While several American Indian tribes are known to have lived in the area occupied by present-day Lake Charlesthe first European settlers arrived in the s.
Charles Sallierone of the first settlers, married LeBleu's daughter, Catherine LeBleu; the Salliers built their home on the beach what is current-day Lake Charles.
The infamous pirate, Jean Lafitteonce delivered stolen slaves and contraband to James Bowie and other plantation owners in the area. By the area become known as Charles Town in Sallier's honor. Transliterated through Frenchthis became the name of Calcasieu Parish. The city's growth was fairly slow until Captain Daniel Goos, a Frisian by birth, came to the city in Goos established a lumber mill and schooner dockin what became known as Goosport. He promoted a profitable trade with Texan and Mexican ports by sending his schooner downriver into the Gulf of Mexico.
Until the arrival of Goos, a man named Jacob Ryan dominated the lumber industry. Between andtimber sales from longleaf pine and bald cypress remained the city's primary source of economic revenue. Later that year, Ryan and Samuel Kirby transferred the parish courthouse and jail by barge to the then-named Charleston.
Six years after the city was incorporated, dissatisfaction over the name Charleston arose; on March 16,Charleston, Louisiana, was renamed and incorporated as the town of Lake Charles. By the time of the U.
Civil Warmany Americans from the North, along with a large influx of continental Europeans and Jewshad come to settle the area. Attitudes toward slavery in Lake Charles were mixed, as slavery was secondary to business interests.
In fact, fewer than five percent of the population were slaves. Many citizens became involved in the war. Some local families supported the Confederacy, while others supported the cause of the Union.
In the years following the Civil War, Lake Charles regained its status as a lumbering center. Especially in the s, the city saw an increase in population and economic demand largely due to an innovative advertising campaign by J. Thanks to this campaign, the city's population grew four-hundred percent during this decade.
Using the pine wood from the city's mills, construction of large Victorian mansions transformed Lake Charles during the s. Carpenters competed with verve to out-build each other with their use of elaborate fretwork and decoration. The area of present-day Lake Charles located just east of downtown is known as the ''Charpentier'' Historic District from the French word for carpenter and features unique homes from this era.
On April 23,a great fire, known as the Great Fire of devastated much of the city. The courthouse, along with most of downtown Lake Charles, was destroyed. However, Lake Charles soon rebuilt itself and continued to grow and expand.
After World War IILake Charles experienced industrial growth with the onset of the petrochemical refining industries. The Lake Charles Civic Center, built on reclaimed land on the lakefront in the s, hosted many national shows, acts, and pop singers such as Elvis. The city grew to a high of some 80, people in the early s, but with local economic Old pictures of lake charles la, the population declined. With the advent of the gaming industry, the city has begun again to see growth.
As of the censusthe city had a total population of 71, Lake Charles suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Ritawhich struck the city as a Category 3 storm early September 24, On September 22, the mayor ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city, and approximately ninety percent of the residents left.
Evacuees were asked to not return for 48 hours, due to wind and flood damage.