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Burnside Sugar HouseThe next time you visit Oliphant Images Firehouse Gallery in The Cajun Village, make sure to take a good look at the historic photographs that are part of the historic photo museum in the building. The old photographs date almost all the way back to the Civil War and depict life in the Ascension Parish area and along River Road over the last 150+ years.

In honor of the commencement of the sugarcane harvest last week, I am going to profile one of those pictures in this post. The old photograph above is of the Burnside Sugar House, which operated in Burnside from 1875 to 1911. The Miles’ Sugar Operation (aka Miles Planting and Manufacturing Company) was the largest and most efficient in the nation at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Sugarcane from seven Miles’ plantations (Monroe, Orange Grove, Conway, Clark, Donaldson, Riverton, and Rearwood) was moved by steam trains operating on narrow gauge tracks to the central processing plant in the picture above. The sugar house was situated on Clark Plantation. It was located on the west side of Highway 44, about 3/4 of a mile north of the present day railroad crossing on Highway 44, which would have put it right across the street from The Cabin Restaurant.

Harvesting sugarcane in Ascension Parish in 2013

Harvesting sugarcane in Ascension Parish in 2013