The layers of history housed in Camp Salmen Nature Park begin in the late 1700s. The property was originally awarded as land grants by Spanish governor Estevan Miro in 1785 and 1787. It is thought to be the home to one of the oldest trading posts in the Bayou Liberty Region and in Louisiana, built in the early 1800s by Joseph Laurent, a lake trader. Alongside the Trading Post (now Salmen Lodge), Camp Salmen offered a major ferry across the bayou which operated from the early 1800s into the early 1900s. In 1901 the property was acquired by the Salmen Brick and Lumber Company. Salmen Brick conducted timbering operations for many years on the site until the property was donated to the Boy Scouts of America in 1924, which used the property as a regional camp reservation for the Greater New Orleans area.
On March 28, 1901, the Salmen Brick & Lumber Co. bought the Breedlove Tract, which included the old trading post building and 376 acres of property and so ended the building’s nearly century-long use as a trading post. Twenty-three years later, in 1924, the Salmen Brick and Lumber Co. donated the building and about 73 acres of the old Breedlove Tract to the Boy Scouts for their use as a campsite. A later land donation brought the actual Salmen bequest to 106 acres. The scouts nicknamed the building Salmen Lodge in honor of Fritz Salmen, an ardent supporter of the scouts and the patriarch of the Salmen Brick and Lumber Company.
In 2006, the historical significance of the Salmen Lodge was affirmed when the lodge was added to the National Register of historic places. The 200-year-old building is awaiting restoration and when complete will be restored to its original trading post appearance. There is also discussion to add a small museum in the future. This remnant of the early history of the Bayou Liberty region will become a center for visitors, including school children, to learn about the unique architecture of the building, its years as a trading post, and the significant role the Bayou Liberty region area played in supplying timber, tar and pitch, bricks, produce, and livestock to the growing city of New Orleans across Lake Pontchartrain.