Ashland, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana
The selectable maps and pictures below present facts related to Ashland, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Ashland is a village in the northernmost portion of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States. A few residences and a convenience store to the north spill over into neighboring Bienville Parish. The population was 291 at the 2000 census but declined 9 percent to 269 in 2010. The median age is 45.7 years. Ashland is part of the Natchitoches Micropolitan Statistical Area but is located nearly forty miles to the north of the parish seat of Natchitoches.
The Ashland mayor is W. Gahagan Lee. The village council consists of Wayne Best and Carol Doyle, both Democrats, and Vincent Bown, a Republican. The police chief is Fred Holland, a Democrat. All of the Ashland town officials were unopposed for new terms in the primary election held on October 2, 2010.
On September 2, 2011, a forest fire destroyed ten houses between Ashland and Creston, but residents escaped personal injury. According to Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain, the blaze scorched several thousand acres and was propelled by past drought conditions combined with high winds coming from the aftermath of Tropical Storm Lee in the Gulf of Mexico.
The regional railroad, the Louisiana and Arkansas Railway (1898–1992), owned by William Buchanan, William Edenborn, and later Harvey C. Couch, came through Ashland in 1899. A turntable was constructed on land that was subdivided by Andrew R. Johnson, an Alabama native. Johnson named the community in 1901 after his former city of residence, Ashland in northern Wisconsin. There was a railroad passenger and freight station, equipped with a platform for lifting cotton into the cars. Railroad cross ties were also manufactured in Ashland.
Cotton and corn were the principal crops in Ashland at the turn of the 20th century. The pioneers of Ashland are described in a history penned by H. Welborn Ayres as "fiercely independent", having refused an offer of government grain assistance during the 1896-1898 drought. Joe A. Pullig (1849–1926) operated a general store, later in partnership with William McCain. Pullig's business was near the newly opened United States Post Office, which was managed by the postmaster D.F. "Dave" Williams. Mail at the time reached Ashland by the bayou at Lake Village five miles (8 km) to the west. There was also a Carlile Hotel, long since demolished, which was owned by Tom and Duck Carlile and located east of the railroad track.
No businesses except the convenience store in Bienville Parish exist in Ashland today though there were a half dozen in the 1950s. The Ashland Baptist Church, Village Hall, Masonic lodge hall, and Post Office remain the principal entities. The lack of business in 1979 compelled Welborn Ayres to equate Ashland with "The Deserted Village" of the Oliver Goldsmith poem.