Throughout much of the nineteenth century, one of the most culturally progressive landmarks of Western Louisiana was Mansfield, in Desoto Parish. The city was first platted in 1843 and was incorporated by Act No. 128 of the 1847 Louisiana General Assembly. The growing community of Mansfield was officially incorporated into the City of Mansfield in 1948 Act No. 194 by the Louisiana Legislature.
The first parish courthouse and college building were erected there in the early 1850's. The town was surrounded by magnificent short leaf pine forests, also rich deposits of lignite coal and limestone, the latter being the principal ingredient of cement. In April, 1864, Mansfield gained a permanent niche in American Civil War history, when Confederate General Richard Taylor decisively defeated nearby a Union army, advancing along the Red River.
In 1890’s, the town was a junction of two rails, the Texas Central, later the Texas Pacific Railroad, was built from Marshall, Texas, to Alexandria and beyond to New Orleans. In 1895 the Kansas City Southern Railroad built through Mansfield en route to Leesville, and by 1908, the Mansfield Railway Transportation Company rails had reached the Sabine River, en route to Center, Texas. Also, by 1908, Mansfield began its legacy as a major logging and lumber city when a number of the industries, mills and factories were founded.