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Run to the Border 9 Jennings

This page is finished though completely out of control. Once in a while I hit a "vein" of information that runs and runs and I can't stop pursuing it. That's what has happened here. In fact, I have to go back and add to previous pages excerpts from Louisiana: A Guide to the State by the Federal Writer's Project.

I knew this would happen. This page is growing. Before we get into Jennings there are places between Lake Charles and Jennings that need explaining. It is not a vast emptiness to be ignored. Here's a HUGE MAP showing the communities that are there. And, RR people, the old lines that are gone are shown, also, along with the communities they went to. So, click it to enlarge, then click back. Or, open it in a new window.

The fact that these places had sidings and yards reflects industry in the area.
I'm including little pieces of the railroad map for each locality and then all the
cool information I can find. Luke warm info will not be entered.

This from here on Lake Charles first:


The Lake Charles train station was opened at its current location on December 21, 1999. Set back a short distance from the tracks, it was modeled after a Texas & Orleans Railroad station that was located across the street on South Railroad Avenue, which burned down in the late 1980s. Today’s station is a 1,200 square-foot building constructed of redbrick and a metal-clad roof. The depot includes a terminal, a decorative waiting area, an office used by the caretaker, and restrooms. The new train station was an initiative sponsored by former Lake Charles’ then Mayor Willie Mount, Amtrak, and Player’s River Casino.

Lake Charles became connected to the rest of the nation by rail in the late 19th century. The advent of rail travel changed the ambiance of the town, with daily trains running from Vermilionville (Lafayette) to Houston, with more than 800 freight cars passing through Lake Charles in October 1880. On April 2, 1880, the Louisiana Western Railroad transported from Lacassine to Lake Charles the first shipment of country produce ever delivered by rail.

In the nearby town of DeQuincy, the historic Kansas City Southern Depot now serves as the DeQuincy Railroad Museum, a museum that pays tribute to the railroad’s importance to the town’s history. DeQuincy was laid out in 1896 when the main line of the Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Gulf Railroad reached the area. The Kansas City Southern and the Union Pacific Railroads contributed greatly to the local economy throughout the years. The museum boasts a 1913 steam locomotive, a passenger car, a caboose, and many other railroad artifacts.

The city of Lake Charles was occupied by several Native American tribes until European settlers arrived in the 1760s, the first of which came from Bordeaux, France. Lake Charles was originally named Charles Town in honor of one of the area’s first European settlers, Charles Sallier. On March 7, 1861, Lake Charles was officially incorporated as a town under the name Charleston. Six years later, the town was renamed Lake Charles after many expressed discontent with the name Charleston.

The city’s growth was due mainly to the lumber industry. Timber sales from the area’s bald cypress and longleaf pine generated the city’s revenue. In 1855, Captain Daniel Goos, a German by birth, moved to Lake Charles and set up a lumber mill and a schooner dock, now called Goosport. He promoted trade with both Texas and Mexico. After the Civil War, many Victorian mansions were built in Lake Charles using wood from the city’s pine mills. Today, this historic district is known as the Charpentier district.

Lake Charles is the fifth-largest city in Louisiana, and one of the most important cultural centers in Acadiana (the region in Southwest Louisiana settled by French Canadians). Lake Charles is often referred to as the Festival Capital of Louisiana, celebrating 75 festivals annually.In May, Lake Charles residents recognize “Contraband Days,” one of the largest festivals in Louisiana, reenacting pirate Jean Lafitte’s capture of the city’s port and hurling the mayor into the lake. As is tradition in South Louisiana, Mardi Gras krewes parade through the streets during Carnival Season. Other festivals include the Marshland Festival and the Cajun Music and Food Festival.

Amtrak does not provide ticketing and baggage services at this facility.

Lake Charles is served by tri-weekly trains.

Back to the ride: BTW, do you remember Goos Ferry Rd? You were there 4 pages ago.

Here we'll take a look at:

Mallard Junction, US165, Lacassine, Welsh, Roanoke, then Jennings.

Mallard Junction {which I believe has been eaten by the I 210}.
The "junction" part of the name comes from what is described below.
It is where the Lake Arthur branch left the main line.

This is from Wikipedia which noted this source:

This is a historical description of a railroad which was later owned by the Southern Pacific.
Much of that track is gone. I have followed the Midland to Abbeville branch and the Midland to Mamou Branch which I believe was later owned by the Texas and Pacific. Of course we are following the branch from the Texas border to Lafayette. Al and I will follow the branch to/from Lake Arthur to/from Lake Charles. Then we might do the route down from Iowa to the Lake Arthur branch. He just called and wants to leave earlier. He works 7:30 to 3:30 so he thinks the world awakens at 5AM. Not my world. He'll still be honking at 7 Am. That's why I keep a pellet gun. Read that, Al?

Here's what it says:

The railroad of the Louisiana Western Railroad Company, hereinafter called the Louisiana Western, is a single-track, standard-gage, steam railroad, located in the southern part of Louisiana. The owned mileage extends eastwardly from the Texas-Louisiana State line at Sabine River to Lafayette, a distance of 105.888 miles, with branch lines from Mallard Junction to Lake Arthur, from Midland to Abbeville, and from Midland to Mamou, aggregating 102.219 miles, or a total main-line mileage of 208.107 miles. The Louisiana Western also owns and uses 75.084 miles of yard tracks and sidings. Its road thus embraces 283.191 miles of all tracks owned.

The Louisiana Western forms a part of the Atlantic System of the Southern Pacific Company and its main line is an important link in that carrier's through transcontinental route from New Orleans to San Francisco.

From the date the property was placed in operation, July 1, 1881, until February 28, 1885, the Louisiana Western was operated by its own organization. From March 1, 1885, until December 31, 1901, the property was exclusively operated by the Southern Pacific Company, under lease. From the latter date until December 31, 1917, it was operated by its own organization. On January 1, 1918, its common-carrier property was taken over and operated by the United States Railroad Administration and is so operated on date of valuation.

Beginning with Mallard Junction, you can see the extended rails going southeast
and a branch of it returns to Iowa where it joins the route to Alexandria.
Another new area has just opened up for History Hunts. Al and I are
headed off Monday and this is where we are going so I'll leave this alone
for now. It is funny that the first stop is Hippie. I could expand, but I won't.
Yet. Here's a super large map to show you what I'm talking about. Click it! Any
contributions would be appreciated to help explain the history of those rails
which is an important asset in understanding the area.

This will be fun. It's the only stretch I have left to do.

Back to 90, moving east from Mallard Junction, the first community you come to is Chloe (clo E).

There's not much to be found for "Chloe". By me, anyway.

Here's the "Write Rant".
Click: Chloe is Jack Bower's main gal on 24. She is a true patriot as is he.
JB for President. Dick Cheney back at the CIA. Get those Chicago goons out of there before a second Civil War has to take place. With Big Bro you will have to buy "insurance". It's the MOB all over again, don't you get it? Al Capone Obamma. What will happen if you don't. He'll rip you off for 2% of your gross income. That's in his "health bill". You'll need money, guns and lawyers, cause the sh_t will have hit the fan.
"Write Rant" is over. Resume your escapre from reality time, I am.

The La. RR Commission of 1906 listed these judgments concerning cotton and then charcoal.
You don't think of cotton this far south, but yes, it was grown everywhere. Now you see wheat instead of sugarcane in places.

I still can't find much mentioning "Chloe".

Next down the line is Iowa, local pronunciation, "I-oh-way".
Andy related a little history here. There was a large migration of Iowans and they
named their center of settlement "Iowa". I cannot explain the pronunciation. I will
get more from Andy as it has been a while since he related that.

This is from the Federal Writer's Project of the 1930's.

I found one of the answers to the "Iowa migration" . It's mentioned in the Jennings information.

The new town of Jennings was being developed, named for
Jennings McComb, an engineer with the Southern Pacific RR.
BTW, the mileage figures you see are distances from the TX

More near Iowa:

Next is the rail junction at the juncture of US 90 and US 165.
The north route goes to Alexandria through Oakdale.

Lacassine is next.

Below from Wikipedia:

One story about the name is that a tribe of Comanche Indians, led by their chief Lacassine, migrated to southwest Louisiana to hunt and fish in the early 1800s, settling near this place.

Another states this part of the parish was visited regularly by different tribes of the area, including Attakapas and Choctaw. Game was abundant here, and the Indians called it their "hunting ground," or, in the Choctaw language, La Cassine. However, the phrase sounds more French than Indian.

More from HERE.

This was the name of a very large area of this part of southwest Louisiana (most of current Jefferson Davis Parish, and small portions of Cameron and Calcasieu Parishes). "La Cassine" is an Indian word meaning "hunting ground". After the railroads came through the area in the 1880's, a station in the area was called Rice Station and the local school was also called Rice (ref. exhibit 3). I also found an old map of Southwest Louisiana, dated 1908, showing the town of Rice - see exhibit 3. In the early 1900's the name Lacassine came to apply only to the current town and the name Rice was gradually dropped.

Next is Welsh.

Wonder where that name came from?

The Federal Writer's Project, a huge source of information gathered in the 30's had this to say.

Ghost sightings.

I don't know what they are smoking out on US 90, but it must be strong.

Next is Roanoke.

Federal Writer's Project:

I have to quit here and will be back. Some of Jennings is below. Much more to come.

I've explored Jennings a few times. Al had connections here when he had his PI agency and Andy still lives there using it as a base camp while he explores the continent. At first I thought of only posting my "passing through" pictures. Then I decided to put everything I have now using the "Fire all of your guns at once, explode into space" attitude. You know, all the chips on the table and throw the dice approach. What is there to lose?

Jennings, Federal Writer's Project:

The old Southern Pacific does a 45 degree through Jennings, so would I.

I was coming from that northwest corner following US 90.
That says, "Nezpique Street". (Nez P K) It's a local bayou.
Might be an Indian word possibly meaning "stick your tongue out".

I zoomed out and decided that would be my next stop. I'd just '
zig zag my way where needed. BTW, hubcap alert! Or is that
an Indian symbol or chrome tambourine? Remember the song
"My Green Tambourine". Yea, now you're humming it and it
won't go away. Have a great Saturday.

I just noticed that both warehouses had loading doors. There
was a siding there I missed. Too wore out, too extended, that's
my excuse, again.

Andy to the rescue. I just checked out his Jennings shots and
this has to be the rail side.

Here you can see the trucking side docks on the same white

Andy's again. Could this be the second building's rail side?

Panning right. No Purina Feeds sign goes unshot. Yea, it's
there between the 2 white trucks. Remember, all these
shots are "thumbs". Click them and the large versions appear.

A Nutrena sign.

So, what's the deal? My uncle had a feed store in Antlers, OK.
I know everything about them, the smells, the dust, and the
work involved in making them go.

This big old home caught my eye.

I doubled back on the west side of the tracks. I think this was
the area of the rail yard. When you find wide open spaces
next to RR tracks, that is a good hint of a previous yard or
old mill, whatever.
Besides, my GPS showed it.

Before we leave this area, here's one of Andy's, labeled,
"Old track path heading west". The recent looking patch
marks the alignment. Could it be the side track? How did
I miss it? I thought I'd crossed all the crossings. Geeze.

Here's Andy's prize shot: The Jennings railroad terminal.
There is a large field behind it, it seems. If you look closely
you can see the existing rails to the far right. I see no down-
town buildings so I'm guessing this shot is taken from the
northeast looking southwest? I don't have any reference shots
to verify my guess.

Andy had this to add.

Where the street was patched is where the side tracks use to run for delivering freight to all the buildings. It was a very busy place in the 50's and 60's and even into the '70's . If memory serves me near right, there were about 2 or 3 sets of tracks off the main rails. I used to practice my stunting on them with my old bikes.

Back on the streets, this place grabbed me. Might be the name?

It looks like the place Al described as his investigation agency offices.
Or, maybe they were here?

Moving east along the tracks on the southeast side of town,
these shots were taken. The architecture of this building say
Southern Pacific to me but as it has been explained, certain
styles of building were common.

Looking s.e.

Looking n.w. street side:

Looking n.w. rail side.

And centered. See the same old building in the distance?

And Al, your previous client, Fred, is closing down.
His bother J. Paul is now selling gold, some make it,
some don't. Nevertheless, Fred didn't get mixed up
in that Watergate mess.

The sign say, "Everything must go". How true.

The next shots are Andy's.

Looking back at Fred's and the RR.

One of the great old homes in Jennings:
I bet they have shades on their windows.

My guess on the building was wrong. Andy added this:

The More Mileage building [that's the brown sign on the building] on Main was a known stop on the advertisement for the Old Spanish Trail back in the late 30's and 40's. It was a super service station. It slowly degenerating to a sports shop through the 70's and 80's that also sold snow cones before its closing due to deterioration about 5 or so years back. At one time , from east to west, US 90 came right down Railroad St. making it's right turn on Main Street before the old train depot.

A customer waits patiently. Bubba, you'll be there a while.
You get great mileage going nowhere.

And, what does a rice drier do?
Here one closes the show on the rail district of south Jennings.

As the case often happens, I can't find my Jennings pictures.
Too many categories, too much confusion. I'll add them when
they pop up, yea right.


Run to the Border 8

The Map:

I came from the west (left) and turned north retracing my ride.
I had seen a Southern Pacific boxcar and wanted to shoot it on
my return. I find it strange I remembered. The KCS tracks
are the top ones, the UP are the lower east-west tracks for
those that care and trust my guess. Now the fun stuff. I was at
a cross track just to the left of where you see "Train Shots".

Hum, "KCS Connection". I must have been in an important place?
I love confluences of waterways, crossroads and cross tracks.
I've never had that diagnosed. We all remember Cream's
rendition of Cross Tracks and that famous line, "I went down to
the cross tracks for to catch a ride". Great memories. Great song.
I can hear Jack Bruce's bass as I write.

Looking east. There's my car.

Could the "MP" seen on the next car signify Missouri Pacific.
Was I in a museum?

This is looking south at a continuation of that line of cars.
What's a Hydra Cushion? A Hydra is a muti headed snake?
At first I thought it said "Hydro Cushion" which sounded
like a pretty good addition for my bike's seat from hell.
A muti headed snake seat would be no improvement,
though similar .

This page has brought out the experts. First Everett took
a break from rebuilding the Red River and Gulf at that
Southern Forest Heritage Museum and then Marion, the
house expert on all things lumber mill oriented had this to
say about the "HydraCushion" box cars.

"The HydraCushion rail car was another development of International Paper Co. It has a long travel coupler with springs and shock absorbers to lessen the impact of coupling and making up long strings of rail cars. They sold the patents and manufacturing rights to Union Car company in the 1960's, I believe. I.P.was quite a power house of patents and innovation in the 1950's and 1960's for paper processes, products and engineering. Because their staff engineers were old operating and construction personnel they could design, build and put a paper mill on line faster then anyone else in the 1960's and 70's. I.P. developed the paper milk carton and sold the patent and manufacturing rights to a subsidiary company called Excello".

You don't get that info in the Sunday paper.

Now here's Everett's reply to my mentioning the old company names on the cars.

"Just a note on reporting marks on RR cars and locomotives".
"A railroad is limited to 4 digit numbers on Locomotives, and 6 digits on freight cars. With all of the mega mergers that have created our 4 big systems, all 4 of them are approaching or surpassing those limits and the UP has the biggest problem of all. The solution is that UP is allowed to use all of the reporting marks of the companies that it has absorbed, so you often see: MP,C&NW, SP, D&RGW, WP, TP markings on freight cars that all belong to UP. UP is still renumbering locomotives to try and get them all in, but rather than use any of its "subsidiary" companies, UP created the marks UPY which stand for UP yard loco, and they number the yard or switch engines with that mark and number".

I know, that's a little technical for some, but not others. It is the tip of the iceburg for v8 rail enthusiast. I've still got my training wheels.

Back to the ride.

I looked back at the cross tracks and started to leave, thinking,
"Shucks, I guess there won't be a train today". That worked
back in Pineville.

I looked down the tracks one more time.

I get an award for that one. It didn't stop for the shot.

Headed for Orange.

I next went south of I-10 for the ride home. The clouds
kept it bearable. I returned to 90 after its escape from
Lake Charles where its route had changed many times.

The next point of interest was the terminus of US 165.

A deserted full service gas station marks the once busy junction.

Between Lake Charles and Jennings it's open country, the coastal
plain I spoke of. Being south of where we were earlier, the "coastal"
part seems more relevant.

This is also a self awarded award winning shot.

The road stretched out toward Jennings.

I have no idea of the significance of the next shot.

I may give myself another award in the Misc Category.
Jennings is next. Put on your track walking shows. (Little Feat)
And I'll be your Dixie Chicken.

Jennings Next. All aboard. CLICK HERE TO GO TO JENNINGS
PS: I assume everyone knows all these railroad names and can associate the initials I use. For the record, KCS is not "Knights of Columbus in Sulfur". KCS stands for Koni's Citrus Stand, a great place to get your fill of grapefruit juice. Sorry for the confusion.