History

Leesville Courthouse

Painting of the Leesville Courthouse.

Historic Downtown Leesville

Painting of a 1940s Leesville Street Scene.
The City of Leesville has been around since 1871, though did not formally incorporate until February 15, 1900. Founded by Dr. Edmund E. Smart, the city’s name actually came from Senator R. Smart, his father, in honor of General Robert E. Lee. The plantation owned by Dr. Smart, the site of Leesville’s founding, may be found today at the corners of First and Lula Streets. To this day, Leesville continues to hold the Parish seat representing Vernon Parish.

In 1941, Camp Polk opened by order of the United States Army to make training space for the Louisiana Maneuvers and in result, the population soared. Today it is now Fort Polk and the largest Military Base in the state of Louisiana. Named after the first Episcopal Bishop in Louisiana,Leonidas Polk, the Army Base serves as home to more than 24,000 Active Duty Military and their families. Known for its timber and logging industries, Fort Polk quickly became an economic force in the City of Leesville.

The civilians of Leesville and greater Vernon Parish, like their military neighbors, are strong, patriotic and hardworking, counting it a privilege to work alongside those who sacrifice so much to keep this great Nation of ours free.
But more than a home to Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center, Leesville is a place where you can explore, live and invest, start a family or a new life. We are a vibrant, visionary and versatile community, with much to offer not only to our current residents, but potential residents and companies who’d like to move or relocate their businesses here.

Leesville strives to offer all the amenities of a large community, but with a smile, handshake and strong sense of community. Leesville also offers some of the finest outdoor recreational opportunities, top-notch educational facilities,excellent medical facilities and plenty of options for  shopping and dining.
Whether you’re a virtual visitor or an actual visitor, we hope you take the time to explore what we have to offer, and that you find, as we have, that the opportunities here are limited only by your imagination.

Historic Postcard from Fort Polk

Photo of soldiers in the 1960s with the text "Greetings from Fort Polk, LA."