August Erath “A Man of Vision”

As a man of vision, August Erath played an instrumental role in the history of Erath. Though never living in the community, he was responsible for the railroad passing through this sparsely populated prairie land when it was considered a business risk. Through his vision and business ability, this area grew into the community of Erath.

August Erath was a Swiss German born on March 18, 1843. As a young man in 1860, he made his way to New Orleans and was a bookkeeper in the breweries until 1876. He married Catherine Becht in 1874 and had three daughters. They later moved to New Iberia, where he erected a brewery. Erath was an educated, ambitious and prominent civic leader. August Erath served as a New Iberia Mayor at one time. In the small city of New Iberia, he eventually he built a seltzer and ice factory. In 1884, he opened a hardware business. On the comer of Railroad and Main Street in New Iberia, August Erath’s home and hardware store is still standing. As a three story building, the structure served as a business, as well as home. On the first floor, was the hardware store, the second story served as their home and the third was servant quarters. 

In 1892, August Erath bought land from area landowners, Patrick O’Toole and Marie Zulma Primeaux Gary. On November 15, 1892, August Erath bought twenty acres of land from Marie Zulma Primeaux Gary for three hundred and forty dollars.

That day he bought nine acres from Patrick O’Toole for one hundred and thirty eight dollars. The deeds were dated at the court house on November 17, 1892. (These purchases involved the land that now surrounds Erath’s railroad tracks). At that time, August Erath and the Southern Pacific Railroad made arrangements for a railroad to be built from New Iberia to Abbevi1le. Once the railroad was complete in 1893, plats were drawn up by Erath and he sold plots of land. The community eventually grew and prospered.

By 1899, Erath had become a village and in 1923, Erath became a town. During the latter part of the nineteenth century, the prairie land surrounding Erath was considered a business risk. Through early visionaries such as August Erath, the community of Erath became a reality. Without a doubt, this man and the railroad played instrumental roles in the establishment of the Erath community in the 1890
s. August Erath will be remembered as a man of vision who took a risk at the end of the nineteenth century. August Erath is a man whose name will remain forever alive in the community.

As a man of vision, August Erath played an instrumental role in the history of Erath. Though never living in the community, he was responsible for the railroad passing through this sparsely populated prairie land when it was considered a business risk. Through his vision and business ability, this area grew into the community of Erath.

 

Erath High School

808 S. Broadway Street

Erath, LA 70533

Phone - 337-937-8451

Fax - 337-937-5109

 

Website URL http://www.vrml.k12.la.us/ehs

 

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