Zwolle, Louisiana

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Zwolle, Louisiana
Zwolle Train Station.jpg
Old Zwolle Train Station on Main Street
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish Sabine
Elevation 203 ft (61.9 m)
Coordinates 31°38′06″N 93°38′33″W / 31.63500°N 93.64250°W / 31.63500; -93.64250Coordinates: 31°38′06″N 93°38′33″W / 31.63500°N 93.64250°W / 31.63500; -93.64250
Area 3.7 sq mi (9.6 km2)
 - land 3.2 sq mi (8 km2)
 - water 0.4 sq mi (1 km2), 10.81%
Population 1,783 (2000)
Density 552.6 / sq mi (213.4 / km2)
Government Mayor: G.J. "Pie" Martinez
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code 318
Location of Zwolle in Louisiana
Location of Louisiana in the United States

Zwolle is a small town in Sabine Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 1,783 at the 2000 census.


The first inhabitants of the bowl shaped area of land upon which the town of Zwolle is situated were the Mound Builders. Lured here for protection from storms, the "bowl" offered them protection. Prehistoric people built the dome-shaped mounds that line the banks of Bayou Scie and Bayou San Miguel, which form a hollow circle around the townsite. As Mound Builders, they were ancestors of North American Indians who owned and inhabited the territory when the Europeans arrived.

Later, the area was colonized by Spain, which sent the earliest non-Indians to the territory. A Spanish mission church was built at Bayou Scie. Spanish soldiers and Native people intermarried over many generations, and colonial Spanish (not Mexican Spanish) was still spoken in the area until the 1970s.

The first English-speaking settlers arrived in Sabine Parish in 1824, via Natchitoches. These pioneers came chiefly from Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas. In 1871, many more of these settlers moved in and acquired land under the homestead act. [1]

Arthur Stilwell built the Kansas City Southern Railroad from Kansas City to Port Arthur, Texas. He had reached Van Buren, Arkansas in 1893 when he ran out of funds. Stilwell went to Zwolle, The Netherlands and met with a rich coffee merchant Jan De Goeijen. De Goeijen was impressed with St. Joseph Catholic Church, a product of the early Spanish missionaries which stood overlooking the town. De Goeijen sold a $3,000,000 stock issue for Stilwell's railroad and he was permitted to name the place after his hometown and birthplace of Zwolle, a riverside city of currently over 120,000 population in the Netherlands.[2] The charter for the town of Zwolle was granted June 12, 1898.


Zwolle is located at 31°38′6″N 93°38′33″W / 31.63500°N 93.64250°W / 31.63500; -93.64250 (31.635134, -93.642560).[3] According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.7 square miles (9.5 km²), of which, 3.2 square miles (8.4 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.1 km²) of it (11.99%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 276
1910 973 252.5%
1920 909 −6.6%
1930 1,264 39.1%
1940 1,500 18.7%
1950 1,555 3.7%
1960 1,326 −14.7%
1970 2,169 63.6%
1980 2,602 20.0%
1990 1,779 −31.6%
2000 1,783 0.2%
2010 1,759 −1.3%
Est. 2014 1,975 [4] 12.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 1,783 people, 630 households, and 437 families residing in the town. The population density was 552.6 people per square mile (213.1/km²). There were 725 housing units at an average density of 224.7 per square mile (86.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 6.37% White, 47.17% African American, 16.38% Native American, 1.07% from other races, and 2.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 33.17% of the population.

There were 630 households out of which 39.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 27.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.5% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.36.

In the town the population was spread out with 35.5% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 17.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 82.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $15,843, and the median income for a family was $17,326. Males had a median income of $25,625 versus $14,922 for females. The per capita income for the town was $9,042. About 37.7% of families and 40.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 52.8% of those under age 18 and 35.9% of those age 65 or over.


Public schools in Sabine Parish are operated by the Sabine Parish School Board. The town of Zwolle is zoned to Zwolle Elementary School (Grades PK-6) and Zwolle High School (Grades 7-12). Zwolle High School is well known in the area for its basketball team, which from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s secured seven consecutive state championships, and from 2006-2012 won 5 out 7 state championships. The other two years they were runners-up to the title.


Zwolle Tamale Fiesta[edit]

The Zwolle Tamale Fiesta is the town's signature festival. Originating in the late 1970s, the fiesta celebrates the Hispanic heritage rooted in the town's origins. The fiesta takes its name from the tamale and alludes to the town's local notoriety for what is arguably a spicier version of the Mississippi Delta style boiled tamale which is believed to have been made in the area since the early 1700s.[7]

The festival was traditionally held on the campus of Zwolle High School on the 2nd weekend of October, kicking off on Thursday night and concluding on Sunday. The practice continued until the early 2000s when the town completed a festival grounds area. The Fiesta relocated to the grounds and scaled back to conclude on Saturday night. Attractions include cultural exhibitions, a parade, a ball, a small scale carnival and most recently, a mud bog competition.

Loggers and Forestry Festival[edit]

Smaller in scale to the fiesta, the Loggers and Forestry festival is a celebration of the local horticulture industry - the center of the town's local economy. Each year, while a queen is decided via a pageant, the oldest living logger residing in the town is named king.

Like the fiesta, the Loggers and Forestry festival is held on the town's festival grounds.

Notable people[edit]


External links[edit]