Located on Bayou Liberty, this building is one of the oldest still standing in St. Tammany Parish. Although speculated dates of construction range from 1750 to 1830, Joseph Laurent’s ownership of the site included 1809 to 1814. Laurent used his schooner to transport bricks and lumber across Lake Ponchartrain, to the growing city of New Orleans. The building was constructed as a residence and later served as a trading post. The land surrounding the structure became part of the Salmen Brick and Lumber Company in 1901. This company went on to build nearby railroad tracks, leading to the development of Slidell.
By the 1920s, much of the property’s resources had been extracted and the land was donated to the New Orleans Council of the Boy Scouts (#9544). This structure primarily served as the scoutmaster’s residence, with the surrounding land used as a retreat up until the 1980s. In 2001, the property was purchased by the Trust for Public Lands on behalf of St. Tammany Parish to protect its natural features and deter encroaching development. Today, the Friends of Camp Salmen Nature Park are working to save this Creole cottage structure as a key component of the park. The roof was upgraded in 2017, but additional work has been delayed due to limited funding.