CAROLA LILLIE HARTLEY
Ever think about some of the first things that happened in the historic town of Opelousas? With its beginnings going back over 250 years, it is not easy to research and conclude what business, club, event, etc., was the first in the town. Having said that, I did write a book about some of the “Opelousas Firsts.” The plumbing business was included in that book. Here is what I learned about indoor plumbing and some of the first Opelousas plumbing businesses.
The first building in the United State to have indoor plumbing was the Tremont Hotel in Boston in 1829. By 1833, the White House was equipped with running water on the main floor. It is interesting to note the art and practice of indoor plumbing took over a century to develop in the United States. It all started in about the 1840s, and even a century later in 1940 only about half of US houses had hot piped water, a bathtub or shower, and a flush toilet. During the 1890s and the early 1900s a few Opelousas homes and businesses had indoor plumbing for the first time. One of the first homes in Opelousas with an indoor flush toilet was the William Sandoz home on South Main Street, which today is the law office of Morrow, Gates and Morrow, LLC. As more local homes had indoor bathrooms, plumbing businesses opened in town.
One of the first plumbing businesses established in Opelousas was the Opelousas Plumbing and Heating Company, operating in 1905. That company, owned by J. Pabst and Leon C. Estrade and managed by J. E. Pelton, had their office and showroom in the Opelousas Mercantile Company on Main Street. According to advertisements in the St. Landry Clarion, one of that company’s employees S. L. Hall opened his own business in 1908. Other plumbing businesses followed and by 1912 D. C. Rose operated a plumbing crew in town. A year later, Rose joined Mason McBride and A. J. Perrault to create a new plumbing firm. By 1915-16, David Hollier operated a Plumbing and Steam Fitting business in Opelousas. Later he worked for an insurance company for a short time, but by July of 1926, Hollier was again in the plumbing business. David Hollier also served as the Mayor of Opelousas from 1928-1942.
The featured photograph above shows the D. C. Rose Plumbing Crew in about 1912. Rose is shown in that photograph to the right, on his bicycle. Although not identified in the photograph, other members of that plumbing crew were Gladstone D’Avy, Clarence Reynolds and A. Henderson.
This envelope mailed in Opelousas is from the David Hollier Plumbing and Steam Fitting business in its early days.