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Abita Springs Pavilion
Courtesy of the Capital Resource Conservation and Development Council
  Historic views of the Pavilion from the early 1900s
Photographs from the National Register collection

The Abita Springs Pavilion, constructed in 1888, is important for its historic role as a popular resort spot for New Orleans residents from the late 19th century through the 1960s. When covering the renewed interest in preserving the Pavilion in 1972, one New Orleans newspaper printed, "There are scores of New Orleanians who nostalgically remember their childhoods when their parents took them to Abita Springs for the summer." A raised, wooden, octagonal structure, 46 feet high and 52.6 feet in diameter, the Pavilion has a concrete foundation with four drinking fountains, now capped, where visitors could sip from the springs. In 1867, a local physician, Dr. T. M. D. Davidson, purchased the property upon which the Pavilion was built. Dr. Davidson knew of the local Choctaw Indians' belief in the healing powers of the springs and promoted the medicinal effects of the spring waters. Word of the springs spread to neighboring communities and, in 1887, the first railroad arrived to the area. Boarding houses, hotels, and restaurants were soon constructed to accommodate visitors.

In 1888, the St. Tammany Farmer reported on the construction of the Abita Springs Pavilion, "Messrs. Poitivent and Favre have built a commodious pavilion over the springs, so constructed as to be beyond the reach of high water." An article entitled "Life at Abita Springs" from the same newspaper described the "pleasure seekers from among the wage-workers and counter hoppers of the great Southern Emporium.all who can move around light, out for a ramble to the springs and through the pinewoods.or can recline upon the seats of the ample pavilion. There are four well kept and commodious hotels in a few hundred yards of the main Artesian Saline Calebian Springs." In 1903 the town of Abita Springs was formally organized and later chartered in 1912. The State of Louisiana purchased the Pavilion in 1948 and added it to the state park system. In 1965, the St. Tammany Parish School Board purchased the property. It is now used for numerous community activities.

The Abita Springs Pavilion is located at the end of Main St. in Abita Springs. The Pavilion is part of a local park always open to the public, with a playground and picnic areas overlooking the Abita River. The yearly Abita Spring Water Festival in October brings the town's many organizations, clubs, the two schools and the residents of Abita together for a day-long celebration, and visitors are welcome. Call 985-892-0711 for further information.

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