an ACADIA PARISH article
Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser, August 26, 1997
Some people say it was given its name because it was the halfway point on the old railroad running westward from New Orleans to Houston. Midland first appeared on an Acadia Parish map as Midland Junction.
The railroad line was extended from Midland south to Gueydan in 1896, then from Gueydan to Abbeville in 1902. About that time, the Southern Pacific began plans to put a railroad roundhouse at Midland and, seizing upon that news, Charles H. Cowen, one of the area's most successful rice farmers, began to develop the town.
Cowen, an Illinois native, bought 160 acres of land in the Midland area in 1892, and bought another 600 acres shortly after that. In 1902, he formed the Midland Development Co. and the Midland Rice Milling Co.. and on April 22 of that year, sold 156 town lots at auction.
Midland's first post office was opened on June 13, 1902, in the Callahan general store, with Eugene T. Callahan as postmaster. Soon there were more stores, and a school, church, lumber company, and hotel and livery clustered around it. A year later Cowen opened the Midland Hotel.
Two sawmills operated nearby by the Callahan brothers turned out some 25,000 feet of lumber each day. These brothers -- Herbert, James, Abner, and Eugene -- owned 874 acres of timber land eight miles from town on Bayou Queue de Tortue. They also operated a planing mill and tank factory at Midland.
It was in 1902, just as things seemed to be going well for the fledgling community, that Cowen, then only 39 years old, lost a leg in a rice threshing accident, and died soon after from complications resulting from the accident. Also, about that time, Southern Pacific decided against putting a roundhouse at Midland.
The first school at Midland was established in 1903. The first church, a Methodist church had been built there about 1900.
This article is copyrighted © by the Lafayette (LA) Daily Advertiser and is used with permission. This web site was originated through a grant awarded to Carencro High School (Joel Hilbun/Bobbi Marino, Grant Administrators) by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from the Louisiana Quality Education Support Fund - 8(g).