If only Darel Zachary was around to see what became of his farm, he might have stuck around the area a bit longer. Named for the unfortunate farmer who sold off his land and left in the late 1800s, the City of Zachary has a history full of anecdotal charm and national significance.
The community’s story begins with the aforementioned Zachary, who owned a farm that encompassed most of the land that is now the city. Wealthy with crops and livestock, Zachary was one of the most prominent agricultural figures in the south until 1883 when the Illinois Central Railroad built a track through his land. The development took little time to cut in on Zachary’s livestock, as passing trains took out many of the farmer’s pigs and cows. A frustrated Zachary quickly sold his 160 acres to George Brown for $100 and left the area, leaving behind only his name as a legacy.
In the years following, the town became a hub of trade and commerce. Cotton, dairying and livestock were the main local industries. The burgeoning community saw its first post office open in 1885, and Zachary was incorporated as a city in 1889.
Population growth was modest until recent years. The first census in 1914 reported just 419 residents. By 1980, that number grew to 7,525, and has since nearly doubled to approximately 13,000.
The Zachary Historic Village has been constructed to keep the city’s history alive. With three renovated turn-of-the-century homes, the Village includes Miss Sis’s Magic House (a science museum), The Allison Agricultural & Rural Life Center (where visitors can observe how food got to tables a century ago), and the McHugh House (a restoration of a stately manor from the era).
Located near Zachary, Port Hudson is the site of one of the most important battles of the Civil War. Port Hudson was the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River; today, Port Hudson is home to a state park.