New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Friday, March 24, 2017
Beginning about 1871 and fully developed by 1880 the man-made land of West End near the entrance to the Basin, with its park and pathways, bandstand, pavillions...
1871 Land is reclaimed at West End
Beginning about 1871 and fully developed by 1880 the man-made land of West End near the entrance to the Basin, with its park and pathways, bandstand, pavillions and various fun-making features, rivaled the similar recreations of Spanish Fort at the mouth of Bayou St. John.
1877 Buddy Bolden is born
Buddy Bolden, considered the 'father of jazz,' was born in New Orleans in 1877 and died in 1931. The peak of his career was from 1890 to 1920. He played music at Milneburg and other lakeshore resorts.
1874 Mark Twain writes about West End in Life on the Mississippi
Illustration from Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi West End in the chapter titled 'The Metropolis of the South' 1874 And by-and-bye we reached the West End, a collection of hotels of the usual light summer-resort pattern, with broad verandas all around, and the waves of the wide and blue Lake Pontchartrain lapping the thresholds. We had dinner on a ground-veranda over the water--the chief dish the renowned fish called the pompano, delicious as the less criminal forms of sin. Thousands of people come by rail and carriage to West End and to Spanish Fort every evening, and dine, listen to the bands, take strolls in the open air under the electric lights, go sailing on the lake, and entertain themselves in various and sundry other ways. Source: http://www.casayego.com/mtwain/41/41.htm
1878 There may have really been Submarine Races!
Early in the Civil War, the Confederate government authorized citizens to operate armed warships as 'privateers.' A New Orleans consortium headed by cotton broker H.L. Hunley gained approval for the operation of Pioneer, a 34-foot-long submarine designed and built by James McClintock. The boat held three persons, one to steer and two to crank the propeller. In a March 1862 demonstration on Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain, a submerged Pioneer sank a barge with a towed floating torpedo. In April 1862, the U.S. Navy captured New Orleans, and its builders scuttled Pioneer. Soon discovered, the boat was sold for scrap in 1868. The photo shows A Civil War-era submarine that was long thought to be Pioneer but is not. This one was discovered in the lake and raised in 1878 and is on display at the Louisiana State Museum. Its true origin remains a mystery. Source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/lostsub/hist1861.html Though the true identity of this vessel remains a mystery, it was once believed to be the Pioneer, a prototype for the Confederate submarine Hunley, which sank a Federal warship in 1864. The true Pioneer was built in New Orleans by two New Orleans machinists, James R. McClintock and Baxter Watson, and a wealthy lawyer, Horace L. Hunley. Never used in active duty against the Federal fleet, it was sunk in Lake Pontchartrain north of New Orleans by local residents in 1862 so that it could not be used by Federal troops who had captured the city. The vessel in this photograph, measuring twenty feet long, three feet wide, and six feet deep, was discovered in the lake in 1878 and brought ashore and forgotten for many years until it was ultimately put on display in front of the Louisiana State Museum's Presbytere in 1957, where it remains today. Source: http://lsm.crt.state.la.us/cabildo/cab10.htm
1879 Illustration from The Nathanial Bishop book
Source:http://www.rtpnet.org/robroy/books/nhb/S9.HTM Illustration from The Nathanial Bishop book "Four Months in a Sneakbox--the chapter 'New Orleans Roughs Amusing Themselves'. 'My shortest route to the Gulf of Mexico was through New Basin Canal, six miles in length, into Lake Pontchartrain, and from there to the Gulf..The first part of this canal runs through the city proper, and then through a low swampy region out into the shallow lake Pontchartrain. At the terminus of New Basin Canal I found a small light-house, two or three hotels, and a few houses, making a little village. I rowed out of the canal on to the lake...The skippers of the little fleet were very civil men. Some of them were of French and some of Spanish origin, while one or two were Germans. Night settled down upon us...the evening became lovely. Soon the quiet hamlet changed to a scene of merriment, as the gay people of the city drove out in their carriages to have a 'lark,' as the sailors expressed it; and which seemed to begin at the hotels with card-playing, dancing...and to end in a general carousal.' Source: http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net
1874 Mark Twain writes about the Shell Road in Life on the Mississippi
Thence, we drove a few miles across a swamp, along a raised shell road, with a canal on one hand and a dense wood on the other; and here and there, in the distance, a ragged and angular-limbed and moss-bearded cypress, top standing out, clear cut against the sky, and as quaint of form as the apple-trees in Japanese pictures--such was our course and the surroundings of it. There was an occasional alligator swimming comfortably along in the canal, and an occasional picturesque...person on the bank, flinging his statue-rigid reflection upon the still water and watching for a bite.
1874 Mark Twain writes about Spanish Fort in Life on the Mississippi
There are good clubs in the city now--several of them but recently organized--and inviting modern-style pleasure resorts at West End and Spanish Fort. Thousands of people come by rail and carriage to West End and to Spanish Fort every evening, and dine, listen to the bands, take strolls in the open air under the electric lights, go sailing on the lake, and entertain themselves in various and sundry other ways. The Entire Novel from Project Gutenburg
1873 - Plan plan for the redevelopment of the south shore
Source: http://nutrias.org/~nopl/exhibits/ccmem/10.htm This is a detail, showing the West End area, from a remarkable 1873 plan for the redevelopment of the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain in Orleans Parish. The larger plan provides us with several memories: the old, irregular shoreline prior to construction of the seawall, the Spanish Fort amusement park, and the Pontchartrain Railroad pier that allowed the 'Smoky Mary' to take its passengers all the way to the lake. Though never realized, this plan marked the beginning of the planning process that led to the Orleans Levee Board's 1920s reclamation project. [City Archives. Streets Department Records]
It is said that Bienville landed at a point where Iberville meets the river today. He chose this place because it was the nearest place to transfer cargo from the river to Bayou St. John, a sheltered waterway to Lake Pontchartrain (see adjacent figure "Carlos Trudeau's map of New Orleans . . ."). Once cargo was portaged to ships waiting at the head of the bayou, it was shipped down the bayou, through Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne, then along the Mississippi coast to Mobile. Obviously, this was successful because New Orleans flourished, becoming the richest and second largest city in America at one point. Source: http://www.loyno.edu/lucec/mrdliving.html
1868 Submarine Find -- Conflicts with other information on this page--see 1878
The February 15, 1868 New Orleans Picayune, morning edition, reported: A torpedo boat, which was built in this city...is to be sold at public auction today, by the United states authorities....the boat....was sunk in the canal about the time of the occupation of the city by federal forces, in 1862. It was built as an experiment and was never fully perfected, and is only valuable now for the machinery and iron which is in and about it.' The Picayune afternoon edition claimed the torpedo boat was indeed sold as scrap...for $43. Source: Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum Photograph by George Francois Mugnier c. 1890
1870 Milneburg Port declines but Jazz flourishes
In 1870, the port declined when it lost much of its cargo to the New Orleans, Mobile and Chattanooga Railroad After 1870...the area (Milneburg) evolved into an entertainment district, as the city's passenger train, the Smoky Mary, carried more middle-class visitors to the resort. Entertainment included jazz, with Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong and Danny Barker performing. An Excerpt from the 1999 Land Use Plan New Orleans City Planning Commission. Pictured is Sidney Bechet, a child prodigy in New Orleans. He was such good clarinet player that he featured by some of the top bands in the city, when he was still a child. Bechet's style of playing clarinet and soprano sax dominanted many of the bands that he was in. He played lead parts that were usually reserved for trumpets and was a master of improvisation. In 1939, Bechet played saxophone & sang with Jelly Roll Morton's New Orleans Jazzmen.
1870 The Lake House is destroyed in a fire
Lake House Hotel and Restaurant Lake House was a popular hotel at Lake End [i.e., West End] from 1838 until it burned on June 30, 1870. Two kitchen employees of Charles J. Hoyt, the manager of the hotel, were arrested for setting the fire, which leveled one of the city's most popular destinations. It "burnt like a tinderbox," the Times-Picayune wrote, and went on to reminisce about its hospitality: Arrived at the Lake House, the finest cuisine in the land, and a bar supplied with every delicacy and refreshment awaited them. Added to these were the bath houses, the pistol gallery, and a garden shadowed by avenues of fine old trees and blooming treasures. . . . It is like wiping out one of the old landmarks with its storied memories and unforgotten pleasures. Source:http://nutrias.org/~nopl/monthly/sept2000/stereo37.htm posted 2002-04-07 posted 2002-04-10
1870 West End
1870-Stereoview card by Woodward Albee Publisher Old, circa 1870-1890, "1558 Avenue West Enda Park, New Orleans, La (Louisiana)". Photo Stereoview card by Woodward Albee Publisher Rochester NY. 7"x 4.25".
1870 The Smoky Mary begins transporting citizens from the city to the lake
After 1870...the area (Milneburg) evolved into an entertainment district, as the city's passenger train, the Smoky Mary, began carrying more middle-class visitors to the resort. Entertainment included jazz, with Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong and Danny Barker performing. An Excerpt from the 1999 Land Use Plan New Orleans City Planning Commission http://int.new-orleans.la.us/cnoweb/cpc/1999_dist_six.htm Photo Credit:http://www.saveourlake.org/lessons/chpt10/
1877 Account of Spanish Fort attack
Engraving titled: Frenchmen Proceeding To Attack The Spanish Fort On The St. Johns Published in Household History - 1877
1873 Spanish Fort & Bayou St. John
From an article article titled "THE GREAT SOUTH: OLD AND NEW LOUISIANA," by Edward King from Volume 7 Number 1 in the November 1873 issue of "Scribner's Monthly."
1875 Rowles Stereograph Photograph titled 'Protection levee Lake Pontchartrain' created by S.T. Blessing.
Title: Protection levee Lake Pontchartrain Creator: Blessing, S. T. Subject(s): Levees Description: Levee at Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana. Rowles Stereograph Photographs Notes: 9 x 18 cm. Accession #: 1979.120.085 Date (YYYY-MM-DD): ca. 1875 Type: image Identifier: http://APPL005.lsu.edu/RSP.nsf/AllDocView/rs000072?OpenDocument Source: Louisiana State Museum