Sibley's Past



The information in this timeline is approximate and gathered from various sources.  If anyone has something to add or to change, please do not hesitate to call Town Hall.



      1880    The Vicksburg Shreveport & Pacific Railroad, successor to the old Vicksburg Shreveport & Texas Railroad, announced plans to construct a rail line betweenShreveport andMonroe.


      1881    The proposed route for the new railroad was announced.  The railroad would pass through the settlement of Lanesville or Lane’s Station.


      1882    Business leaders of Minden, upset by the announcement of the VS&P route, proposed the construction of a short rail line, or a tap, to connect Minden to the tracks of the VS&P at Lanesville. 


                  The Vicksburg Shreveport & Pacific Railroad begins construction on the first east and west line across the parish as part of its line across North Louisiana.  The Webster parish Station on the line was at Lanesville.


1884        The “Vicksburg Shreveport & Pacific Railroad” was completed in 1884 between Monroe and Shreveport crossing Bayou Dorcheat.  To allow continued boat traffic up and down the bayou.  The bridge built across Dorcheat, called a “Swing Span Bridge”, was designed to turn on a center pier providing 59 feet of clearance on either side of the center pier, 21 feet of vertical clearance above low water and 5 feet of clearance above high water line.  Like similar bridges built during that timeframe, manual labor was used to turn it.  Using a large wheel that would be temporarily attached to a vertical shaft fixed to gears located in the center of the bridge, several men would turn the wheel causing the tracks to turn.

The Swing Span Bridge still provides rail crossing over the bayou today, but has not been required to turn for boat traffic since 1888 / 89 when the Sibley / Doyline road bridge was built, essentially blocking large boat passage.  Since the Vicksburg Shreveport & Pacific line was the first railroad in Webster Parish, that makes theDorcheatBridge a significant historical landmark as the first railroad bridge in the parish.


1885        With the completion of the Vicksburg Shreveport & Pacific Railroad, the Lake Bistineau area soon became a hub for other rail links.  The first being the Minden Tap.  Minden, the seat of Webster Parish, recognizing the importance of the railroad that by-passed the town 5 miles south, quickly chartered the Minden Railroad and Compress Co. to build a 5-mile rail line between Minden and the VS&P at Lanesville.  The little railroad was completed in November 1885 and was know as the Minden Tap. 


1891    A sawmill company bought up tracts of land
            at Yellow Pine and set up a mill,

Lake Bistineau Lumber Company, LTD.  The company bought a right-of-way for a railroad line to Sibley.


      1892    The last of the small salt production at Lake


      1893    Steel rails were brought to build a spur line to Noles Landing on Lake Bistineau.  The Lake Bistineau Lumber Co. was able to ship and receive products and supplies fromNew Orleans via the Mississippi River, Red River, Bayou Dorcheat andLakeBistineau.


      1895    The Lake Bistineau Lumber Co. at Yellow Pine failed and was seized and sold.


      1898    The Yellow Pine mill became Globe Lumber Co., a subsidiary of Long-Bell Lumber Co.  In later years, Long-Bell Lumber was to become a subsidiary of International Paper Co.


                  Rails connecting the Lake Bistineau area to towns further north were soon laid.  In July, 1898, the Minden Tap was sold to the new Arkansas Louisiana & Southern Railroad and extended northward.  In September 1898 the LA&S reached Cotton Valley and connected with the Louisiana Arkansas Railroad, forming a route to Hope and Stamps Arkansas.  The Sibley hub was growing.


                  2/3 of the qualified voters of the unincorporatedVillage ofLanesville, consisting of at least 250 inhabitants, presented a petition requesting incorporation, which was approved on July 13, 1898 and signed by Governor of Louisiana, Newton Crain Blanchard declaring the village a corporation of law.


      1899    The “Sibley, Lake Bistineau & Southern Railway” was built in 1899 by the Long-Bell Lumber co. of Kansas City to connect their mill at Yellow Pine with their timber lands to the south and with the big railroads at Sibley.  The SLB&S ran south from Sibley 28 miles to Camp Long (just past Hall Summit)  The line was built primarily for hauling timber but was also used to carry passengers and cotton to Sibley where freight cars were transferred onto the VS&P for shipment to other terminals.


                  The VS&P was not the only railroad interested in expanding service at the Sibley hub.  The Louisiana & Arkansas Railroad began building south from Sibley. 


1900        The L&A bought the AL&S.


1906        The L&A was completed to Alexandria. Sibley was now a major hub for rails        


      1910    The vast commercial and community activities surrounding theLakeBistineau and Bayou Dorcheat area were now being supported by a significant Railroad System with Sibley as a major hub. The schedules of passenger trains serving Sibley in Sept. depicts the energy of activity in the area that had been spawned by the earlier navigation provided byLakeBistineau and Bayou Dorcheat.


      1930    LakeBistineau was given the designation as “The Lake Bistineau State Game and Fish Preserve” by Legislation and the Conservation Commission was created to govern the lake.


      1941    The U.S. Government acquired 15,868 acres of land for construction of the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant. 


      1942    Operation began at the LAAP. 


                  The timber that was once so abundant, was depleted and the saw mill town ofYellow Pine was no more. The Sibley, Lake Bistineau & Sourthern Railway rails were no longer needed and ripped up.


      1945    LAAP was placed on standby status.


      1951    LAAP was reactivated in support of the Korean conflict.


      1954    The United States Postal Service opened a post office in the unincorporated area of Lanesville.  The Sibley Post Office, as best we understand is named for Hiram Sibley (1807 – 1888), founder ofWestern Union. The appointed post master was Mrs. Bobbye G. Culverhouse.


      1958    Production was suspended at LAAP.


      1959    August 29, 1959, Governor Earl K. Long approved Ordinance No. 79 of theVillage ofLanesville changing the name to theVillage ofSibley because the United States Post Office serving the citizens of Lanesville beared the name Sibley Post Office.


      1962    In support of theVietnam conflict, LAAP was reactivated.


      1968    The last passenger trains through Webster Parish on the old VS&P line, owned by Illinois Central at the time ran betweenVicksburg andShreveport on March 30, 1968.


      1969    The last passenger trains on the old L&A line ran on November 3, 1969, when the Kansas City Southern’s “Southern Belle” paused at Minden on its final run between New Orleans and Kansas City.  Another era of transportation through our era had come to an end.

                  TheLakeCommission was abolished and all its powers and duties were transferred to the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission.


      1975    The Thiokol Corporation assumed the contract for LAAP operating contractor.


1985        July 9, 1985 theVillage ofSibley was reincorporated as the “Town” of Sibley


1994        All production ceased in October at LAAP.


We have gathered information from the following sites:




Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant


Sibley Post Office


Yellow Pine Community


Lake Bistineau / Bayou Dorcheat