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Minden thrived commercially, with economic gain centralized in Bayou Dorcheat, which was composed of separate landings acting as shipping points for goods coming from much of northern Louisiana. Industries like cotton farming and the Minden Lumber Mill, formed in 1901 as one of the largest mills in the United States at the time, caused the town's population to nearly double in just ten years. Under the leadership of great men like E.S. Richardson, Minden also became a model for other towns of similar size in the field of education. At the same time, disastrous fires, a catastrophic tornado, and the devastation of the steamboat trade on Bayou Dorcheat by the coming of the railroad challenged the community in the ever-changing twentieth century.