Mexican Gulf Coast Railroad at Proctorville #TrainThursday

Mexican Gulf Coast Railroad at Proctorville #TrainThursday

Mexican Gulf Coast Railroad terminated at Proctorville, Louisiana.

mexican gulf coast railroad

Proctorville, Louisiana

Plan for the village of Proctorville (also spelled Proctorsville). The area began as a collection of logging and fishing camps at the mouth of Bayou Yscloskey. A railroad link from Faubourg Marigny to Proctorville was built in 1837. In 1856, the federal government constructed a fort there, as part of the Third Coastal Defense Fortification. Proctorville is now the town of Shell Beach.

Mexican Gulf Coast Railroad

Businessmen from New Orleans recognized the potential of the mouth of Bayou Yscloskey as a deep-water port. The location on Lake Borgne offered a bypass of the Mississippi River. In 1814, the Royal Navy used Lake Borgne to stage troops for their invasion of New Orleans. By the 1830s, the problem encountered by the Royal Navy still existed. There was no easy way to get from Lake Borgne to New Orleans. Fishermen and loggers transported goods from Proctorville to Biloxi or Mobile, rather than New Orleans.

In 1837, investors founded the Mexican Gulf Coast Railroad. They proposed a seaport on Lake Borgne and a rail connection back to the city. While the corporation was chartered in 1837, construction did not begin until 1850. The company built 27 miles of track. They established the link to the Pontchartrain Railroad station in the Marigny. The Mexican Gulf Coast Railroad ran out of money. The railroad stopped at Proctorville.

Fort Proctor

As part of the Third Coastal Defense Fortification, the federal government authorized the construction of a fort at Proctorville. The War Department knew an invasion similar to 1814 continued to be a threat. P.G.T. Beauregard held the position of US Army Supervising Engineer for Southeast Louisiana. Beauregard managed the project from his office in the Custom House, on Canal Street in New Orleans.

A category-three hurricane all but destroyed Proctorville in 1859. Beauregard suspended construction of Fort Proctor in the aftermath of the hurricane. In 1861, Beauregard left his engineering position. He eventually resigned his commission. The rebels in New Orleans blew up levees along Lake Borgne. This flooded Fort Proctor. No further construction took place.

After the rebellion, Proctorville was reincarnated as Shell Beach.

The Plan

This document is not a map, but rather a surveyor’s plan for the village. Fishborne’s Lithography of New Orleans printed it, approximately 1850.