Category Archives: Points of Interest

The Nona Mills Lumber Company | Project Vernon Parish

 Points of Interest

The Nona Mills Lumber Company was one of several timber companies that were found in Vernon Parish in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
The historical marker that is located a the corner of East Mechanic Street and North 1st Street in Leesville reads:


Organized in 1898, the Nona Mills Lumber Company of Nona, Texas established a saw mill at Leesville in 1899.  Company officers were Pres. F. L. Carroll, Vice Pres. G. R. Ferguson, Sec. Treas. J. N. Gilbert, and Asst. Treas. L. B. Pikin.  Serviced by its own 22 mile-long standard gauge tram railroad, the mill daily produced 100,000 board feet of lumber.  By 1904 the mill was shipping 22,000,000 feet of lumber and had 5,000,000 feet in reserve.  Nona Mills was the single greatest contributor to Leesville’s lumber based economy.  It was progressive in its hiring practices and support to the local community.  It had a workforce of 370 loggers and mill hands supported by a monthly payroll of $15,000. In 1905 the company hired Miss Bird Smith as stenographer and Mrs. R. A. Davis as bookkeeper-cashier making it one of the first saw mills in the South to hire women in important positions.  It assited Leesville with a public waterworks, a public swimming pool, ice plant, fire department brass band, and a baseball team, “The Leesville White Sox of the Yellow Pine Sawmill League”.  After a disasterour 1907 fire Nona Mills donated the town a new fire station and equipment.  Truly a major benefactor of Leesville’s growth and success.

Book Nooks – Launch Event

Project Vernon Parish | Points of Interest

On October 14, 2016 the Vernon Parish Book Nook project was launched.  Book Nooks are Vernon Parish’s version of Little Free Libraries and there are 20 of them scattered throughout Vernon Parish with 10 of the them located within the Main Street District in Downtown Leesville. Each Book Nook was decorated by local artists:

Kenneth Frischkorn Cheryl Frischkorn Anat Ronen Tony McDonald Leila Pollard Paula Sche-Baldwin Isabelle Massart-Bursh Sam Bursh Jill Leonard JaNae Manley Ne’andrea Hawkins Stephen Jeane Kim Wallace Jerry Keeton Brittany Arnold Kenny Pollard Sandee Burger Jerry Cook Amanda Craft Jamie Armbruster

Book Nooks are located in the following places:

Kiwanis Park – Mechanic and 2nd Street Sweet Thing Bake Shop 100 Third Street The Polk Outdoor Theater Texas Street Pocket Park Historic Courthouse Third Street Farmer’s Market Tony McDonald Art Studio 4th Street Oak Pointe Aesthetics Museum of West Louisiana MLK Neighborhood Center Magnolia Park at West Elementary Jubilee Park Myrtle Park – Lee Hills Liberty Park – Texas Highway Anacoco Waling Trail – Anacoco, LA Slagle Senior Center – Slagle LA Pitkin Park – Pitkin LA Evans School – Evans LA Leesville Country Club Park

The Book Nooks were funded in part by Michelle Mitchell in honor of her late husband, Judge Jim Mitchell, who was an avid reader.  Each Book Nook carries a plate that reads:  In Memory of Judge James “Jim” Mitchell.”

Additional funding for the project was provided by:

Art 4 the Parks GALLERY ONE EIIIEVEN The Vernon Arts Council The Rapides Foundation The Vernon Parish Tourism Commission

SGT Abe Allen Memorial

Project Vernon Parish | Points of Interest

Sergeant Abraham “Abe” Lincoln Allen was a hero of World War I, serving under General John J. Pershing in Company B of the 28th Infantry Division where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal.

Allen was one Pershing’s One Hundred Heroes – soldiers who performed acts of heroism during WWI.  Allen and two companions were injured by an exploding shell and, despite his injuries, Allen carried the two wounded soldiers to safety amid heavy enemy gunfire.

After the war, Allen returned to Leesville, Louisiana where he worked as a Louisiana State Trooper in Vernon Parish.  His final resting place is in the Ferguson-Dennis Cemetery (known locally as the Leesville Cemetery) – there is a walkway named in his honor that leads to his grave.


Highway 171 Murals & Welcome Signs

Project Vernon Parish | Points of Interest

Highway 171 Murals

Located on Louisiana Highway 171 South in Leesville, Louisiana these murals decorate the underpass created by the Kansas City Southern Railway bridge.  Commissioned in 2013 by the City of Leesville from local artist Les Comeaux.


The mural on the right depicts the Kansas City Southern Railroad with rail cars that showcase Vernon Parish communities and sawmills that helped shape this area.


Welcome Signs

“Leesville Welcomes You” is located on the embankment on Highway 171 South and “God Bless You” is on the embankment on Highway 171 North.  These signs were purchased by local residents and, with the permission of the City of Leesville, installed to welcome people to the city.


Welcome to Vernon Parish

When entering Vernon Parish from Highway 171 South (Hornbeck), Highway 171 North (Rosepine), and Highway 28 West you will see these “Welcome to Vernon Parish” signs.  These signs were installed by the Vernon Parish Police Jury to welcome people to the parish.


Painted Fire Hydrants

Project Vernon Parish | Points of Interest

In 2014, Taylor and Kelsey Anderson painted fire hydrants in the downtown area of Leesville as their Girl Scout Gold Award Project.  The hydrants are primarily located in Leesville Historic District and along US Highway 171; they feature a number of designs and styles.

On 3rd Street, nearly all the hydrants are painted in the patriotic theme (there are quite a few of these) and I came across a couple of dalmatian dogs, one of which is in front of the Leesville Fire Department.  The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Leesville City Police also have hydrants dedicated to them.