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.
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
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
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
The city also hosts a large strawberry festival
in the spring.
Visit the town's website at www.ponchatoula.com
for further information.