More than 200 years have passed since the establishment of St. Tammany Parish, but there were people here before that, and it bore other names. It has been part of Spain, France, England, Spain again, the Republic of West Florida — when it was known as St. Ferdinand and Union— the united States, the Confederate States of America and, finally, the United States of America again.  Although one of the largest parishes in the state, it is only about a quarter of its original size. When originally created, it included all of Washington Parish and Tangipahoa Parish to the Tangipahoa River."  -Frederick S. Ellis, St. Tammany, a Bicentennial Celebration

Key Milestones

1810 St. Tammany Parish was established out of the West Florida Rebellion against Spanish authority. Governor of Louisiana William Claiborne commented, “Civil authority remains weak and lax in West Florida especially in the region near the Pearl River, where the influence of the law is scarcely felt.” This included the area including St. Tammany.  After 74 days the Republic of South Florida was annexed by the United States.  (Dr. Hyde, The Florida Parish Chronicles)
1810 Police Jury meetings were held as the form of local government.  They were semi annual in January and July.  The Jury would often have to wait 3 or 4 days until a quorum was present to begin the Parish meetings.  They would often last up to 5 or 6 days.
1810 The only remaining building in Camp Salmen was built circa 1800-1810.  It is of historical and architectural significance.  The structure is a French Creole residence and one of only 26 buildings in the parish which date before the Civil War.  It has been named the Salmen Lodge, and is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
1813 Town of Wharton founded; the name was changed to Covington after General Leonard Covington of the War of 1812.  The City of Covington was formally incorporated and renamed in 1816, and established as the St. Tammany Parish seat in 1829. 
1821 First steamboat crosses Lake Pontchartrain.  This became a very popular means of transportation to the northshore.
1934 Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville acquired the land from the lakeshore to Fontainebleau Plantation, founding the Town of Mandeville.
1834 The first local hotel in St. Tammany Parish opened for business on July 4th.
1837 The Steamboat Pontchartrain begins running to Mandeville, Lewisburg, Madisonville and Covington, landing for three days per week with regular Sunday excursions.  Multiple steamboats were soon crossing the lake for excursions to these towns and Abita Springs.
1838 The Madisonville Lighthouse was built to help guide vessels across Lake Pontchartrain to the Tchefuncte River’s entrance. The lighting apparatus was supplied by Winslow Lewis, and Benjamin Thurston served as the light’s first keeper. (lighthousefriends.com)
1850s U.S. Government announces that the Northshore is the 2nd healthiest place in the country.  So few deaths occurred the area from Yellow Fever and Malaria that physicians thought the ozone air helped diseases of the lungs and throat.
1859 L’Abbe Adrien Rouquette, the renowned poet-priest “Chahta Ima”, makes his home on the banks of Bayou Lacombe as a missionary among the Choctaw Native Americans.
1874 The St. Tammany Farmer begins publishing.  It is the oldest continuously operating business in St. Tammany. Today’s publisher is Karen Goodwyn
1876 H J. Smith and Sons Hardware founded on Columbia Street in Covington.
1878 Yellow fever outbreak in New Orleans. People believed in the medicinal powers of the ozone waters of the Northshore and visited hotels in Covington to bathe and partake of “the cure.”
1882 Slidell founded during the construction of a major new railroad from New Orleans to Meridian, MS. Slidell was chartered as a town in 1888 by the LA Legislature.
1885 Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Association created by a group of citizens led by Olivia Eunio.  The Dew Drop Jazz and Social Hall was built in 1895.  It reopened as a live music venue in 2000.
1885 Beer costs 5 cents a glass, haircuts 20 cents, eggs 20 cents a dozen, coffee 20 cents a pound, sugar 10 cents a pound and cheese was 10 cents a pound.  - Mr. Kentzels Covington by Carol Sanders Jahnke.
1887 The East Louisiana Railroad is completed from New Orleans to St. Tammany Parish, connecting Slidell, Lacombe, Mandeville, and Abita Springs. Covington is connected in 1888
1898 Pearl River was founded.  On July 13, 1898, it petitioned the state for Village status.  May 24, 1906 – Pearl River is granted Village status.
1904 Folsom was founded by George Finlayson.  He is said to have named the town after President Grover Cleveland’s wife, Francis Folsom Cleveland.  The Village of Folsom was incorporated in 1915.
1907 The Dixon Academy, a private school with William A. Dixon as principal opens. The school is later renamed St. Paul’s Academy.
1908 Slidell High School is established.  In 1915, Slidell High School opened to all pupils in the parish, free of tuition.  1918 – First accredited high school in St. Tammany Parish, the new Slidell High School, is built at Carey and Brakefield Streets.
1912 St. Tammany Parish was divided into ten school districts with the same limits and boundaries of the wards of the parish.

Town of Abita Springs was chartered.  It was first organized in 1903.

1928 The first bridge across Lake Pontchartrain to connect St. Tammany to New Orleans opens. It is known as Pontchartrain Toll Bridge, the Watson-Williams Bridge, Five-mile Bridge, and in 1938, the Maestri Bridge, when it became a free State bridge. This is now the US Hwy 11 Bridge. 
1934 Louisiana's State Parks System was created.  The area now known as Fontainebleau State Park was purchased, and in 1938 Fontainebleau State Park was established. State Parks, Refuges and Preserves in St. Tammany include: Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge, White Kitchen Preserve, Charter Oak Preserve, Lake Ramsay Preserve, Big Branch National Wildlife Refuge, Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve, Talisheek Pine Wetlands Preserve, and Tchefuncte Marshes Preserve.
1950 Author Dr. Walker Percy moves to Covington.  He won the National Book Award for fiction for The Moviegoer (1962).  He remained in Covington where he continued to write most of his works until his death in 1990.
1954 St. Tammany Parish Hospital was established.  It had 16 beds, 2 physicians and 18 employees. Today it has 237 Beds, 360 physicians and 1710 employees, making it the largest hospital in the parish and the second-largest employer.
1955 Playmakers Theater founded.  It is a non profit, voluntary amateur community theater.
1956 On August 30, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway opens.  The 23.83-mile bridge cost 51 million dollars and is the longest overwater highway bridge in the world.  The second span opened May 1969.  Starting in May 1999, tolls were no longer collected North bound.