Originally known as “Duson Station”, the village of Duson was incorporated on December 16, 1909, named after the legendary Louisiana lawman, Curley Duson.
Cornelius C. Duson was born August 31, 1846 in Opelousas, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana He was the sheriff of St. Landry Parish, Louisiana from 1874 to 1888. In 1906, Curely Duson was appointed to the position of US Marshal for the Western District of Louisiana by President Theodore Roosevelt. He and his brother, William W. Duson, played a leading part in the development of southwestern Louisiana, including the town of Crowley, whereby an extensive area of almost worthless marsh lands has been transformed into the largest rice-producing section of the United States.
We visited the town of Crowley which was born on January 4, 1887 with the construction of the town’s first building. By virtue of the town growing to 5,000 residents, it was officially declared a city on December 16, 1903. The town was named after Pat Crowley, an employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad, who was persuaded by the Duson brothers to lay a spur from the railroad to their town.
The city government of Crowley is located in the Crowley Motor Co. building. Built in 1920, this building was one of the first Ford Dealerships. With the introduction of the Ford Model T, Henry Ford built 1000 dealerships throughout the Country. He would ship his cars by railroad to these dealerships for sale. This is only 1 of 4 left of those 1000.
When the cars arrived, they were loaded on an elevator to be lifted to the upper floors. The elevator still works, and is now used as an introduction center for the museums.
The City of Crowley purchased the building in 2000, restoration began in August 2006 and City Hall moved in. The building is also home to four museums, The Rice Interpretive Center, the History of Crowley, J.D.Miller Music Recording Studio and Ford Automotive Museums.
Tidbit of information: In building the Model T, mountains of sawdust were produced daily at the factory. Looking for a way to recycle the huge amounts of sawdust, Ford in 1920 hit upon the idea of pressing it into small blocks called briquettes and converting them to charcoal which could then be burned for clean, smoke-free heat. His sideline business encouraged recreational use of his cars for picnic outings. E.G. Kingsford eventually bought the process and the familiar Kingsford charcoal has remained a staple of backyard barbecues to this day.