Around Lake Pontchartrain

1830 Pontchartrain Railroad

Pre History
1699 Exploration
1701 Fort St. John
1703 Trappers on the Bayou
1718 New Orleans is Founded
1732 Native Americans
1735 Native Americans
1759 Map of the Portage
1763 Spanish Rule
1768 Map of the Water Route
1770 Spanish Fort Postcards
1778 Hurricanes
1779 Spanish Rebuild the Fort
1780 Hurricane
1784 Custom House
1795 Carondelet Canal
1803 Madisonville
1808 U.S. Restores the Fort
1811 Bayou St. John Light
1803 Louisiana Purchase
1814 Madisonville
1815 Steamboat Travel Begins
1816 Bayou St. John a Port
1820's Concert Hall & Garden at Spanish Fort
1823 Spanish Fort on the Bayou
1828 Map
1837 Hurricane Destroys the Bayou St. John
1838 New Canal Light
1830 Pontchartrain Railroad
1868 Submarine Find
1868 receipts for the Jewess and Frances
1831 New Basin Canal
1832 Port Ponchartrain/Milneburg Light
1838 Port Ponchartrain Surveyer
1838 New Canal/West End Light
1839 Milneburg
1839 Milneburg
1839 Pontchartrain Railroad
1840 By 1840, New Orleans had become by far the wealthiest and was ranked as the third most populous
1849 Southern Yach Club
1849 Southern Yacht Club
1850 Louisville & Nashville Railroad
1850 West End, Lakeport, Bucktown
1852 Uncle Tom's Cabin
1858 Harper's Magazine
1859 Bruning's
1859 Corpheous
1860's Hurricanes
1861 Most citizens have access to the Lake
1861Bayou St. John's Port, Lake Port (West End), and Port Pontchartrain (Milneburg Port)
1863 Madisonville
1863 Woodcut Civil War engraving
1863 Civil War Military Map
1865 - Civil War Order
1866 - The Little Blue Train
1868 Map
1870 Milneburg Port declines but Jazz flourishes
1870 The Smoky Mary begins
1870 West End
1870 The Lake House is destroyed in a fire
1871 Land is reclaimed at West End
1873 - Plan plan for the redevelopment of the south shore
1873 Spanish Fort
1874 Mark Twain writes about Spanish Fort in Life on the Mississippi
1874 Mark Twain writes about West End in Life on the Mississippi
1875 Rowles Stereograph Photograph titled 'Protection levee Lake Pontchartrain'
1879 Illustration from The Nathanial Bishop book
1880 Smokey Mary
1880 - Alligators at Spanish Fort
1880 - Casino at Spanish Fort
1880 - Opera House at West End
1880 Fountain West End
1880 Hotel West End
1880 West End Pavillion
1880s - Water Polo at West End
1880s Bird's Eye View- New Basin Canal at West End
1880s Bridge over New Basin Canal at West End
1880s Pavilion at West End
1880s Spanish Fort at Bayou St. John
1883 Point-aux-Herbes
1884 - Concert Hall at Spanish Fort
1888 (Papa) Jack Laine forms his first brass band
1890 - 1920 Buddy Bolden's Band plays
1890 Ferdinand (Jelly Roll) Morton is born
1890's West End Garden Amusement Park
1890s - Spanish Fort Train
1890s Ferris Wheel at West End
1890s view of Bayou St. John
1890's Bucktown
Lake Pontchartrain at West End
1891 Painting-the Lake and Milneburg
1892 Map
1893 Woman Lighthouse keeper at Milneburg shelters storm victims
1894 - La Belle Zoraide by Kate Chopin
1895 Lumber Schooner, New Basin Canal
1896 - The first movie in New Orleans was shown at the Lake
1897 - A Night in Acadie by Kate Chopin
1897 - Athénaïse by Kate Chopin
1899 - The Goodness of St. Rocque by Alice Dunbar
1895 Cape Charles Car and Passenger Ferry
1900's Milneburg Walk
1910 Bayou St. John Sailor Girl
1919 Spanish Fort Ad
1929 Port Pontchartrain/Milneburg Light decommissioned
1940's Dig
1960s Kiddieland
August 2005
1. Bayou St. John
2. Milneburg/Pontchartain Beach
Military Installments
Shushan Airport
3. Hayne Blvd. and Beyond
Lincoln Beach
Chef Pass/Fort McComb
Fort Pike & The Rigolets
"Pointe Aux Herbes"
4. Northshore -- Fontainbleau, etc.
5. Western Shores -- Pass Manchac
The German Coast
6. Engineering Marvels -- Spillway
7. Bucktown
8. west end
General Area

The Pontchartrain Railroad was the first railroad west of the Alleghenies and
the first to complete its entire trackage (4.96 miles). Affectionately called
Old Smoky Mary, it was built 1830-31.
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According to the New Orleans Historic Collection, the second
oldest railroad in the United States, was established along Elysian Fields in
1830 and extended about five miles to the town of Milneburg on Lake

Source: New Orleans Historic Collection

Captain John Grant, who was officially connected with the Pontchartrain
Railroad, running out of New Orleans, for a distance of 5½ miles, which was
opened in 1830, says that on that line the coaches were of every design and
pattern, and the appearance of a train of cars was so unique that in comparison
with a train of the present day it was ludicrous in the extreme.


1832 reference to the Pontchartrain Railroad by Buddy Stahl
"Because of the large influx of nonresidents in the French Quarter, New Orleans’ first transportation system was started. The fare in 1832 was 12 1/2 cents. The service began with two small, horse-drawn vehicles. The line ran from Canal to Chartres, down Chartres to Jackson Square, then to the cotton presses on Levee Street. From there it went to the Pontchartrain Railroad depot, located near the river on Elysian Fields Avenue. In a very short time, the service was overloaded, due to the vehicles’ limited carrying capacity. The owners of the line resolved the problem almost immediately. The Louisiana Advertiser newspaper ran an article stating that the two small omnibuses were to be replaced. The new vehicles, built by Messrs. Carter of New York, arrived in New Orleans and were hastily put into service on Dec. 19, 1832. The name given the two were “Cotton Plant” and “Tobacco Plant.” Each carried 14 passengers, comfortably seated, and they were each pulled by four horses. Service began at 7 a.m. and stopped at 7:30 p.m. As an additional service to their customers, the omnibuses also carried letter boxes. For the comfort of its female passengers, a sign in each carriage requested that gentlemen not smoke. " Source:

1830 - Pontchartrain Rail-Road Company is chartered
The Conseil de Ville backed up the state-granted charter to the Pontchartrain Railroad by granting permission for the firm to use what we know today as the Elysian Fields Avenue neutral ground. ~ Capital $500,000. President, WCC Claiborne; Secretary, Jno. B. Leefe; Directors Saml W. Oakey, Gaston Brusle, John B B Vignie, A Plicque, E L Bernard, P Guesnon. ~ Length of the Rail Road from the City to Lake Pontchartrain, about five miles--nearly two tracks of rails completed. The company was chartered in 1830. The road was open for business on the 23d April, 1831. The cost of the road has been $500,000. ~ Officers of the Road--General Superintendent, Hartwell Reed; Chief Engineer, Hamon Turner; Local Superintendent city end, W E Proseus, Ticket Seller city end, J Dumangel; Local Superintendent lake end, R Prouty; Ticket Seller lake end, George L. Brown. ~ The Pontchartrain Railroad derived steady income by carrying mail from the city to its terminus on Lake Pontchartrain for transfer to ships that would then carry it on to Mobile. ~ Source:

1830 - Pontchartrain Rail-Road Company is chartered


1770 Spanish Fort is Established


1863  Woodcut Civil War engraving

1850s West End & Lakeport development begins

The Lake