Slidell, Louisiana was founded in 1883 during construction of a major new railroad from New Orleans to Meridian, Mississippi. The New Orleans and Northeastern (N.O.N.E.) Railroad established a building camp at the first high ground north of Lake Pontchartrain which eventually grew into the city. Slidell was chartered as a town in 1888 by the Louisiana legislature. The town was named after John Slidell, a prominent state, national and Confederate political figure. In the thirty or so years after its founding, Slidell developed a creosote plant, one of the country's largest brick manufacturing facilities, a large lumber mill, and a shipyard which contributed significantly to the nation's effort in both world wars. Slidell residents worked in local ship, tank, and airplane construction during World War II.
In 1907 a two-story, brick building was erected with five jail cells and a marshall's office on the first floor and the mayor's office and a meeting room on the second floor. The cost was $3,685. Although City Hall and the Slidell Police have long since taken new residence, the city converted this old town jail into a museum housing a collection of the history and development of the Camellia City.
The entire building has been recently refurbished with new collections and dynamic displays. Ever wonder who was the first mayor of Slidell or why Olde Towne streets have names like Fremaux, Erlanger, and Bouscaren? Well come for a visit to the Slidell Museum - you'll find the answers lurking downstairs in the old jail cells and on the walls of the marshall's old office. You will see numerous photographs and artifacts dating from Slidell's earliest days to the present.
The old town hall upstairs has been dedicated to a study on the War Between the States from 1861 - 1865, with emphasis on military operations here in Louisiana. This multimedia display includes numerous battle flags, portraits of generals and southern leaders, and Confederate and Union Army uniforms and weapons, all accompanied by concise interpretive text and audio telling the story of the south.