22 June 2008, Amite, Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.
Near the beginning of our journey up old U.S. 51 in June 2008 we came upon the Ponder Hotel. The building, sitting across the railroad tracks from the highway, did not instantly grab my attention, but its name struck my fancy and the inclusion of 1947 on its sign called out to me for a photograph. The Ponder Hotel opened in Amite in 1947 and quickly became a major local attraction. “Their famous rooftop dances were the social event of the season,” reports the Amite Chamber of Commerce (note the railing around the roof). These dances must have been quite amazing. The hotel is still in business some 63 years later.
I’m sure there are better pictures of the hotel, but this one displays what interested me (to see more clearly, click on the picture to enlarge it): the name of the hotel itself, which I find amusing; the year it was established, an important year to me; a U.S. 51 highway sign, because that highway was the reason we were passing through Amite at all; and the old Illinois Central railroad tracks which parallel U.S. 51 from New Orleans as far as Centralia in Illinois and which still carry the City of New Orleans from Chicago to New Orleans.