Incorporated in 1903, DeRidder, Louisiana (originally named Schovall) has a small town feel with a rich history. Named for Ella de Ridder, a young girl who ran away from her home in the Netherlands at a very young age. She was the sister-in-law of Jan de Goeijen, who brought the first railroad to that part of Louisiana. By 1898 trains were running through the town and the population grew. The town now had a sawmill (timber being the prime industry of the area), many homes, a hotel, and 5 stores.
In April of 1904 a large area of the town was destroyed by a fire caused by a gambler. It didn’t take long for the townspeople to rise up and start rebuilding. They opened their first bank in 1906, and in 1914 the famous Beauregard Parish Jail was built, which still stands to this day.
The Beauregard Parish Jail, known known as “the hanging jail”, is considered to be one of the most distinctive Gothic architectural buildings of its type in the United States. It was built to hold about 50 prisoners, and was used by the whole parish. In 1928 there was a double execution by hanging in the jail, both criminals receiving this sentence for murder. After this, it became known as “the hanging jail”. After many years of stories, claiming that the jail is haunted, it finally opened up for tours in 2016. Make sure to stop by and check out the beautiful architecture of this old building, and maybe you’ll run into some of it’s past residents as well.
Written by Fancy Hands assistants