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History Hunts Blog http://historyhunts-blog.blogspot.com/

Following Louisiana's & Mississippi's Historic Railroads http://oldrrs-blog.blogspot.com/

Finding the Lumber Mill Railroads http://lumbermillrrs.blogspot.com/

Following the Historic Rails of Mississippi http://mississippirails.blogspot.com/


The Southern Pacific p.10 Port Barre 2



On the last page we covered the main east-west line, the The Colorado Southern, New Orleans & Pacific Railroad Co. To icing the cake, here's her words:

"The Colorado Southern, New Orleans & Pacific Railroad Co. purchased ROW’s in April, 1906 from Mrs. D.P. Saizan. The agreement was that the railroad would maintain three crossings and construct a freight and passenger depot on this 5.17 acre tract of land. This depot eventually became known as the Frisco Depot. The authors says that no one can say for certain what Frisco stands for. The Colorado Southern later changed its name to the Missouri Pacific RR Company".

Next, we'll look at the SP or Morgan's La. and Texas RR. Her words:

June, 1906, Morgan’s Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Co. secured right-of-ways through the property of Dr. J.P. Saizan and Mrs. David P. Saizan It was on Mrs Saizan’s property that the LARGE TURNTABLE was constructed where the engine of the train was manually turned around as the tracks ended near Bayou Courtableau. This turntable and the depot were located along present day Railroad St. There was a service track that ran along the bayou for loading cotton from the gin and lumber from the saw mill".

So, there was a cotton gin and saw mill probably along Railroad Street.

The fact that there was a turntable at where the SP rails ended at Bayou Courtableu brought a chuckle. I had previously said that there was a turntable at Simmesport. That fact was questioned by some, though the residents said it existed. The doubters said it was too expensive and unneeded. Evidently, the use of turntables was not that big a deal. Here's part of the historic drawing. Marked on it was, "Dark lines indicate the location of the Morgan's Louisiana&Texas Railroad turntable on Saizon land". Where I have "Bayou Courtableu" written, is where cargo could be transferred from boat to train. There appears to be a warehouse there, also.



Just past the pink house would be the location of the turntable. The warehouse area would be on the left. The depot would be southeast on Railroad St.



This is the overhead satellite shot. See the circle at the end of Railroad St. Bingo.



Here's the SP schedule. It is for train 605 and 606. I found this Public Service Commission request for 1914.



This is a 1926 schedule.



Next are a few pictures taken around Bayou Courtableu in Port Barre. I'm not sure of the date on this bridge. It seems to be the same style as the US 190 bridge just east of Krotz Springs, which would make sense. That was built in 1940.



This is from the north side of the bayou. I need a shot of the landing and warehouse area from the opposite bank.



A while back a reader, Tiny, sent this, "Back in the day, steamboats could chug up the Atchaflaya and then up to Port Barre. Believe it or not, the average depth is about 25 feet deep. Steamboats used to load/unload in P.B. right by the current bridge. That giant oak tree across from the grocery store was there then (my great grandpa used to tell me). There is a large branch on the tree with a big dip in it caused by countless 19th century children swinging on the swing they had on the tree".

Now, I know that steam boats were used into the 1900's. I don't know when Bayou Courtableu was cut off from the Atchafalaya. I would guess that it would have been after the great flood of 1927 when the Corps of Engineers started re-shaping the world as we know it. North of town, on into Washington, the bayou is no small waterway. We'll see that later.

Next, I'll shift us over to the west side of town where the New Iberia RR, after the cross track feud with the Southern Pacific was settled, came into town.

In early 1909, the New Iberia, St. Martin & Northern RR Company purchased ROW’s through the lands of Mrs. D. F. Saizan. This railroad had to agree to construct crossing on First St., Robin St., Second St., and Saizan Ave. as well as construct a depot to be known as the Port Barre Depot. This depot was to be constructed on the same location as the present day Port Barre Fire Station.

I constructed a map, comparing it to the one from the book, and marked each required crossing.



Starting from the bottom, the yellow line is the New Iberia RR. I would think the depot was on Saizon Ave., La.103, where the unfound fire station is. Moving north, it crossed Second, Robin, and First Sts. It next crossed the young Bayou Teche. The bayou starts just to the north and is a distributary of the Courtableu. It next ran north, crossing Rayne Road and merged with the OG, which is the next discussion. Click the map if it is not large enough.

The Opelousas and Gulf straddled the north part of Port Barre. It crossed the big Courtableu on what must have been a swing bridge. This is the 1906 plat. I can read this on the plat: "Plat showing right of way of the Opelousas, Gulf and NE Ry. Co. through land of John O. LeBlanc. May 12, 1906. So could the author.



The books description:

"December, 1905 The Opelousas Gulf and Northeastern Railway Co. purchased a right of way through the property of Valerian Langlois. It was 100 feet wide and 500 feet in distance on the west bank of Bayou Courtableau. It is now known as the “OG Track”.

I saw no road labeled OG Track on the west side of the bayou. That road is on the east side.

In June, 1906, J.O. LeBlanc sold a right of way through his property to the Opelousas Gulf and Northeastern Railway Co. The purchase price for this ROW was one dollar with the stipulation that the railway company locate, construct, and maintain a passenger and freight depot on part of his land. In the even the depot was not constructed, Mr. Leblanc would have the right to “claim a compensation of fifty dollars per acre for the five and one tenth acres in question”.

Another stipulation of the sale was that within two years the railway company was to be instrumental in securing an industry or industries adjacent to the railroad employing 20 or more employees. Craighead Lumber was started in 1908".

Indeed a fine depot was built. Notice the OG boxcar behind the depot.



This road sign is on La.103 heading out of town. To the east of 103, in a broad median, is where the depot was.



A while back I followed the OG to where it crossed Bayou Courtableu. There was a large fill before the bridge.





I took a shot out into the water, but, it was late afternoon and the sun was too much to show much. Later, I crossed over the bayou and took these shots from Rayne Road.



Climbing back up the bank:



This is some new road which I suspect sits atop the old OG bed west. I followed it to its end where it dropped off into some lowland.



Here'an OG Schedule, Click it to enlarge:



I've traced the whole line starting with the article "Side Tracks" and ending with the "Swampers" ride. The OG had to try hard to get to Melville. I suspect Crowley was a little easier.

Back on the north side of the Courtableu, near the school, is this old bank. I did't want to forget to show it, but almost did.



So, there you go, the picture in 1910.I'll repeat her conclusion.

"The OG remained in use until around 1951. [The T&P RR assumed those rails before 1951, I do believe.] The NI, St. M & Northern RR Co. abandoned its tracks in the early 30’s after the Stave mill closed. The Southern Pacific (M’s La. & Tex. RR& Steam) stopped all passenger and mail service in 1936. After that the train occasionally came during cotton season to load bales of cotton. All services were discontinued by 1940 and the tracks were removed".



Today:









Then, when looking at these seemingly shallow new pictures of commonplace rail settings, you see something. Something old and probably important to the history of the community. It happened in the Port Barre yard.




This one has been long and I won't do a similar one again. This will probably be the last railroad guided ride, also. I don't look up and see other stuff because I'm looking down at some bump or hump or pile of gravel or the GPS. I've lost the the "big picture" approach.

I have collected other files on places the Southern Pacific passed between Cade and Port Barre. I don't want to go back to the various pages and add them in. That would be too much work at this point. All of that will be on the next page, if interested.

CLICK HERE FOR PAGE 3

The Southern Pacific p.9 Port Barre 1

This afternoon I went back to Port Barre to follow a few leads in order to finish this, the last segment of tracing the extinct Southern Pacific branch tracks between Cade and Port Barre, Louisiana. I have used these old routes as tour guides. At first I saw them as fun because they were illusive and mystical. I've tried to include interesting stuff I see but following the rails has not been that fruitful. I just looked over the last section write, Arnaudville to Leonville. It seems I focused only on the railroad bed. It is time to give the railroad sleuthing up. No one is interested in it. Not even me.

But, first, Port Barre:

The last time I was in town I was looking for the location of one depot I guessed had been there. I'd gotten that idea from something I'd read or seen. I stopped some old black woman on the street figuring she might remember a station. She called her grandson who was also pretty old, but neither could put their finger on it. I asked where the city hall was. They directed me to it and told me to hurry. I hurried. I came in the door and asked the lady at the window if there was anyone around that could tell me about the history of Port Barre. At best I hoped for an old white haired person to limp out and mumble a list of disconnected recollections. No, out came a very business like....., whoa, I have to tell you, and I'll try to be professional doing it. Out came this extremely "attractive" young lady, I'd say she was about six feet tall. She asked me what I was interested in. I managed to spit out, "railroads". She said, "Just a minute". I figured she'd gone to fetch Security to show me out. She returned, saying she was in a hurry to get out of there, but she had a book. The book she was holding was The History of Port Barre. She also said that there was only one. She showed me into a conference room and handed it over. Then she turned and came back in mysteriously interested in railroad history. She took the book from me and opened it up. As she flipped the first few pages I saw "RAILROADS" as she continued looking. I yelled, "I saw it". Cautiously, she handed the book back over to me and said I could copy the pages I wanted. She showed me to the machine. I offered to pay for the copies and she refused. She flew out of the office, me thanking her profusely as she left. Below is what she gave me and I'm giving you. Sorry, your source is not as "attractive" as mine.

I think I'll present it to you in the order in which I got it. This information was copied, rearranged, outlined, augmented and degraded by me. Basically, it's hers, the author's. It will be torn apart and repeated later. So, don't try to commit it to memory right now. You'll never finish this article.

"The History of PORT BARRE (1765-1950)" by Cheryl Bihm Myers.

In the early 1900’s, railroad right of ways were secured in the Port Barre area.
In December, 1905, the Opelousas Gulf and Northeastern Railway Co. purchased a right of way through the property of Valerian Langlois. It was 100 feet wide and 500 feet in distance on the west bank of Bayou Courtableau. It is now known as the “OG Track”.

I believe that was a mistake. What is locally called the "OG Track" is on the east side of the bayou. I did not see that name used on the west side though I did later find the bed and followed it west.

The following is pretty much a quote, "In June, 1906, J.O. LeBlanc sold a right of way through his property to the Opelousas, Gulf and Northeastern Railway Co. The purchase price for this right of way was one dollar with the stipulation that the railway company locate, construct, and maintain a passenger and freight depot on part of his land. In the event the depot was not constructed, Mr. Leblanc would have the right to claim a compensation of fifty dollars per acre for the five and one tenth acres in question”.

Another stipulation of the sale was that within two years the railway company was to be instrumental in securing an industry or industries adjacent to the railroad employing 20 or more employees. Craighead Lumber was started in 1908.

June, 1906, Morgan’s Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Co secured right-of-ways through the property of Dr.J.P. Saizan and Mrs. David P. Saizan. It was on Mrs Saizan’s property that the LARGE TURNTABLE was constructed where the engine of the train was manually turned around as the tracks ended near Bayou Courtableau. This turntable and the depot were located along present day Railroad St. There was a service track that ran along the bayou for loading cotton from the gin and lumber from the saw mill.

Morgan’s Louisiana and Texas Railroad later evolved into the Southern Pacific Railroad Co.

The Colorado Southern, New Orleans & Pacific Railroad Co. purchased right of ways in April, 1906, from Mrs. D.P. Saizan. The agreement was that the railroad would maintain three crossings and construct a freight and passenger depot on this 5.17 acre tract of land. This depot eventually became known as the Frisco Depot.

The author says that no one can say for certain what Frisco stands for. She evidently did not have the internet at her fingertips like we do today. The Colorado Southern evolved into the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company.

I've finally figured out how the St.Louis and San Francisco Railroad, commonly known as the "Frisco" in all the little communities it served, evolved into the Missouri Pacific. First, probably, the Colorado Southern was owned by the Frisco. Frisco went into bankruptcy and the courts told the controllers it had to divest of its LA and TX holdings. Those holdings became the New Orleans and San Francisco, a part of The Gulf Coast Lines. The Missouri Pacific bought the Gulf Coast lines, thus, old timers called the Missouri Pacific Stations, "The Frisco Station". The location of where the Port Barre Missouri Pacific station was on Frisco Street. Obviously, the author was a little weak on railroad history, like me. Here's more of her spiel:

In early 1909, the New Iberia, St. Martin & Northern RR Company purchased ROW’s through the lands of Mrs. D. F. Saizan. This railroad had to agree to construct crossing on First St., Robin St., Second St., and Saizan Ave. as well as construct a depot to be known as the Port Barre Depot. This depot was to be constructed on the same location as the present day Port Barre Fire Station.

Her mentioning those crossings was extremely helpful.

I don't know if the depot was built. I did a brief search for the fire station this afternoon but, frankly, I was worn out with Port Barre. I saw several people to ask and decided that they were bad candidates. Some people just carry that "bad candidate" look.

In 1909, the New Iberia, St.Martin & Northern RR Co. filed suit against Morgan’s La. and Tex. RR and Steamship Co. It seems that the New Iberia line had to cross over the Morgan line at a point south of the Frisco depot. The Morgan people were sabotaging the crossing. The suit charged the Morgan RR with “malice in their attempt to obstruct and impede construction of the New Iberia line. The courts found in favor of the New Iberia Line and the crossings were eventually completed. When looking at the map which shows all the railroads coming into Port Barre, and the number of times they cross each others, it is a wonder there were not more wrecks.

By January, 1910, all four railroads were in operation at Port Barre.

Her Conclusion:

"The OG remained in use until around 1951. [the T&P RR assume those rails before 51 and the T&P were the final owners, I know that. Mike's dad ran that line. Again, she's a little off.] The NI, St. M & Northern RR Co. abandoned its tracks in the early 30’s after the Stave mill closed. The Southern Pacific (M’s La. & Tex. RR& Steam) stopped all passert from the bottom of the map. I love this place. It is where the Morgan's Railroad (Southern Pacific), and New Iberia (later, also Missouri Pacific) crossed. It is where the SP was found guilty of malice in their attempt to obstruct and impede construction of the New Iberia line. (Hanky Panky). It is marked as "Crossing A", where the purple and red lines cross. La.741 coming north from La.31 near Leonville, follows the MP grade (purple) north until it hits the cross tracks. Then the road follows the SP (red) on across US 190 and then up Railroad Ave, aka, La.741. Here are pictures from my two recent visits. It's quite a place.

It is amazing that the bed is so visible. On my last visit it was very visible as the farmer had cleaned the bed off on a half mile stretch northwest from cross tracks.

The first shot is when I first got there. I'm shooting north up the grade of the SP, which I think is actually the highway's bed. That's a state cop coming at me. I saw him slow down. I bet he thought I was beaming HIM.



Next is looking south on the SP. That turn is where the road starts following the MP bed which is off to left of the highway. If you drive down 741, the bed forms the west levee of the crawfish farm pond.



Here's looking northwest on the MP. Can't see it?



How bout now? This picture was taken today. The farmer has plans for the old bed. Is he going to use it for a road, hopefully, or, is it to be plowed under? If so, my timing was priceless. Another bridge to history will be gone.



I'm thinking the worse of the two options.

This is what I found on the ground, again, priceless. That wood is probably 100 years old. It, of course, is what is left of the railroad ties that were churned up by the grader or whatever attachment he was using?



Here's looking out to where there was probably a trestle. I'll have to check the topographic map for a stream or lowland. You can see the Port Barre water tower in the background. Indeed there is an intermittent stream shown.



Here are a few more pieces of tie.



I know, I get carried away, but this is the last rail write and I'm throwing in the kitchen sink.



Moving north on the "All the Railroads" map, a point of interest would be the Frisco or CSNO&P depot. As I rode into Port Barre and onto Friso Street, I looked for old people. I found a really old one sitting in his pickup truck. I asked him where the depot had been and he motioned "down the street" and then said, "by the light", on US 190. That would have put it way off the present rails. Frisco Street curves toward the rails and I would think the apex of that curve would have been the depot, but maybe not? The fact that it is off the rails leads me to believe that a siding was provided for the depot. Duh. And, it is near the light.

On the map you can see the 3 railroads, SP, MP and Colorado... The purple line is Frisco Street. I'll have to go back. I now see that Jacqueline Dr. might reach the wye where the MP met the CO. The train would have to join the CO to get to the station. The fact that the CO became the MP solved that problem. (all speculative). Also, see "Rayne St.? It will come into play later. Click the map, Al.

CLICK HERE FOR Page 2 of Port Barre

The Southern Pacific p.8 Arnaudville to Leonville

I have a definite Deja Vu thing going on about this stretch. I've written it before, but maybe as an e-mail to the paying customers, who knows? I spent 2 hours looking for it and couldn't find it. I could have written this twice in that time.

I've been tempted to add in some extra stuff here but I will wait until Port Barre is a done deal. Then I can make you read the whole thing again.

I almost forgot to tell the fly by night visitor that he or she is now just south of Arnaudville, Louisiana. "I am? Wow, dude"!

On the last page I showed you the picture of the Bayou Fusilier crossing. So, I don't have to now. Here's a map to get us started. Click it to enlarge.



The Southern Pacific came in from McVeigh, up La.31, remember?. The rails crossed La.93, the Grand Coteau Highway. Then it crossed Bayou Fuselier on what must have been a high trestle. A filled ramp was built to protrude out into the bayou to reduce the length of the bridge, or so it seems the reason would be. There is one on the opposite bank, also. This was a common practice. At least I've seen it often, Gerald.

Next, it crossed Fuselier St. and started its trip along W.Railroad Ave. This location is just to the west of downtown. My map doesn't show it, but I suspect that E.Railroad was a road that was parallel to W.Railroad and the median between the two streets was where the depot was. The map program finally gave up E.RR Ave. Look at the top of the next map. I approximated the rails. In another map. E.RR Ave goes all the way to Fuselier St. In all the drawings I've marked the Southern Pacific in red.



The orange line, top map, to the east is the route of the Missouri Pacific originating in New Iberia. I'm in the middle of a New Iberia investigation right now and I'll add that to the end of this one and to the Sugarcane Railroad ride. The name "Sugarcane" was used since I didn't know what I was looking at. It was the Missouri Pacific. The MP came in from Cecelia. The hump there is right near the intersection of 328 and 31. That rail bed is very visible all the way from New Iberia to US 190. Even I could find it.

My wife is interrupting me every few minutes. I'm starting over.

Here's a pastoral scene south of Bayou Fuselier. Ahooooooom. I better cool it or I could be sleeping in a pastoral scene.



These are a couple of old warehouses associated, I think, with the Singleton Lumber Yard or Plantation. My guess is that a spur ran to them. They are on La.93, just west of the SP rails before they cross the bayou.



Here's another building in that group. The high doors on the left are suspicious. I just GE'd the Singleton's lumber yard and I do think they had a siding, but not where I thought first.





Here's how they sit. They are pretty well lined up and the doors of the steel building are on the back. I'd put a truck door in the back also. Just a thought. I'm probably wrong like I said above. But, maybe the spur split before crossing the highway?

This is a Google Earth view of the whole lumberyard complex. The red line is my guessed at spur arrangement.





Next are all of the crossing pictures. Sorry to linger here, but this is one of those very important places in history and we can just dwell a little, soak it in and show a little reverence. I think it's time for a chair ride, don't you? One time I brought my folding chair to unfold in special places. That was a hoot.

This is looking from La.93 toward town. Notice the cracks in the road. Those could either be an influence of the old rails or just more La.cracks in the road?



Not getting a good picture of the fill where the rails rode, I walked across La.93. I remember it like it was yesterday, but I don't think it was? You can see it much better in this one.



I know, I forgot to sign it. There goes its sale's value.


That's a picture of Fuselier Street. I found this cement curb with "1934" on it. Any significance to the RR? Who knows. I think it probably refers to a bridge that was there, or you know, it could have been something else. The rails should have been in place well before "34". Maybe the train bridge had been...........?




OK, we are back at ........



There are hidden treasures throughout Arnaudville. I need to spend a day there. Here is an old building on W.RR Ave.



It's on the corner of Jaycees and W.RR. I think it's a "hall" of some kind. Possibly a hotel? It had side by side front doors. It was something. It won't be there long.

West RR Ave. meets La.347 as that highway heads for Leonville. As best I can tell, it skirted the sewer pond just to the west of it and did not go through it as pictured in the top map. If there are two guesses, I split the difference. Otherwise, I could sit here forever. West of the sewer pond? East of the sewer pond? West of......? East of......? So I ran the damn thing through it. I enjoyed that and found it rewarding since I'd put some folks I don't like on the train first, kicked the throttle full steam and jumped off. Yea, ha!!



Following the rails up 347, these shots were taken down the few cuts into the lowlands which the rails ran. There is a little coulee or stream in there. That might have provided a higher ground on the natural levee or a lot of fill was used. Or, the stream I'm seeing was used to drain water away from the bed? That's been done.



Looking from La.347 back to the grade.



You can see two of the black, not rusted at all, rails back in there.



Here, near Garland Road the rails turned away from La.347 toward Leonville.



Now the fun is starting to begin. Leonville had a SP Depot. I pulled a cop stop on an old man riding his bicycle in town. I asked if he knew anything about the railroad that came through. He said he did and offered to lead me to the station. That scene would have been funny and it would have lasted a while. Just in time, some one pulled up to talk to him. He told me that people used the train to go to Port Barre and that there was a station there. Wow. I could have spent an afternoon with this guy, us just riding around and talking about the dense history of the place. I always look for him when I go through there.

I'm not going to post any pictures of Leonville here. They are throughout the website, already. I will show you the shots of where the SP crossed Bayou Teche. This will be the first time it will be on the east side of the bayou.
I didn't have Everett's maps at the time and my GPS didn't show the route. Here's pretty close. Click the map to enlarge.



The Bayou Teche trestle was off of La.31, very near the city limits sign.



Notice the very old water pump by the bayou. I wonder? Steam engines needed water? Naw. Port Barre was very close and the depot was on Bayou Courtableu.

Looking to the other side:



Here's looking north across La.31:



The SP had another low land problem. I'm posting this map to show the intermittent steams which the rails crossed. The heavy blue course at the top is Bayou Courtableu at Port Barre. The one branching off of it is Bayou Teche. Both have natural levees. If water was coming from the east, it would be trapped in that "corner" formed by the two bayous.



There was a flood which began at Torras in 1912. That water made its way to the low area between Port Barre and Leonville.



This is pretty good stuff. It is from the Railway Gazette, 1912.






Check the Torras ride for the New York Times account of this flood. Torras was no more after that high water.



Next stop: Frisbee.



The area was indeed flat. It is as flat as a pancake. I've looked out there for Frisbee, even told my dog to fetch.

I think there is actually something on that location but it is way up on private property. It had to have been a plantation stop. More later. Port Barre is going to be intense. Four railroads serviced the little town and they gave me the book on it. Cry in your beer Indiana, I got there first.

CLICK HERE TO HEAD TO PORT BARRE