city of Slidell has shown remarkably rapid growth and development
since its earliest years. Although Slidell's real beginning came with
the railroad in 1881, scattered houses had already been built in the
area as early as 1852. Robert's Landing allowed the Spanish, French,
and American homesteaders to travel by boat along Bayou Bonfouca to
growing city of New Orleans soon needed overland transportation to
the north and east, so the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad came
to build railroad tracks through the present site of Slidell and continuing
to Jackson, Mississippi. The first survey team came in 1881, and during
the following years railroad workers lived in the area and contributed
to the local economy. The first train trip along the finished railroad
took place on October 15, 1883.
1883 the town was surveyed and mapped by the railroad surveyors and
named Slidell Station in honor of John Slidell, a U.S. senator and
Confederate official. Slidell's post office and its telephone and
telegraph lines came in 1884. Two years later Fritz Salmen started
a successful brick-making company that helped the town develop.
Town of Slidell was incorporated on November 13, 1888. The original
town limits enclosed about 2,320 acres of land and were shaped like
a reversed L. The first council meeting concerned the construction
of a jail, which was built together with a mayor's office in 1889.
first public school taught six grades and met in the Knights of Pythis
Hall, which was divided by a curtain into two classrooms. The school
later moved to four-room wooden building and added high-school courses;
the first class graduated in 1909 and had four students. In 1911 the
school had over 300 students and moved to a new three-story building.
In 1924 Slidell's first separate high school was built on Third Street.
the 1960's Slidell was one of the country's fastest growing cities,
more than doubling its population from 14,000 to 30,000. This extraordinary
growth was caused by NASA's Slidell Computer Complex, built in 1962
to support the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the Michoud
Assembly Center in New Orleans. This center brought new residents
to the city, and businesses were created to serve the increasing population.
This created a growth cycle which is still continuing today; Slidell
has become the largest city of St. Tammany Parish.