibid., p.88.
15. William Henry Perrin, Southwest Louisiana, p. 13.
16. William A. Read, Louisiana Place-Names of Indian Origin, p.15.
17. Ibid., p.15.
18. Perrin, op. cit., pp123-124.
19. Interview with Elizabeth Mandell.
20. Leon Sugar, Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. X (1927) p.86.
21. Perrin, op. cit., p.124.
23. Ibid., p.124-125.
24. Interview with Elizabeth Mandell.
25. Leon Sugar, Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. X (1927) p.90.
26. Perrin, op. cit., p.126.
27. Ibid., p.130.
28. Ibid., P.126.
29. Act 96, Louisiana.
30. Interview with Elizabeth Mandell.
31. Perrin, op. cit., p.131.
32. American Press, October 9, 1917.
33. Lake Charles Press, Special Edition, June 1895.
35. Ibid., January 8, 1914.
37. Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. IX (1926), p.691.
38. Ibid., Vol. IV (1921), p.838.
39. American Press, February 9, 1917.
41. Lake Charles Daily Press, Special Edition, June 1895.
42. Ella Lonn, Reconstruction in Louisiana, pp.532-33.
43. Perrin, op. cit., p.157.
44. Ibid., p. 156.
46. American Press, March 5, 1928.
47. Lake Charles Echo, January 2, 1869.
49. Interview with Elizabeth Mandell.
50. Lake Charles Echo, January, 1876 (exact date not given).
51. Lake Charles Echo, January 20, 1876.
52. Ibid., May 4, 1876.
55. Lake Charles Echo, March 26, 1880.
56. Ibid., March 28, 1878.
57. Lake Charles Echo, October 22, 1879.
59. Ibid., December 20, 1879.
60. Ibid., May 4, 1876.
(61) No footnote given in book.
62. Ibid., July 6, 1877.
63. Ibid., January 4, 1881.
64. Ibid., October 22, 1879.
66. Ibid., January 20, 1876.
67. Ibid., October 22, 1879.
68. Ibid., December 20, 1879.
69. Ibid., May 23, 1878.
70. Ibid., October 22, 1879.
71. Ibid., April 25, 1880.
72. Ibid., January 20, 1876.
74. Ibid., April 2, 1880.
75. Ibid., August 7, 1880.
76. New Orleans Times, August 31, 1880.
77. Lake Charles Echo, October 22, 1880.
78. Ibid., October 22, 1879.
79. Ibid., May 23, 1878.
80. Ibid., July 6, 1877.
81. Ibid., December 20, 1879.
82. Ibid., October 25, 1880.
83. Ibid., April 25, 1880.
84. Ibid., August 7, 1880.
85. Ibid., April 25, 1880.
(86) No footnote given in book.
87. Ibid., August 7, 1880.
89. Ibid., February 11, 1882.
90. Ibid., August 9, 1884.
91. American Press, February 8, 1921.
92. Lake Charles Echo, September 7, 1888.
93. American Press, January 11, 1921.
(94) No footnote given in book.
95. American Press, February 8, 1921.
96. Ibid., May 20, 1912.
97. Perrin, op. cit., p.159.
98. American Press, January 8, 1921.
99. Ibid., February 20, 1912.
100. Lake Charles Echo, March 19, 1881.
101. Ibid., July 2, 1881.
103. Ibid., March 25, 1882.
104. Ibid., January 20, 1882.
105. Ibid., August 9, 1884.
106. Ibid., May 20, 1887.
108. Perrin, op. cit., p.156.
109. Ibid., p. 141.
110. Lake Charles Echo, July 20, 1996.
111. Ibid., November 9, 1888.
112. Ibid., October 8, 1881.
113. Lake Charles Echo, October 8, 1881.
114. Ibid., August 20, 1881.
115. Ibid., January 20, 1882.
116. Perrin, op. cit., p.148.
117. Lake Charles Echo, August 9, 1884.
119. Ibid., July 2, 1887.
120. Ibid., September 7, 1888.
121. Ibid., August 9, 1889.
122. Ibid., March 19, 1881.
124. Ibid., July 2, 1881.
126. Ibid., January 20, 1882.
128. Ibid., January 20, 1882.
130. Ibid., January 20, 1882.
131. Ibid., March 19, 1881.
132. Ibid., February 11, 1882.
133. Ibid., March 25, 1882.
135. Ibid., February 11, 1882.
136. Ibid., August 4, 1884.
137. Ibid., August 6, 1886.
138. Ibid., July 20, 1886.
139. Ibid., August 17, 1888.
140. Ibid., July 12, 1889.
141. Ibid., August 9, 1884.
142. American Press, January 2, 1928.
143. Lake Charles Commercial, January 16, 1886.
144. Lake Charles Echo, October 20, 1886.
145. Ibid., August 9, 1884.
147. Ibid., September 14, 1888.
148. American Wool, Cotton, and Financial Reporter, Boston, Mass. Oct. 30, 1890.
149. This figure exaggerated the population, only 3,442 at time.
150. Lake Charles American, October 28, 1890.
151. Perrin, op. cit., p. 151.
152. Lake Charles American, Dec. 30, 1891.
153. Lake Charles Press, Jan. 17, 1906.
154. Lake Charles American, May 6, 1892.
155. Ibid., July 5, 1894.
156. Perrin, op. cit., p. 140.
158. Lake Charles American, May 6, 1892.
159. About the time a write-up was given in the of the birthday party of Master Alton Foster, who later became the president of the world’s largest rice mill, located in Lake Charles at the present time.
160. Lake Charles American, May 16, 1899.
161. Perrin, op. cit., p.147.
162. Lake Charles American, June 1, 1895.
163. Ibid., September 18, 1897.
164. Ibid., April 11, 1899.
165. Ibid., September 22, 1899.
167. Perrin, op. cit., p. 148-149.
168. Lake Charles American, Sept. 8, 1897.
169. Ibid., June 1, 1895.
170. Ibid., February 10, 1894.
172. Ibid., January 18, 1895.
173. Ibid., February 26, 1890.
175. Ibid., April 4, 1891.
176. Ibid., August 14, 1897.
177. Ibid., August 10, 1897.
178. Ibid., April 4, 1899.
179. Ibid., December 18, 1899.
180. Ibid., February 20, 1899.
182. Ibid., March 2, 1899.
183. Ibid., July 1, 1899.
184. Ibid., February 26, 1890.
185. Ibid., April 4, 1891.
186. Ibid., October 28, 1892.
187. Ibid., May 6, 1892.
188. Ibid., February 12, 1904.
189. Ibid., March 25, 1899.
190. Ibid., May 5, 1894.
191. Ibid., July 5, 1894.
192. Ibid., April 4, 1891.
193. Ibid., September 6, 1896.
194. Ibid., March 23, 1898.
195. Ibid., April 11, 1899.
196. Ibid., February 13, 1899.
197. Ibid., February 14, 1889.
198. Ibid., February 16, 1899.
199. Ibid., February 20, 1899.
200. Ibid., February 14, 1899.
201. Ibid., November 3, 1899.
202. Ibid., March 29, 1899.
203. Ibid., November 18, 1899.
204. Ibid., September 27, 1899.
205. Ibid., February 12, 1899.
206. Ibid., July 10, 1899.
207. Ibid., March 6, 1899.
208. Ibid., July 2, 1899.
209. Lake Charles Press, June 27, 1911.
210. Lake Charles American, September 21, 1911.
211. Ibid., August 3, 1899.
212. Ibid., November 30, 1899.
213. Ibid., December 18, 1899.
214. Ibid., December 18, 1901.
215. Ibid., May 4, 1904.
216. Ibid., October 12, 1904.
217. Ibid., January 14, 1903.
218. Ibid., April 13, 1903.
220. Ibid., May 15, 1901.
221. Ibid., May 17, 1901.
222. Ibid., June 1, 1903.
223. Ibid., April 6, 1903.
224. Ibid., April 23, 1903.
225. Ibid., September 21, 1903.
226. Ibid., May 13, 2903.
227. Ibid., July 15, 1903.
228. Ibid., June 11, 1903.
229. Ibid., September 21, 1903.
230. Ibid., February 12, 1904.
231. Ibid., August 30, 1904.
232. Ibid., September 2, 1904.
234. Ibid., December 24, 1904.
235. Ibid., June 16, 1901.
236. Ibid., October 13, 1901.
237. Ibid., December 31, 1901.
238. Ibid., January 7, 1903.
239. Ibid., January 31, 1903.
240. Ibid., March 13, 1903.
241. Ibid., September 29, 1903.
242. Ibid., July 15, 1903.
243. Ibid., August 5, 1903.
244. Ibid., September 16, 1903.
245. Ibid., November 13, 1903.
246. Ibid., November 6, 1903.
247. Ibid., December 1, 1903.
248. Ibid., December 28, 1903.
249. Ibid., January 6, 1903.
250. Ibid., January 12, 1903.
251. Ibid., January 13, 1904.
252. Ibid., April 13, 1904.
253. Ibid., May 4, 1904.
254. Ibid., April 17, 1904.
255. Ibid., July 16, 1904.
256. Ibid., February 20, 1904.
257. Ibid., April 13, 1904.
258. Ibid., February 17, 1904.
259. Ibid., April 26, 1904.
260. Ibid., April 29, 1904.
261. Ibid., July 16, 1904.
162. Ibid., December 17, 1904.
263. Ibid., March 7, 1904.
264. Ibid., May 21, 1904.
265. Ibid., April 12, 1904.
266. Ibid., May 22, 1904.
267. Ibid., September 23, 1903.
268. Ibid., January 14, 1903.
269. Ibid., January 24, 1903.
271. Ibid., February 4, 1903.
272. Ibid., February 5, 1903.
273. Ibid., February 10, 1903.
274. Ibid., February 10, 1903.
275. Ibid., April 11, 1903.
276. Ibid., April 16, 1903.
277. Ibid., April 24, 1903.
278. Ibid., May 13, 1903.
279. Ibid., May 23, 1903.
280. Ibid., June 16, 1903.
281. Ibid., August 5, 1903.
282. Ibid., October 15, 1903.
283. Ibid., September 7, 1903.
284. Ibid., July 14, 1904.
285. Ibid., December 20, 1904.
286. .Ibid., June 2, 1901.
287. Part of this land is still owned by the library and lies directly west of the building. It is a very valuable piece of property.
288. Lake Charles American, June 23, 1901.
289. Ibid., October 8, 1903.
290. Ibid., September 23, 1903.
291. Ibid., April 16, 1903.
292. Ibid., September 5, 1903.
293. Ibid., September 8, 1903.
294. Ibid., October 9, 1903.
295. Ibid., February 6, 1904.
296. Ibid., February 12, 1904.
297. Ibid., March 5, 1904.
298. Ibid., February 10, 1904.
299. Ibid., March 8, 1904.
300. Ibid., April 3, 1904.
301. Ibid., June 24, 1904.
302. Ibid., May 7, 1904.
303. Ibid., August 19, 1904.
304. Ibid., April 11, 1901.
305. Ibid., October 31, 1901.
306. Ibid., April 11, 1901.
307. Ibid., May 20, 1901.
308. Ibid., June 25, 1903.
309. Ibid., November 27, 1903.
310. Ibid., November 13, 1904.
311. Ibid., October 31, 1901.
312. Ibid., October 27, 1901.
313. Ibid., April 15, 1901.
314. Ibid., July 5, 1903.
315. Ibid., October 29, 1903.
317. Ibid., September 1, 1904.
318. Ibid., December 24, 1904.
320. Ibid., April 19, 1901.
321. Ibid., November 7, 1901.
322. Ibid., December 8, 1901.
323. Ibid., May 29, 1901.
324. Ibid., January 28, 1903.
325. Ibid., April 15, 1903.
327. Ibid., June 6, 1903.
328. Ibid., July 15, 1903.
329. Ibid., September 3, 1903.
330. Ibid., June 1, 1903.
331. Ibid., September 16, 1903.
333. Ibid., October 20, 1903.
334. Ibid., November 28, 1903.
335. Ibid., December 11, 1903.
336. Ibid., March 6, 1903.
337. Ibid., March 31, 1903.
338. Ibid., April 9, 1903.
339. Ibid., May 4, 1903.
340. Ibid., May 21, 1903.
341. Ibid., May 23, 1903.
342. Ibid., June 19, 1903.
343. Ibid., June 30, 1903.
346. Ibid., October 29, 1903.
347. Ibid., November 3, 1903.
348. Ibid., November 24, 1903.
349. Ibid., December 15, 1903.
350. Ibid., January 15, 1904.
351. Ibid., February 24, 1904.
352. Ibid., March 22, 1904.
353. Ibid., May 31, 1904.
354. Ibid., June 7, 1904.
355. Ibid., June 19, 1904.
356. Ibid., June 24, 1904.
357. Ibid., July 6, 1904.
358. Ibid., May 5, 1904.
359 Ibid., August 12, 1903.
360. Ibid., June 4, 1903.
361. Ibid., October 24, 1903.
362. Ibid., December 14, 1903.
363. Ibid., January 9, 1903.
364. Ibid., June 3, 1903.
365. Ibid., July 25, 1905.
367. Ibid., August 3, 1905.
370. Ibid., August 4, 1905.
371. Ibid., July 25, 1905.
372. Ibid., August 23, 1905.
373. Ibid., August 4, 1905.
374. Ibid., July 25, 1905.
375. Ibid., August 18, 1905.
377. Ibid., April 21, 1914.
378. Ibid., June 7, 1905.
379. Ibid., July 12, 1905.
380. Ibid., May 29, 1905.
381. Ibid., July 6, 1905.
382. Ibid., July 12, 1905.
383. Ibid., April 8, 1905.
395. Ibid., April 13, 1905.
386. Ibid., May 29, 1905.
388. Ibid., June 26, 1905.
389. Ibid., July 20, 1905.
391. Ibid., July 8, 1905.
392. Ibid., July 20, 1905.
393. Ibid., February 7, 1906.
395. Ibid., April 2, 1906.
396. Lake Charles Daily Press, January 2, 1906.
397. Ibid., January 20, 1906.
398. Lake Charles American, June 12, 1906.
399. Lake Charles Daily Press, July 29, 1906.
400. Lake Charles American, November 7, 1906.
401. Lake Charles Daily Press, August 19, 1906.
402. Ibid., May 13, 1907.
403. Lake Charles American, October 11, 1907.
404. Lake Charles Daily Press, February 17, 1907.
405. Lake Charles American, November 23, 1906.
406. Ibid., October 2, 1907.
407. Ibid., May 17, 1906.
408. Ibid., December 19, 1906.
409. Lake Charles Daily Press, July 12, 1907.
410. Lake Charles American, November 23, 1907.
412. Ibid., October 23, 1907.
413. Ibid., November 21, 1907.
415. Ibid., December 3, 1907.
416. Ibid., November 28, 1907.
417. Ibid., December 18, 1907.
418. Ibid., October 2, 1906.
419. Lake Charles Daily Press, January 3, 1906.
420. Ibid., February 10, 1906.
421. Lake Charles American, March 3, 1906.
422. Ibid., March 18, 1906.
423. Ibid., October 29, 1906.
424. Ibid., October 5, 1906.
425. Ibid., April 10, 1906.
426. Lake Charles Daily Press, January 14, 1906.
427. Ibid., March 21, 1907.
428. Ibid., May 8, 1907.
429. Ibid., September 6, 1907.
430. Lake Charles American, October 15, 1906.
432. Ibid., December 8, 1906.
433. Lake Charles Daily Press, May 31, 1907.
434. Lake Charles American, October 16, 1907.
435. Ibid., April 17, 1906.
436.Ibid., July 14, 1906.
437.Ibid., October 2, 1907.
438. Ibid., November 9, 1907.
439. Ibid., October 15, 1906.
440. Ibid., November 23, 1906.
441. Ibid., November 8, 1906.
442. Lake Charles Daily, January 4, 1907.
443. Ibid., February 23, 1907.
444. Ibid., July 27, 1907.
445. Ibid., July 3, 1907.
446. Ibid., September 10, 1907.
447. Lake Charles American, November 6, 1907.
448. Ibid., November 2, 1900.
449. Lake Charles Daily Press, July 24, 1907.
450. Ibid., August 9, 1907.
452. Ibid., November 7, 1907.
453. Ibid., January 20, 1907.
454. Ibid., January 26, 1907.
456. Ibid., January 29, 1907.
457. Ibid., April 17, 1907.
458. Ibid., April 27, 1907.
459. Ibid., January 1, 1906.
460. Ibid., February 15, 1907.
461. Ibid., January 3, 1906.
462. Ibid., January 19, 1906.
463. Lake Charles American, March 30, 1906.
464. Ibid., October 15, 1906.
465. Lake Charles Daily Press, January 17, 1906.
466. Lake Charles American, May 25, 1906.
468. Lake Charles Daily Press, February 11, 1907.
469. Ibid., August 8, 1906.
470. Lake Charles American, October 2, 1906.
471. Lake Charles Daily Press, July 12, 1907.
472. Ibid., July 31, 1907.
473. Ibid., August 5, 1907.
474. Ibid., February 11, 1907.
475. Ibid., March 7, 1907.
476. Ibid., August 10, 1907.
477. Lake Charles American, December 15, 1907.
478. Lake Charles Daily Press, January 3, 1906.
479. Lake Charles American, May 25, 1906.
480. Ibid., October 2, 1906.
482. Lake Charles Daily Press, October 9, 1906.
483. Lake Charles American, November 17, 1906.
484. Lake Charles Daily Press, January 17, 1906.
485. Ibid., July 2, 1907.
486. Ibid., August 12, 1907.
487. Ibid., August 30, 1907.
488. Lake Charles American, October 31, 1907.
489. Ibid., October 29, 1907.
490. Lake Charles Daily Press, February 1, 1906.
491. Lake Charles American, May 17, 1906.
492. Ibid., October 12, 1906.
493. Lake Charles Daily Press, March 5, 1907.
494. Ibid., April 19, 1907.
495. Ibid., July 21, 1907.
496. Ibid., August 7, 1907.
497. Ibid., September 5, 1907.
498. Lake Charles American, November 16, 1907.
499. Lake Charles Daily Press, February 1, 1906.
500. Ibid., October 12, 1906.
501. Lake Charles American, December 6, 1906.
502. Ibid., May 18, 1906.
503. Ibid., October 31, 1906.
504. Lake Charles Daily Press, February 6, 1907
505. Ibid., April 12, 1907.
506. Lake Charles American, April 10, 1906.
507. Ibid., October 2, 1906.
508. Lake Charles Daily Press, August 3, 1906.
509. Lake Charles American, December 6, 1906.
510. Lake Charles Daily Press, March 24, 1907.
511. Ibid., May 1, 1907.
512. Ibid., July 19, 1907.
513. Lake Charles American, November 15, 1907.
514. Ibid., November 11, 1907.
515. Ibid., November 21, 1907.
516. Ibid., March 8, 1907.
517. Ibid., March 3, 1906.
518. Ibid., March 15, 1906.
519. Ibid., April 23, 1906.
520. Ibid., March 8, 1906.
521. Lake Charles Daily Press, January 3, 1906.
522. Ibid., September 1, 1906.
523. Lake Charles American, October 15, 1906.
524. Ibid., December 8, 1906.
526. Ibid., July 6, 1907.
527. Ibid., June 22, 1907.
528. Ibid., September 18, 1907.
529. Ibid., November 13, 1907.
530. Ibid., October 31, 1907.
531. Ibid., December 4, 1907.
532. Ibid., October 24, 1907.
533. Ibid., October 26, 1907.
535. Ibid., December 6, 1907.
536. Ibid., October 12, 1907.
539. Ibid., October 27, 1907.
540. Ibid., October 10, 1907.
542. Ibid., October 29, 1907.
543. Ibid., October 30, 1907.
544. Lake Charles Daily Press, April 10, 1907.
545. Ibid., July 6, 1907.
547. Lake Charles American, January 6, 1907.
548. Ibid., November 13, 1907.
549. Ibid., November 5, 1907.
550. Ibid., April 4, 1906.
551. Lake Charles Daily Press, July 26, 1906.
552. Ibid., January 9, 1907.
553. Ibid., January 11, 1907.
554. Ibid., March 17, 1907.
555. Ibid., May 3, 1907.
556. Ibid., July 2, 1907.
557. Ibid., July 17, 1907.
559. Ibid., September 2, 1907.
562. Lake Charles American, December 18, 1907.
563. Lake Charles Daily Press, July 24, 1907.
564. Lake Charles American, October 2, 1906.
565. Ibid., December 8, 1906.
566. Ibid., December 1, 1909.
571. Ibid., October 6, 1909.
572. Ibid., October 21, 1909.
575. Ibid., October 23, 1909.
576. Ibid., October 8, 1909.
577. Lake Charles Daily, June 25, 1909.
578. Ibid., May 5, 1909.
579. Lake Charles American, January 11, 1908.
580. Ibid., September 4, 1908.
581. Ibid., September 30, 1908.
582. Ibid., September 28, 1908.
583. Ibid., January 11, 1908.
584. Ibid., September 28, 1908.
585. Ibid., September 5, 1908.
586. Ibid., September 3, 1908.
588. Ibid., July 18, 1908.
589 Ibid., August 10, 1908.
590. Ibid., August 27, 1908.
591. Ibid., September 5, 1908.
592. Ibid., September 16, 1908.
593. Ibid., September 9, 1908.
594. Ibid., September 16, 1908.
595. Ibid., September 25, 1908.
596. Ibid., November 3, 1908.
597. Ibid., October 2, 1909.
598. Ibid., March 15, 1909.
599. Ibid., November 25, 1909.
600. Ibid., November 10, 1908.
601. Ibid., November 25, 1909.
603. Ibid., March 9, 1908.
604. Ibid., June 12, 1909.
605. Ibid., March 9, 1908.
606. Ibid., January 3, 1908.
607. Ibid., February 18, 1908.
608. Ibid., February 1, 1908.
609. Ibid., March 17, 1908.
610. Lake Charles Daily, April 14, 1908.
611. Ibid., May 26, 1909.
612. Lake Charles American, August 6, 1908.
613. Ibid., September 5, 1908.
614. Lake Charles Daily Press, April 25, 1908.
615. Lake Charles American, July 8, 1908.
616. Ibid., July 17, 1908.
617. Ibid., July 18, 1908.
618. Ibid., July 18, 1908.
619. Ibid., June 22, 1908.
620. Ibid., September 4. 1907.
621. Ibid., July 29, 1908.
622. Ibid., September 5, 1908.
623. Ibid., October 6, 1908.
624. Ibid., March 3, 1909.
625. Ibid., November 5, 1909.
628. Lake Charles Daily Press, April 15, 1909.
629. Ibid., May 6, 1909.
630. Lake Charles American, February 3, 1909.
631. Ibid., October 26, 1909.
632. Lake Charles Daily Press, August 10, 1909.
633. Ibid., August 14, 1909.
634. Ibid., April 24, 1909.
635. Ibid., April 7, 1909.
636. Lake Charles American, January 31, 1908.
637. Ibid., March 19, 1908.
638. Ibid., March 2, 1909.
639. Ibid., November 5, 1908.
640. Ibid., September 9, 1908.
641. Lake Charles Daily Press, November 4, 1908.
642. Ibid., May 12, 1909.
643. Ibid., May 21, 1909.
644. Ibid., April 3, 1909.
645. Ibid., August 14, 1909.
646. Ibid., April 21, 1909.
647. Ibid., April 21, 1909.
648. Lake Charles American, December 29, 1909.
649. Lake Charles Daily, April 6, 1909.
650. Ibid., June 6, 1909.
651. Lake Charles American, November 22, 1909.
652. Ibid., October 19, 1909.
653. Ibid., November 15, 1909.
654. Lake Charles Daily, April 20, 1909.
655. Lake Charles American, March 6, 1909.
656. Lake Charles Daily, July 17, 1909.
657. Lake Charles American, December 17, 1909.
658. Ibid., October 16, 1909.
659. Ibid., December 4, 1909.
660. Ibid., December 13, 1909.
661. Lake Charles Daily, July 2, 1909.
662. Lake Charles American, December 13, 1909.
663. Ibid., December 2, 1909.
664. Lake Charles Daily, June 9, 1909.
665. Lake Charles American, December 17, 1909.
666. American Press, January 10, 1910.
667. Ibid., January 13, 1910.
668. Ibid., January 15, 1910.
669. Ibid., March 12, 1910.
670. Ibid., January 20, 1910.
671. Ibid., January 24, 1910.
672. Ibid., February 16, 1910.
673. Ibid., April 16, 1910.
674. Ibid., May 6, 1910.
675. Ibid., May 12, 1910.
676. Ibid., May 31, 1910.
678. Ibid., April 25, 1910.
679. Ibid., May 4, 1910.
680. Ibid., May 10, 1910.
681. Ibid., July 15, 1910.
682. Ibid., October 7, 1910.
683. Ibid., October 12, 1910.
684. Ibid., October 18, 1910.
685. Ibid., November 18, 1910.
686. Ibid., December 10, 1910.
687. Ibid., January 15, 1910.
688. Ibid., March 30, 1910.
689. Ibid., April 8, 1910.
690. Ibid., April 15, 1910.
691. Ibid., May 20, 1910.
692. Ibid., April 22, 1910.
693. Ibid., April 1(?), 1910.
694. Ibid., April 7, 1910.
695. Ibid., April 26, 1910.
696. Ibid., May 23, 1910.
697. Ibid., July 8, 1910.
698. Ibid., July 12, 1910.
699. Ibid., July 19, 1910.
700. Ibid., July 29, 1910.
701. Ibid., November 24, 1910.
702. Ibid., August 4, 1910.
703. Ibid., August 20, 1910.
704. Ibid., December 27, 1910.
705. Ibid., December 12, 1910.
706. Ibid., December 21, 1910.
707. Ibid., January 5, 1911.
708. Ibid., January 6, 1911.
709. Ibid., January 7, 1911.
710. Ibid., January 14, 1911.
711. Ibid., February 4, 1911.
712. Ibid., March 21, 1911.
713. Ibid., April 4, 1911.
715. Ibid., August 2, 1911.
716. Ibid., August 9, 1911.
717. Ibid., September 14, 1911.
718. Ibid., October 4, 1911.
719. Ibid., October 5, 1911.
720. Ibid., November 3, 1911.
721. Ibid., January 23, 1911.
722. Ibid., January 24, 1911.
723. Ibid., January 31, 1911.
724. Ibid., February 2, 1911.
725. Ibid., April 12, 1911.
726. Ibid., April 1, 1911.
727. Ibid., May 11, 1911.
728. Ibid., June 20, 1911.
729. Ibid., September 14, 1911.
730. Ibid., October 30, 1911.
731. Ibid., April 20, 1911.
732. Ibid., March 16, 1911.
733. Ibid., June 28, 1911.
734. Ibid., February 25, 1911.
735. Ibid., February 18, 1911.
736. Ibid., March 16, 1911.
737. Ibid., March21, 1911.
738. Ibid., June 27, 1911.
739. Ibid., July 11, 1911.
740. Ibid., December 24, 1911.
741. Ibid., March 4, 1911.
742. Ibid., June 27, 1911.
747. Ibid., June 28, 1911.
748. Ibid., June 28, 1911.
750. Ibid., December 13, 1911.
751. Ibid., January 4, 1912.
752. Ibid., September 4, 1912.
753. Ibid., November 5, 1912.
754. Ibid., March 5, 1912.
755. Ibid., April 25, 1912.
756. Ibid., August 29, 1912.
757. Ibid., January 6, 1912.
758. Ibid., January 26, 1912.
759. Ibid., March 6, 1912.
760. Ibid., April 6, 1912.
761. Ibid., April 9, 1912.
764. Ibid., May 4, 1912.
765. Ibid., July 23, 1912.
766. Ibid., July 2, 1912.
767. Ibid., August 20, 1912.
768. Ibid., December 18, 1912.
769. Ibid., January 27, 1914.
770. Ibid., July 10, 1913.
771. Ibid., June 3, 1913.
772. Ibid., June, 1913.
773. Ibid., September 27, 1913.
775. Ibid., October 27, 1913.
776. Ibid., November 6, 1913.
777. Ibid., December 23, 1913.
778. Ibid., October 30, 1913.
779. Ibid., January 2, 1913.
780. Ibid., July 2, 1913.
781. Ibid., December 22, 1913.
782. Ibid., February 1, 1913.
784. Ibid., June 13, 1913.
785. Ibid., September 23, 1913.
787. Ibid., February 24, 1913.
788. Ibid., February 25, 1913.
790. Ibid., March 1, 1913.
792. Ibid., August 1, 1913.
793. Ibid., October 6, 1913.
794. Ibid., April 1, 1913.
804. Ibid., January 1, 1914.
807. Ibid., April 22, 1914.
808. Ibid., May 12, 1914.
809. Ibid., September 1, 1914.
810. Ibid., September 4, 1914.
811. Ibid., October 30, 1914.
812. Ibid., January 23, 1914.
813. Ibid., October 29, 1914.
814. Ibid., August 3, 1914.
815. Ibid., August 8, 1914.
816. Ibid., August 31, 1914.
817. Ibid., September 28, 1914.
818. Ibid., October 14, 1914.
819. Ibid., November 23, 1914.
820. Ibid., December 8, 1914.
821. Ibid., December 30, 1914.
822. Ibid., January 29, 1914.
823. Ibid., February 25, 1914.
824. Ibid., November 23, 1914.
825. Ibid., October 14, 1914.
826. Ibid., January 31, 1914.
827. Ibid., March 3, 1914.
828. Ibid., April 8, 1914.
829. Ibid., October 6, 1914.
830. Ibid., November 3, 1914.
831. Ibid., April 1, 1914.
832. Ibid., May 12, 1914.
833. Ibid., May 18, 1914.
834. Ibid., July 24, 1914.
835. Ibid., October 1, 1914.
836. Ibid., December 8, 1914.
837. Ibid., April 3, 1914.
838. Ibid., April 16, 1914.
839. Ibid., May 29, 1914.
840. Ibid., July 22, 1914.
841. Ibid., May 20, 1914.
843. Ibid., March 17, 1914.
844. Ibid., January 1, 1915.
845. Ibid., April 10, 1915.
846. Ibid., June 12, 1915.
847. Ibid., July 1, 1915.
848. Ibid., September 10, 1915.
849. Ibid., January 8, 1915.
850. Ibid., March 5, 1915.
851. Ibid., March 18, 1915.
852. Ibid., June 22, 1915.
853. Ibid., December 31, 1915.
854. Ibid., December 7, 1915.
855. Ibid., December 31, 1915.
856. Ibid., January 7, 1915.
857. Ibid., February 9, 1915.
858. Ibid., January 14, 1915.
859. Ibid., May 18, 1915.
860. Ibid., June 2, 1915.
861. Ibid., August 7, 1915.
862. Ibid., January 20, 1915.
863. Ibid., November 19, 1916.
864. Ibid., November 11, 1915.
865. Ibid., April 27, 1915.
866. Ibid., May 15, 1915.
867. Ibid., April 14, 1915.
868. Ibid., August 12, 1915.
869. Ibid., September 20, 1915.
870. Ibid., October 26, 1915.
871. Ibid., November 5, 1915.
872. Ibid., July 30, 1915.
874. Ibid., October 23, 1915.
875. Ibid., January 11, 1915.
876. Ibid., Jan 20, 1915.
877. Ibid., January 13, 1915.
878. Ibid., February 11, 1915.
879. Ibid., March 18, 1915.
880. Ibid., June 14, 1915.
881. Ibid., October 5, 1915.
882. Ibid., October 16, 1915.
884. Ibid., November 12, 1915.
885. Ibid., June 2, 1915.
886. Ibid., May 26, 1915.
887. Ibid., September 21, 1915.
888. Ibid., June 3, 1915.
889. Ibid., August 2, 1915.
890. Ibid., December 27, 1915.
892. Ibid., February 12, 1916.
893. Ibid., January 1, 1916.
894. Ibid., January 21, 1916.
895. Ibid., January 3, 1916.
896. Ibid., January 19, 1916.
897. Ibid., January 22, 1916.
898. Ibid., January 10, 1916.
899. Ibid., July 27, 1916.
900. Ibid., August 19, 1916.
901. Ibid., August 11, 1916.
902. Ibid., August 26, 1916.
903. Ibid., August 17, 1916.
904. Ibid., June 13, 1916.
905. Ibid., June 27, 1916.
906. Ibid., June 28, 1916.
907. Ibid., May 3, 1916.
908. Ibid., November 11, 1916.
910. Ibid., October 16, 1917.
911. Ibid., October 2. 1917.
912. Ibid., October 1, 1917.
913. Ibid., November 10, 1917.
914. Ibid., October 24, 1917.
915. Ibid., October 26, 1917.
916. Ibid., October 27, 1917.
917. Ibid., November 1, 1917.
918. Ibid., November 9, 1017.
919. Ibid., February 8, 1918.
920. Ibid., February 14, 1918.
921. Ibid., March 19, 1918.
922. Ibid., June 27, 1918.
923. Ibid., January 16, 1918.
924. Ibid., May 16, 1918.
925. Ibid., June 21, 1918.
926. American Press, September 13, 1918.
927. Ibid., October 19, 1918.
928. Ibid., January 21, 1918.
929. Ibid., February 14, 1918.
930. Ibid., March 19, 1918.
931. American Press, April 20, 1918.
932. Ibid., June 1, 1918.
933. Ibid., July 7, 1918.
934. Ibid., April 16, 1918.
935. Ibid., May 6, 1918.
936. Ibid., June 15, 1918.
937. Ibid., August 15, 1918.
938. Ibid., October 19, 1918.
939. Ibid., April 3, 1918.
940. Ibid., August 15, 1918.
941. Ibid., August 29, 1918.
942. Ibid., August 6, 1918.
943. Ibid., June 3, 1918.
944. Ibid., September 13, 1918.
945. Ibid., July 6, 1918.
946. Ibid., October 10, 1918.
947. Ibid., June 2, 1919.
948. Ibid., July 23, 1919.
949. Ibid., August 12, 1919.
950. Ibid., April 22, 1919.
951. Ibid., May 10, 1919.
952. Ibid., May 14, 1919.
953. Ibid., May 29, 1919.
954. Ibid., June 2, 1919.
957. Ibid., May 2, 1919.
958. Ibid., June 2, 1919.
959. Ibid., July 2, 1919.
960. Ibid., July 25, 1919.
961. Ibid., August 20, 1919.
962. Ibid., December 4, 1919.
964. Ibid., February 2, 1920.
966. Ibid., January 13, 1920.
967. Ibid., February 4, 1920.
968. Ibid., March 30, 1920.
970. Ibid., February 9, 1920.
971. Ibid., February 4, 1920.
972. Ibid., April 1, 1920.
973. Ibid., July 14, 1920.
975. Ibid., August 23, 1920.
977. Ibid., June 23, 1920.
978. Ibid., May 15, 1920.
979. Ibid., September 1, 1920.
980. Ibid., September 11, 1920.
981. Ibid., October 20, 1920.
982. Ibid., October 23, 1920.
983. Ibid., December 31, 1920.
986. Ibid., January 6, 1921.
987. Ibid., November 8, 1921.
988. Ibid., May 9, 1920.
989. Ibid., January 5, 1921.
990. Ibid., February 2, 1921.
991. Ibid., November 11, 1921.
992. Ibid., January 6, 1921.
993. Ibid., January 11, 1921.
994. Ibid., April 20, 1921.
995. Ibid., January 11, 1921.
996. Ibid., April 20, 1921.
997. Ibid., June 29, 1921.
999. Ibid., February 9, 1921.
1000. Ibid., February 9, 1921.
1001. Ibid., February 22, 1921.
1002. Ibid., April 20, 1921.
1003. Ibid., May 23, 1921.
1004. Ibid., May 23, 1921.
1005. Ibid., December 6, 1922.
1006. Ibid., February 9, 1922.
1007. Ibid., November 16, 1922.
1008. Ibid., November 18, 1922.
1009. Ibid., August 9, 1922.
1011. Ibid., June 18, 1922.
1012. Ibid., June 13, 1922.
1014. Ibid., June 20, 1922.
1015. Ibid., November 18, 1922.
1016. Ibid., December 5, 1922.
1017. Ibid., April 19, 1922.
1018. Ibid., February 24, 1923.
1020. Ibid., April 2, 1923.
1021. Ibid., June 5, 1923.
1022. Ibid., July 9, 1023.
1023. Ibid., October 8, 1923.
1024. Ibid., February 21, 1923.
1025. Ibid., May 15, 1923.
1026. Ibid., June 15, 1923.
1027. Ibid., Feb 24, 1923.
1028. Ibid., May 23, 1923.
1029. Ibid., October 29, 1923.
1033. Ibid., January 17, 1924.
1035. Ibid., February 2, 1924.
1037. Ibid., March 26, 1924.
1038. Ibid., September 16, 1924.
1039. Ibid., November 22, 1924.
1041. Ibid., February 15, 1924.
1042. Ibid., July 23, 1924.
1044. Ibid., April 8, 1924.
1045. Ibid., July 23, 1924.
1046. Ibid., July 23, 1924.
1047. Ibid., August 1, 1924.
1049. Ibid., September 19, 1924.
1050. Ibid., November 18, 1924.
1051. Ibid., March 4, 1924.
1053. Ibid., August 1, 1924.
1054. Ibid., December 26, 1924.
1056. Ibid., December 30, 1924.
1058. Ibid., October 21, 1924.
1059. Ibid., April 3, 1924.
1060. Ibid., January 21, 1924.
1061. Ibid., January 16, 1925.
1062. Ibid., May 12, 1925.
1063. Ibid., January 4, 1925.
1064. Ibid., July 18, 1925.
1065. Ibid., December 30, 1925.
1066. Ibid., April 4, 1925.
1067. Ibid., December 30, 1925.
1068. Ibid., March 17, 1925.
1069. Ibid., July 28, 1925.
1071. Ibid. August 4, 1925.
1072. Ibid., August 25, 1925.
1073. Ibid., October 8, 1925.
1074. Ibid., April 1, 1925.
1075. Ibid., December 1, 1925.
1076. Ibid., December 2, 1925.
1077. Ibid., December 1, 1925.
1078. Ibid., February 20, 1925.
1079. Ibid., September 19, 1925.
1080. Ibid., April 1, 1925.
1081. Ibid., January 2, 1926.
1083. Ibid., January 11, 1926.
1084. Ibid., February 2, 1926.
1086. Ibid., April 6, 1926.
1087. Ibid., July 29, 1926.
1089. Ibid., September 15, 1926.
1090. Ibid., April 2, 1926.
1091. Ibid., November 15, 1926.
1092. Ibid., November 20, 1926.
1093. Ibid., November 25, 1926.
1096. Ibid., October 15, 1926.
1097. Ibid., July 17, 1926.
1098. Ibid., February 2, 1926.
1099. Ibid., February 15, 1926.
1100. Ibid., May 14, 1926.
1101. Ibid., April 8, 1926.
1102. Ibid., August 20, 1926.
1103. Ibid., August 25, 1926.
1104. Ibid., July 17, 1926.
1105. Ibid., July 16, 1926.
1106. Ibid., December 7, 1926.
1107. Ibid., December 3, 1926.
1109. Ibid., June 4, 1926.
1110. Ibid., November 19, 1926.
1111. Ibid., November 15, 1926.
1112. Ibid., October 25, 1926.
1113. Ibid., December 22, 1926.
1114. Ibid., January 1, 1927.
1115. Ibid., January 24, 1927.
1116. Ibid., February 11, 1927.
1117. Ibid., January 22, 1927.
1118. Ibid., March 2, 1927.
1119. Ibid., June 27, 1927.
1120. Ibid., July 1, 1927.
1122. Ibid., August 10, 1927.
1123. Ibid., September 17, 1927.
1124. Ibid., April 11, 1927.
1125. Ibid., January 28, 1927.
1126. Ibid., December 23, 1927.
1127. Ibid., January 22, 1927.
1128. Ibid., March 1, 1927.
1129. Ibid., November 29, 1927.
1131. Ibid., December 10, 1927.
1132. Ibid., June 9, 1927.
1133. Ibid., August 27, 1927.
1134. Ibid., June 22, 1927.
1135. Ibid., March 2, 1927.
1136. Ibid., February 21, 1927.
1137. Ibid., January 6, 1927.
1138. Ibid., April 1, 1927.
1139. Ibid., April 14, 1927.
1140. Ibid., August 20, 1927.
1141. Ibid., July 11, 1927.
1142. Ibid., July 30, 1927.
1143. Ibid., December 31, 1927.
1144. Ibid., February 12, 1927.
1145. Ibid., October 17, 1927.
1146. Ibid., April 5, 1927.
1147. Ibid., November 28, 1927.
1148. Ibid., January 20, 1927.
1149. Ibid., January 20, 1927.
1150. Ibid., January 18, 1927.
1151. Ibid., August 20, 1927.
1152. Ibid., November 22, 1927.
1153. Ibid., December 19, 1927.
1154. Ibid., December 31, 1927.
1155. Ibid., January 3. 1928.
1156. Ibid., January 16, 1928.
1157. Ibid., January 21, 1928.
1158. Ibid., January 16, 1928.
1160. Ibid., January 11, 1928.
1162. Ibid., January 21, 1928.
1163. Ibid., March 7, 1928.
1164. Ibid., January 21, 1928.
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American State Papers.
American Wool, Cotton, and Financial Reports.
Belisle, John G., History of Sabine Parish of Louisiana.
Encyclopedia Britannica (145th Edition).
Lake Charles American.
Lake Charles American Press.
Lake Charles Commercial.
Lake Charles Daily Press.
Lake Charles Echo.
Louisiana Historical Quarterly.
Lonn, Ella, Southwest Louisiana.
New Orleans Times.
Perrin, William Henry, South-West Louisiana.
Read, William A., Louisiana Place Names of Indian Origin.
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