The community that is today Pearl River was originally known as Halloo, a moniker it reputedly garnered from loggers yelling to one another as they labored along the nearby Pearl River. The town was founded in 1859. Early Halloo was a small railroad town, located at the junction of the Northeastern and Poitevent and Favre’s East Louisiana Railroads. In 1886 a train station was constructed at the site, and two years later Samuel Russ Poitevent (June 4, 1852 – June 3, 1904), established the first store in the village. The community’s name was first changed from Halloo to Pearl, later to Pearlville, and eventually Pearl River, in 1888, after the train station built in the town.
On July 13, 1898, the 200 citizens of Pearl River voted to petition the state of Louisiana for incorporation as the “Village of Pearl River”, a request which was granted nearly a decade later, on May 24, 1906, by governor Newton Crain Blanchard, with G.W. Fuller as the first mayor. The village slowly modernized over the course of the next half century, acquiring the land for a courthouse in 1935 and a town hall ten years later. Pearl River Junior High was opened in 1963, but the building was made into a police training academy in 2005. In 1964, the village insignia was replaced, as the newly minted “town” laid claim to 1,500 residents, a designation that lives on today, in the town of about 2,500. In 1968 Pearl River High School was established on Taylor Drive with Mr. Rowley as principal. The school is now a major success with over 700 students total. Mr. Mike Winkler resides as principal. Mr. James “Jim” Lavigne served as Mayor of Pearl River from 1992 to 2014. Mr. Lavigne served as Mayor longer than anyone in Pearl River before. He lost the Mayor elections in November 2014 to David McQueen.