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City Of Abbeville Abbeville Louisiana is located in the South Western part of the state. All that remains of the original building's character are the round arch windows. Steen's Syrup Mill and was renovated to house the Syrup Mill's packing plant. The three large holding tanks, which are used to store Steen's Cane Syrup prior to the packaging process, have been there for ten years. Abbeville's role as a commercial center for the surrounding agricultural area, of course, increased immeasurably with the automobile age.

It is center of government for the Parish of Vermilion. The building housed the City of Abbeville Waterworks until the mid 1950's. In 1996 the tanks received their trademark appearance. Older single story commercial building stuccoed and completely modernized c.1960. In this respect the CBD represents a shift that occurred in rural Louisiana's commercial history.

Founded in 1850 we have a proud Cajun heritage of living close to our coastal environement. When full the tanks hold a collective total of 16,000 gallons. Prior to the automobile age, the focus of commercial history in rural areas was the ubiquitous country store.

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The Old Abbeville Waterworks Building is a circa 1906 building that was remodeled by the city in 1922. Sanborn maps and other sources reveal that Abbeville had the usual range of more specialized commercial establishments one would expect in a good size town, as represented in the present building stock: furniture stores, hardware stores, drugstores, a bakery, the GET filling station, grocery stores, a bakery, a blacksmith shop, a Wells-Fargo freight office, a lumberyard, a jewelry store, and the very important Bank of Abbeville, which obviously provided invaluable services.

Steen Syrup Mill Complex consists of the Old Abbeville Waterworks Building, an office building, a processing plant, and three distinctive holding tanks. Shopfront completely modernized below transom level. General mercantile stores of the type once found in various extant buildings in the CBD carried everything from clothing, to furniture, to patent medicines, to buggy harnesses.

The mill has operated since 1910 and is one of the largest open kettle syrup mills in the nation. Valcourt Veazey, who came to Abbeville in 1843 with Father Megret, pubished Abbeville's first newspaper, The Independent, in 1852. Small two story Italianate commercial building stuccoed and completely modernized c.1960. The comment of one rural housewife in another state on the importance of the automobile to farm folk is equally true for Louisiana.

All phases of the syrup making process- grinding, cooking, packaging- were performed at the mill complex, located behind the office building, until 1998. This is a large, rambling circa 1890 Queen Anne Revival cottage with imbricated shingled gables, Eastlake brackets under the gables, and oversized dormers. In 1856 he sold the newspaper to Judge Eugene Isadore Guegnon, who changed the name of the paper to Le Meridional and published the first issue under the new name in December of that year. When asked to comment on the report that Americans owned more automobiles than bathtubs, she repined: "Well, you can't drive a bathtub to town." And increasingly, to town was where rural folk wanted to go.

At that time, the grinding process was discontinued leaving the cooking and packaging processes on site. According to an article published in a December 1983 anniversary issue of The Meridional, "Judge Guegnon expressed himself freely in the columns of his paper, and , as a result, was challenged to several pistol duels, in two of which he was wounded". Even small towns, and certainly large ones like Abbeville, offered far more in the way of shopping amenities and other services than could the isolated country store.

Last modified 20-Oct-2015 05:42