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.
Though there certainly wasn't many, a few hardy pioneers established homes in the Vernon Parish area even before the Louisiana Purchase. Life was difficult with their homes so far from established settlements, but they learned to produce what they needed -- they survived as subsistence farmers supplemented by hunting and fishing, and became self-sufficient and accustomed to a rugged life.
Living so far apart as they did, early pioneers developed close relationships with neighbors who were often relatives as well, frequently helping each other out with larger jobs. Making a life in No Man's Land and having only close relatives to count on, residents often developed a strong sense of clannishness to protect themselves.
Therefore, when Joseph Willis first traveled to the Pitkin area in the early 1800's, there were already some residents. According to historians, "Father Willis" often walked from place to place, frequently swimming his mule across dangerous streams to bring the gospel to isolated settlers. He established Occupy Baptist Church No. 1 and Occupy Baptist Church No. 2 in the area now known as Pitkin.
When a Mr. Milam built a water mill at the fork of Big and Little Six Mile Creeks, the community of "Slabtown" quickly sprang up nearby. Mr. A. Thornton, a merchant from New Jersey, established a business in the town and when the first post office was built, the town was re-named "Lydia" to honor his daughter.
When the railroad arrived in Pitkin, the name was changed again, this time to honor one of the workers (Mr. Pitkin) who was killed while building the railroad.The railroad's arrival allowed the town to boom along with all the other lumber towns in the area. And just as quickly, it was over. The trees were gone and the mills abandoned. Businesses closed and even the railroad was eventually shut down.
Today, Pitkin is a rural community in the southeast corner of Vernon Parish with a school and several businesses. It is home to the Pitkin Market, a pavilion used by locals for events. Visitors along the byway can stop to stretch their legs and learn more about the surrounding area.
At Strother's Country Store you can purchase gas and groceries or get a plate lunch, chicken dinner, or Hunt's Brothers Pizza.
Lamright's Grocery offers gas, groceries, cast iron pots, gifts, and hardware. Tiger Pride Cafe is right next door. Then and Now, a flea market located on Hwy. 10 slightly west of Pitkin, has a wide variety of used goods. The town is located on the Myths and Legends Byway.