Vernon Parish is proud of its history as a part of "No Man's Land" along what was the disputed border with Mexico. Outlaws and bandits as well as heroes and soldiers made their mark on this fertile soil. Louisiana's Legend Country celebrates their stories that shaped the culture of today. Enjoy our historic heritage and hospitality as well as our many outdoor adventures of today.
City of Leesville
The city of Leesville was established as the parish seat in 1871, after the parish was created from parts of Rapides, Natchitoches, and Sabine parishes, although it wasn't incorporated until 1900. Dr. Edmund E. Smart donated a portion of his plantation for the town, including the entire city block for the Vernon Parish Courthouse. He served as treasurer for the new city in 1871 and went on to serve in the Louisiana House and Senate.
Dr. Smart's father, John R. Smart, lived on his own plantation called the Retreat which was located about 4 miles north of Leesville. He had served in the Louisiana House and Senate, both before and after the Civil War, and had actually introduced the act which created the new parish. He named the new city "Leesville" in honor of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
The town grew slowly until the railroad's arrival in 1897 allowed faster and easier transport of goods and provided transportation for visitors to and from the area. The lumber industry immediately took advantage of the opportunity and the city grew rapidly to meet the needs of the rapidly expanding population.
Parish population skyrocketed again in 1940, when the US Army established Camp Polk during the Louisiana Maneuvers. Leesville businessmen were quick to respond and the city prospered. Leesville today, continues to serve as the center for parish activities. Travelers to the city will find outstanding accommodations and a host of recreational opportunities.
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