Ponchatoula LA

Ponchatoula LA Is Known As America’s Antique City

Ponchatoula LA is also known as America’s Antique City because the Old Downtown has been restored and turned into an antique district. This historic area has been restored to the years of old. Ponchatoula built their first train station depot in 1853 but the one that now stands in its place was built in 1923. This Train Station Depot is now used as an antique mall, vendor market and farmers market. When the Strawberry Festival comes to town the depot is used for exhibits and vendor booths. To compliment the area is a store called the Electric Train Depot located at 1111 Southwest Railroad Avenue. They carry complete ready to run trains and locomotives in several sizes along with antique trains. They are only open on Saturdays but do have an ebay store. Visit their website at Electric Train Depot.

Ponchatoula Train Station Depot And Historic 5th Street Area
Ponchatoula Train Station Depot is to the left in the picture and over the railroad tracks.

Ponchatoula LA Antique District

The Ponchatoula LA antique district is known as America’s Antique City because of the many antique shops in this 6 block area. This antique district is part of a program known as the Main Street America. This is a National Trust for Historic Preservation and a nonprofit organization that works to save America’s historic places through private funds. Each year grants are awarded to winning communities to renovate and redo store fronts to their original charm. Below are a few store fronts of antique shops in the area. Trail’s End Antiques had a nice display on the sidewalk along with their store front window display. A window shoppers paradise!

Trails End Antiques Store Front Window In Ponchatoula LA
Trails End Antiques Store Front Window In Ponchatoula LA

Step back into time at Ponchatoula Feed & Seed. This is a true feed and seed store just like you use to see in just about every town around. Are you going to regular hardware stores or the big box super store outlets to get your plants and other hardware items and can’t find what you want? I suggest you try going to Ponchatoula Feed & Seed Store because they have the things other stores just do not carry. Want to purchase live baby chickens? They got em! I made a visit to this feed & seed and was amazed to see all the different things they carry that you do not normally see in other stores. They specialize in feed and seed so if you want to start a vegetable garden they have what you need that grows best locally. The outside of the store has all the patina of years gone by and a big window shopping area. This place is a fun stop and the children will love seeing the baby chicks.

Ponchatoula Feed & Seed Hardware Store
Ponchatoula Feed & Seed

Window Shopping In Ponchatoula LA

Window shopping is fun to do and does not cost you any money to do. I enjoy just walking around Ponchatoula’s Antique City looking at what is in the windows. Some shop owners put their best items in the windows and rotate the stock as items sell. Other antique shops put some of their prized items in the window to lure you into their shops. Come early on Saturdays because of the many different activities that may be going on. Many times I have seen what looks like a sidewalk sale. Many of the shops put merchandise in front of their store to attract visitors or have items on sale.

Ponchatoula Antique Store Front Shopping
Ponchatoula LA Antique Store Front Shopping

Old Time Steam Engine Locomotive

This steam engine was used to haul lumber when Poncatoula Louisiana was in its heydays as a lumber town. This dates back to just before 1880 when lumber was just getting noticed in the area of Ponchatoula and Hammond, LA. With the dawn of the steam locomotive came the people and the lumber mills. By the early 1880’s the area started growing and the trees were being cut down in record numbers. Cypress trees were used by the locals to build most structures because of how long the wood would last and its resistance to roughing and bugs. Old cypress houses are in demand today because of the wood and how it can be reused. The pine tree industry was big in Louisiana dating back to the 1880’s. The lumber companies would come in and just clear cut and leave nothing but stumps. Replanting the forest was not something that went on back in those days so the area turned into a baron wasteland. The railroad served its purpose of getting the lumber out of the area of Ponchatoula and surrounding Parishes and sending it up-north where the country was in a building boom. By 1925 or so just about all the trees had been cut down and made into lumber. The companies packed up and moved out of Louisiana.

1912 Steam Locomotive And Illinois Central Railway
1912 Steam Locomotive

All steam engines had a coal car or one that had a load of wood to burn. Fire turned the water into steam which powered the engine. The train had to make stops to fill the boiler up with water. City water towers were often by the train stations.

Ponchatoula Steam Engine Coal Car
Ponchatoula Steam Engine Coal Car From The Early 1900’s
From Timber To Farming In Ponchatoula

Much of the area where trees had been standing are now local farms. The land in the area had rich topsoil because it was part of the delta lands of the Mississippi River and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. Farming got its start in the 1880’s also about the same time as the lumber industry had started growing. As lumber faded out more and more people turned to growing vegetables and fruit. This area supports a vast variety of fruits like strawberries, nectarines, satsumas, watermelons, pecan trees and much more. Ponchatoula’s main crop is the strawberry. They celebrate this berry with the annual Louisiana Strawberry Fest.  The numbers of people coming to the area for this Strawberry Festival has been counted as high as 350,000 this past year 2017. The strawberry is a big part of the history and economy of Ponchatoula LA.

Strawberry Festival In Ponchatoula
Strawberry Festival In Ponchatoula LA – Strawberries are sold by the flat as pictured.

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