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Ponchatoula Commercial Historic District

The city derived its name from the Choctaw Indian language, referring to the abundance of Spanish moss on trees in the area.

Photographs from the National Register collection

Within the heart of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, "America's Antique City" famous for its artisan and craftsmen exhibitions, lies the Ponchatoula Commercial Historic District. The city derived its name from the Choctaw Indian language, referring to the abundance of Spanish moss on trees in the area.

The Pine Street corridor between Railroad Avenue and Sixth Street is, within the context of the Florida Parishes, a superior example of a small town, turn-of-the-century commercial zone. Within Tangipahoa Parish, the Ponchatoula Commercial Historic District is noted for its historic role in strawberry production, an industry of crucial importance.

Strawberry production displaced cotton as the "money crop" of the parish by 1910, and by the 1920s, strawberry production precipitated an economic boom, supplying the entire mid-western market.

The Ponchatoula Commercial Historic District comprises an area of three streets of predominantly early 20th-century commercial buildings.

There are 67 buildings within the district, most are constructed of brick, and the majority are one-story high. The only exception to this is the West Pine Street Corridor from Railroad Avenue to 6th Street where two-story buildings dominate the streetscape.

Here covered wooden galleries shading shop fronts and apartments above the galleries are characteristic of commercial buildings in downtown areas in the 1890s to 1900s.

Other commercial buildings that are included in the historic district represent the change in the design of these types of edifices from 1911 on. The buildings constructed after this time are one-story, and plain in comparison. A one-story commercial warehouse, once a strawberry packing plant, stands on 113 East Hickory Street.

There are 30 major towns in the Florida Parishes, most of which possess some 1920s commercial buildings and a few have a scattering of earlier, more richly ornamented commercial buildings.

The Ponchatoula Commercial Historic District is bounded by 5th, 7th, W. Hickory, and W. Oak Sts. in the center of Ponchatoula, off Hwy. 51. The cafes, antique stores, and other businesses within the district are all open to the public during normal business hours.

The city also hosts a large strawberry festival in the spring.

Visit the town's website at www.ponchatoula.com for further information.