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Hammond, Louisiana

Hammond, Louisiana
The Hammond Oak, located in the 500 block of East Charles Street. The grave of founder Peter av Hammerdal (Peter Hammond) is under this tree.
Country  United States
State  Louisiana
Parish Tangipahoa
Elevation 43 ft (13.1 m)
Area 12.8 sq mi (33.2 km2)
 - land 12.8 sq mi (33 km2)
 - water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%
Population 20,019 (2010)
Density 1,564.0 / sq mi (603.9 / km2)
Settled 1818
Mayor Pete Panepinto (Republican, elected in 2014)
Timezone CST (UTC−6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
ZIP code 70401, 70403
Area code 985
Location of Hammond in Louisiana
Location of Louisiana in the United States

Hammond is the largest city in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, United States. It is forty-five miles east of Baton Rouge. The population was 20,019 in the 2010 census and is home to Southeastern Louisiana University. Hammond is the principal city of the Hammond Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Tangipahoa Parish.


  • History 1
    • 19th century 1.1
    • 20th & 21st centuries 1.2
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Education 4
  • Health care 5
  • Transportation 6
    • Passenger rail 6.1
    • Highways 6.2
    • Airport 6.3
  • Media 7
  • Other notable people 8
  • Climate 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


19th century

The city is named for Peter Hammond (1798–1870) — the surname anglicized from Peter av Hammerdal (Peter of Hammerdal) — a Swedish immigrant who first settled the area around 1818. Peter, a sailor, had been briefly imprisoned by the British at Dartmoor Prison during the Napoleonic Wars. He escaped during a prison riot, made his way back to sea, and later on arrived in New Orleans. Hammond used his savings to buy then-inexpensive land northwest of Lake Pontchartrain. There he started a plantation to cultivate trees, which he made into masts, charcoal, and other products for the maritime industry in New Orleans. He transported the goods by oxcart to the head of navigation on the Natalbany River at Springfield. He owned at least thirty slaves before the Civil War and was said to have been a kind master as well as a philanthropist. Peter Hammond lost his wealth during the war, as Union soldiers raided his property.[1]

In 1854, the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad (later the Illinois Central Railroad, now Canadian National Railway) came through the area, launching the town's emergence as a commercial and transport center. The point where the railroad met the trail to Springfield was at first known as Hammond's Crossing. Peter Hammond's grave is near the center of town under the Hammond Oak, along with the graves of his wife Caroline Hammond (née Tucker), three of their eight children, and a favorite slave boy.[2] The Hammond Oak is a member tree of the Live Oak Society.

During the American Civil War, the city was a shoe-making center for the Confederate States Army. The shoe-making industry was the work of Charles Emery Cate, who bought land in the city in 1860 for a home, a shoe factory, a tannery, and a sawmill. Toward the end of the war, Cate laid out the town's grid, using the rail line as a guide and naming several of the streets after his sons. There is also a Cate Street named for him.

After the Civil War, light industry and commercial activities were attracted to the town. By the end of the 19th century, Hammond had become a stopping point for northern rail passengers traveling south and for New Orleanians heading north to escape summer yellow fever outbreaks. The city later became a shipping point for strawberries, so a plaque downtown gave it the title of "Strawberry Capital of America."[3]

20th & 21st centuries

In the 1920s, David William Thomas edited a weekly newspaper in Hammond prior to moving to Minden, the seat of Webster Parish. There, he was elected mayor in 1936. In 1932 Hodding Carter founded the now-defunct Hammond Daily Courier, which he left in 1939 to move to Greenville, Mississippi, later receiving a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Civil Rights Movement. Since 1959 The Daily Star has been Hammond's locally published daily newspaper.

During World War II, the Hammond Airport (now Hammond Northshore Regional Airport) served as a detention camp for prisoners of war from Nazi Germany. Additionally, the U.S. Army established and used the 15,216-acre (61.58 km2) Hammond Bombing and Gunnery Range east of the city.[4]

Today, Hammond is intersected by Interstates 12 and 55. Its airport has a long runway which serves as a backup landing site for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and serves as a major training site for the Louisiana Army National Guard. Approximately 15 miles (24 km) south of the city, on both the railroad and I–55, lies Port Manchac, which provides egress via Lake Ponchartrain with the Gulf of Mexico. The combination of highway-rail-air-sea transportation has transformed modern Hammond from a strawberry capital to a transportation capital. The city hosts numerous warehouses and is a distribution point for Walmart and other businesses, and Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond offers the state's only academic degree in supply chain management.

In 1953, Lawson Swearingen, a former Democratic member of the Louisiana State Senate and a former president of the University of Louisiana at Monroe, resides in Hammond, where he is a professor of management at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Among the city's cultural resources is the Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum. This is one of the destinations on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. Southeastern's Columbia Theatre in the Hammond Historic District, constructed in 1928 and renovated in the 1990s for $5.6 million, is a downtown cultural venue.

The city was the home base for production of the first season of the NBC television series In the Heat of the Night, starring Carroll O'Connor .


Hammond is located at (30.504446, -90.465616)[6] and has an elevation of 43 feet (13.1 m).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.8 square miles (33 km2), of which, 12.8 square miles (33 km2) of it is land and 0.08% is water.


As of the census[10] of 2010, there were 20,037 people, 6,251 households, and 3,706 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,383.4 people per square mile (534.2/km²). There were 7,014 housing units at an average density of 550.1 per square mile (212.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 48.57% White, 47.52% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 0.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.57% of the population.

There were 6,251 households out of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.9% were married couples living together, 20.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.7% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the city, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 23.1% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years, which is 7 years younger than the statewide median age of 34.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.1 males.

Ponchatoula Creek, the stream along which Peter Hammond settled, has figured prominently in development of Hammond, Louisiana. Here this footbridge crosses a tributary between Southeastern's University Center and spacious North Oak Park.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,067, and the median income for a family was $31,617. Males had a median income of $30,625 versus $18,533 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,145. About 24.9% of families and 32.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.7% of those under age 18 and 19.0% of those age 65 or over.


Southeastern Louisiana University is a large regional university based in Hammond and is one of the city's largest employers. It was established in 1925 through the efforts of the educator Linus A. Sims, then the principal of Hammond High School. The city's public schools are part of the Tangipahoa Parish School System and include Hammond High School, Hammond Junior High, Eastside Elementary, Westside Elementary, Southeastern Louisiana University Laboratory School, and Crystal Academy (alternative school).

The Catholic Church operates two schools in Hammond: Saint Thomas Aquinas High School, which is just north of the city, and Holy Ghost Catholic School (pre-kindergarten through 8th grades). In addition, Trafton Academy (pre-K through 8th) and Oaks Montessori School (pre-K through 8th) are private schools serving area students.

Health care

Hammond and its immediate environs have a number of hospitals, including North Oaks Medical Center on U.S. 51 business route between Hammond and Ponchatoula. North Oaks is one of the largest hospitals in Louisiana and helps serve the teaching needs of Southeastern Louisiana University's College of Nursing & Health Sciences.


Hammond has a rare amalgam of railways, highways (including the intersection of two interstates), and air travel/transport.

Passenger rail

Amtrak Superliner trains are a common sight, as both the southbound and northbound daily City of New Orleans schedules have afternoon stops in Hammond.

The old train station (1912), located in the center of town, was renovated in 2008. Amtrak staff provide on-site ticketing and baggage services.


Part of Hammond's success is due to its location at the junction of two heavily traveled interstate highways:

Hammond is 40 miles (64 km) from Baton Rouge, 46 miles (74 km) from New Orleans, 89 miles (143 km) from Gulfport, Mississippi, and 125 miles (201 km) from Jackson, Mississippi.

Two U.S. Highways serve the city:

  • U.S. Highway 51 (Morrison Boulevard) splits from I-55 between Hammond and Ponchatoula and parallels I-55 northward through the city's western side. U.S. 51 Business, which follows the original route of U.S. 51, leaves the parent 51 south of Ponchatoula and rejoins it after meeting US 190 in downtown Hammond and forming a concurrency with 190 until it meets US 51.
  • U.S. Highway 190 (Thomas Street / Morris Avenue) parallels I-12 and goes east-west through the city's commercial and historic downtown areas.

State highways serving the area include:

  • LA 443 (Morris Road)
  • LA 1040 (Chauvin Drive and Old Baton Rouge Highway)
  • LA 1064 (Natalbany Road, River Road)
  • LA 1065 (North Cherry Street)
  • LA 1067 (Old Covington Highway)
  • LA 1249 (Pumpkin Center Road)
  • LA 3158 (Airport Road)
  • LA 3234 (University Avenue, continuation of Wardline Road, serving Southeastern Louisiana University)
  • LA 3260 (West Church Street Extension)


The Northshore Regional Airport at Hammond has a runway long enough to land the Concorde (1976–2003) and to serve as backup for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. The largest unit of the Louisiana Air National Guard is stationed at Hammond adjacent to the airport. The airport has no regularly-scheduled commercial flights but is convenient for charters and corporate aviation purposes.


Hammond is overlapped by most of the mass media in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, although there is no over-the-air television program reception. The city has the following news and entertainment media of its own:

Other notable people

  • Louisiana Tech University (1928-1936)[11]
  • Sally Clausen, president of Southeastern Louisiana University of 1995 to 2001[12]


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Hammond has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[14]

See also


  1. ^ , October 1967Swedish-American Historical Quarterly; accessed 08 October 2015.
  2. ^ Photo of historical marker on Find a Grave; accessed 08 October 2015.
  3. ^ Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "Hammond Louisiana Historical Marker". Retrieved August 9, 2009. 
  4. ^ Don Ellzey, Property owners stuck in Bombing Range: Corps surveyors search for any explosives in Daily Star (Hammond), 2009 October 29, pp. 1A, 8A.
  5. ^ "Architect Desmond dies — Baton Rouge, LA", The Advocate
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  7. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  11. ^ Ruston Daily Leader, June 3, 1936, p. 1
  12. ^ "Dr. Sally Clausen" (PDF). Retrieved October 7, 2013. 
  13. ^ Karla Wood (November 22, 2014). "Former Lexington mayor H. Foster Pettit dies at 84".  
  14. ^ Climate Summary for Hammond, Louisiana

External links

  • City of Hammond
  • MyHammond City Guide and Business Directory
  • Hammond Chamber of Commerce
  • Hammond Historic District
  • The Daily Star
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