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Interesting Local Slidell Louisiana History Tidbits

Slidell, Louisiana, a charming city located on the northeastern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, is a place rich in history. From its beginnings as a railroad town to its role in World War II, Slidell has witnessed significant events and fascinating stories that have shaped its identity. In this blog post, we will explore some interesting local history tidbits of Slidell, Louisiana.

1. The Founding of Slidell: Slidell owes its name and establishment to John Slidell, a prominent politician from the mid-1800s. Slidell, who served as a U.S. Senator and diplomat, envisioned turning this marshy area into a transportation hub. In 1882, the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad completed its line, and the town of Slidell began to flourish.

2. The Train Wreck of 1911: On September 22, 1911, a tragic train wreck occurred just outside Slidell that had a profound impact on the community. The engine and seven passenger cars of the Southern Pacific train were derailed, leading to 60 deaths and over 100 injuries. This catastrophe remains one of the deadliest train accidents in Louisiana's history.

3. The Pearl River Turntable: The Pearl River Turntable is a fascinating piece of history located in Slidell. Built in 1893, it was part of a working railroad turntable system used to turn locomotives around. This remnant of the past stands as a testament to Slidell's historical connection to the railroad industry.

4. Camp Salmen Nature Park: This beautiful nature park in Slidell has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. It was initially the site of a logging operation and sawmill owned by the Salmen family. Later on, during World War II, it served as a training ground for the U.S. Army, preparing soldiers for combat in the Pacific. Today, visitors can explore the park's interpretive trails while learning about its historical significance.

5. Slidell during World War II: Slidell played a crucial role in America's efforts during World War II. The city was home to a naval air station, Marine Corps training camp, and a major ordnance plant. The naval air station trained pilots, while the ordnance plant produced ammunition for the war. The military presence significantly impacted Slidell's economy and population during this time, shaping the city's growth and development.

6. Slidell Little Theatre: The Slidell Little Theatre, established in 1963, has become an integral part of the city's cultural landscape. However, its origin can be traced back to an abandoned World War II barrack. After the war, the barrack was turned into a community theater, which eventually led to the creation of the Slidell Little Theatre. This local treasure has been entertaining audiences for over half a century with its fantastic performances.

7. Heritage Park: Heritage Park is not only a beautiful green space in Slidell but also an area that showcases the city's history. It preserves and exhibits several historical buildings, including the Slidell Museum, the Miltenberger House, and the Amtrak Train Depot. The park provides an opportunity for visitors to step back in time and explore the city's heritage.

Slidell, Louisiana, with its rich history and captivating stories, is a place that continues to honor its past while embracing the present. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply interested in learning about the local heritage, Slidell offers an array of fascinating tidbits that are worth exploring. So, next time you find yourself in this remarkable city, take a moment to delve into its past and discover the intricate tapestry of Slidell's history.

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