Covington History: The Money Hill Tung Oil Plantation Story

Covington History segment provided by local historical writer Ron Barthet. View his blog Tammany Family here.

Tung Oil was an extremely important product in the early 20th century, available only from China and used in a variety of applications, from sealing and waterproofing Naval vessels to a key ingredient in varnish and paint. When the United States government decided it was important for the nation to grow its own tung trees (to reduce imports from China’s tung oil industry), a few precious seeds were smuggled out of China and the search began for a suitable place to grow them.

After serious research into the climate and soils needed to grow tung oil trees, it was found that St. Tammany Parish was one of the few places that would accommodate them. So the Goodyear family, which was so instrumental in developing the lumber industry in Bogalusa and whose “Great Southern Lumber Company” owned acreage in St. Tammany Parish suitable for the project, established the Money Hill Tung Oil Plantation.

To read more about this adventure, CLICK ON THIS LINK for a PDF file detailing the history of the Money Hill operation.

After the need for tung tree oils diminished (due to suitable synthetics), the Money Hill area served as a popular family campground for many years and now serves as home to residential subdivisions. It is located northeast of Abita Springs. La Hwy. 21 bisects the area on its way to Bush.

click on photo to enlarge

In the 1946 phone book, the “Ozone Tung Oil Producers Cooperative Association” was located on 28th Avenue in Covington and the phone number was 423-J.

Check out Ron Barthet’s blog Tammany Family for more great local history!