Addis is home to nearly 5000 residents, many may not know the town’s unique history. Once known as “Baton Rouge Junction” it was once a major connecting station for trains and their passengers traveling the country in the late 1800’s to mid-1900s.
“Not many people know about Addis’ history”, said Mayor Carroll Bourgeois. “I am truly proud of our history and everyone should be aware of it” Bourgeois explained that in 1871, Congress granted a charter for a military and post road railroad to be established to carry mail, men and supplies for the country from texas to New Orleans. By 1882 the railroad was completed, and ti carried not only military, Bu passengers and freight. With the junction, the community of Addis was born.
The community was called Baton Rouge Junction until it was named after John Wesley Addis, an official with the Texas and Pacific Railroad Company and the Superintendent of Motive and Rolling Stock. He Established many buildings in the community. In 1915, the Village of Addis was incorporated; and George E. Brooksh, a railroad employee and telegrapher, was named Addis’ first mayor.
By 1919, the Bank of Addis was established. Chartered by William Gassie Jr., the bank failed after the 1929 stock market crash. It was later used as a grocery and store and post office until 1981.
The town purchased the building in 1988 to use as a museum for its historical artifacts such as railroad, local military and individual memorabilia exhibits of the town. In 1992, it was placed on the National Registry of Historic Place and stands as one of the oldes buildings in the area.
The railroad junction is largely responsible for the growth of Addis through the early to mid 1900’s. An excursion train round-trip special offered passengers a trip from Addis to New Orleans for $1 in the 1930’s. When the Dow Chemical Co. broke ground on its chemical plant in 1956, it brought new employment and more railroad traffic. It was followed by Copolymer in 1966. Progress continued as La. Hwy 1 was four-laned through the village. The village became a town in 1977, with a population of 1,245 and the municipal center was completed in 1992.
Today with a population of almost 5,000, Mayor Bourgeois expected the town to become a city within a few years, and it all started with the Railroad.