New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, February 27, 2017
Article from HARPER'S NEW MONTLY MAGAZINE, December 1858. Woodcut engraving 'The Light-House, Lake Pontchartrain'....
1858 Harper's Magazine writes about the Milneburg Lighthouse
'WINTER IN THE SOUTH' - Article from HARPER?S NEW MONTLY MAGAZINE, December 1858. Woodcut engraving 'The Light-House?Lake Pontchartrain'.
1852 The Lake is depicted in Uncle Tom's Cabin
From the book Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. 1852 Chapter 22, Volume 2, Uncle Tom's Cabin, (Cambridge: Houghton Mifflin, 1891.) 'At this time in our story, the whole St. Clare establishment is, for the time being, removed to their villa on Lake Pontchartrain. The heats of summer had driven all who were able to leave the sultry and unhealthy city, to seek the shores of the lake, and its cool sea-breezes. St. Clare's villa was an East Indian cottage, surrounded by light verandahs of bamboo-work, and opening on all sides into gardens and pleasure-grounds. The common sitting-room opened on to a large garden, fragrant with every picturesque plant and flower of the tropics, where winding paths ran down to the very shores of the lake, whose silvery sheet of water lay there, rising and falling in the sunbeams,--a picture never for an hour the same, yet every hour more beautiful. It is now one of those intensely golden sunsets which kindles the whole horizon into one blaze of glory, and makes the water another sky. The lake lay in rosy or golden streaks, save where white-winged vessels glided hither and thither, like so many spirits, and little golden stars twinkled through the glow, and looked down at themselves as they trembled in the water. Tom and Eva were seated on a little mossy seat, in an arbor, at the foot of the garden. It was Sunday evening, and Eva's Bible lay open on her knee. She read,--'And I saw a sea of glass, mingled with fire.' 'Tom,' said Eva, suddenly stopping, and pointing to the lake, 'there 't is.' 'What, Miss Eva?' 'Don't you see,--there?' said the child, pointing to the glassy water, which, as it rose and fell, reflected the golden glow of the sky. 'There's a `sea of glass, mingled with fire.'' 'True enough, Miss Eva,' said Tom...' Source: Project Gutenburg The Illustration: A Bit of Lake Pontchartrain The Artist:E. W. Kemble Source: Project Gutenburg
This 1853 map shows plans for a breakwater and harbor. There's the Jefferson & Lake Pontchartrain Railroad -- an extension of the New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad, today known as the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line. Also the proposed Lafayette Railroad and New Canal. And the Pontchartrain Railroad at Milneburgh, with lighthouse. This is the original lighthouse, built in 1832. It was replaced in 1855, two years after this map was printed, and it shined until 1929. In later years the area around the lighthouse became the Pontchartrain Beach Amusement Park -- which old timers referred to as "Milenburg". Now the lighthouse is part of the University of New Orleans Technology Center. The map is said to have been published in the "Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress" and is dated 1853.
1859 Yacht is seized and outfitted as a gunboat on the Lake
CORYPHEUS, a yacht built at Brook Haven, N.Y., in 1859, was seized under orders of Gen. M. Lovell, CSA, outfitted as a gunboat, and operated in Lakes Borgne and Pontchartrain.
West End & Lakeport development begins
The earliest structures were wooden huts raised on stilts. The canal provided a harbor for fishing boats. The people who lived along the canal and out on the lake were squatters who made their living from fishing, crabbing, hunting and trapping, as well as from the rental of boats, the sale of tackle and bait, and the entertainment of vacationers. Development along this area originally occurred in the mid-19th century with a commercial wharf and resort called Lakeport. Steamboats docked at the entrance to the New Basin Canal (now Pontchartrain Blvd.) and at the terminus of the Jefferson and Lake Pontchartrain Railroad where Bucktown is today. The railroad ran along what is now the Orleans-Jefferson Parish boundary at the 17th Street Canal. Dug as a drainage canal along the upper boundary of the Town of Carrollton, it was originally called the Upperline Canal. The Jefferson and Lake Pontchartrain Railroad, 1853-1864, was an extension of the New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad (today the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line). At the lake end of the railway were a hotel, restaurants, a bowling alley, dance hall, picnic ground, pleasure garden, and bathing facilities. The place later became a famous amusement park known as West End (of Orleans Parish). Source: Betsy Swanson - at http://www.deanies.com/MM017.ASP?pageno=28 Pictured is the Tug 'Frank' owned by Poitevent-Favre Lumber Company at West End in New Orleans, ca. 1926. Source: http://www.tamnet.com/thenandnow/man16.html#tugfrank
1859 - Brunings Restaurant opens at Bucktown-West End
One of the oldest restuarants in the country, Brunings opened in 1859. Although not in the same original building it has existed under the management of the same family since before the Civil War. Heavily damaged in the 1998 Hurricane Georges, it moved to an adjacent building and remains open today. Photo credit: http://www.virtualtravels.com/diary/neworleans/norestaurants/brunings.html
1850 Louisville & Nashville Railroad is Established.
The Louisville & Nashville Railroad was chartered in 1850. By 1880, its service had been extended to New Orleans, thru Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile, by acquisition of the New Orleans, Mobile and Texas Railroad. At the same time, the L&N also acquired the oldest railroad west of the Alleghenies-the Pontchartrain Railroad, five miles long, which extended "straight as a string" on Elysian Fields Avenue, in New Orleans, from the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain, at Milneburg. This line was abandoned in 1935, after some 104 years of uninterrupted service. For seventy-four years, the L&N linked New Orleans with the Central-South and the Mississippi Valley. ~ Source: http://nutrias.org/~nopl/exhibits/choochoo/page2.htm