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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: LI-113
Corporate Name: West Lumber Company
Local Name:
Owner Name: West Lumber Company, also sometimes identified as South Texas Lumber Company, another J. M. West lumber company. Union Lumber Company sawmill site, purchased from Miller-Vidor Lumber Company in 1913. Sold to West Lumber Company in 1915.
Location: Milvid
County: Liberty
Years in Operation: 23 years
Start Year: 1906
End Year: 1928
Decades: 1900-1909,1910-1919,1920-1929
Period of Operation: Miller-Vidor, 1906; Union, 1913 to 1915; West, 1915 to 1928.
Town: Milvid
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 4,000 in 1928
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: Longleaf and shortleaf yellow pine
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Power Source: Two 16-inch by 24-inch engines, powered by four 72-inch by 18-ft boilers, ran all saw machinery.
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 
Capacity Comments: 100,000 feet of lumber daily in 1910; 75,000 feet daily in 1915 and 1928; planing mill, 75,000 feet daily in 1928
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: 1928: Band sawmill, resaw, planing mill, edgers, trimmers, dry kilns, logging road, electric light plant.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Trinity & Sabine; Santa Fe
Historicial Development: The town of Milvid, a name combination of Miller and Vidor, was laid out in December 1906. The Miller-Vidor band and gang mill began operating in the fall of 1907. Union Lumber Company bought the mill on June 11, 1913, for more than $600,000. The only Milvid sawmill that appeared in the U.S. Department of Commerce's 1915 directory of sawmills was that of the West Lumber Company. The mill drew from some 20,000 acres in surround in the counties of Liberty, Polk, and Hardin. A map of the Milvid operation is found in the American Lumberman issue of October 8 1910. The main sawmill structure was a two and one-half story building 41-ft by 250-ft. Two 16-inch by 24-inch engines, powered by four 72-inch by 18-ft boilers, ran all saw machinery. The log pond could store 3 million feet of logs; the log haul-up was 125 feet. Planer operations were run with a 24-inch by 40-inch Hamilton-Corliss engine and three boilers. The plant had telephone (including a connection with the nearby T. B. Allen sawmill) and electricity by 1910. The mill's electric light plant powered six arc lights, forty lamps rated at thirty-two candle power, and three hundred lamps rated at sixteen candle power. A number of Arkansas dry kilns, or smoke kilns, burned on December 4, 1909. Workers' homes were probably not electrified. The original town included an ice cream parlor. Baptists and Methodists shared one building. In 1910, the town had 250 employees, a population of 1200, a commissary (annual sales of $125,000), drug store ($3500), ice cream parlor ($2000), ice house ($2500), meat market ($15,000), barbershop, the church, and a local hotel, where most of the unmarried employees lived. The church was used as the schoolhouse and for lodge meetings and public events. The 125 residences were located upon graded streets. Public bath houses were on site. West Lumber Company was cutting on the Milvid site by 1915. The West Lumber Company appeared at Milvid in 1928 in a sawmill directory as a band sawmill cutting a capacity of 75,000 feet daily.
Research Date: MCJ 03-14-96
Prepared By: M. Johnson