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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: SB-12
Corporate Name: Kirby Lumber Company Mill P
Local Name: Bronson
Owner Name: Kirby Lumber Company Mill P
Location: Bronson, next to railroad tracks on east side
County: Sabine
Years in Operation: 29 years
Start Year: 1902
End Year: 1930
Decades: 1900-1909,1910-1919,1920-1929,1930-1939
Period of Operation: 1902 to 1930
Town: Bronson
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 3000 in 1928. Tenant houses, commissary, movie, post office
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: 1928: Longleaf yellow pine
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Power Source: Steam
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 65000: 1904
Capacity Comments: 65,000 feet of lumber daily in 1904 and the planing mill had a capacity of 55,000 daily. 1928: 60,000 feet cutting capacity and 55,000 feet planing capacity.
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: A sawmill with a circular originally ; single cutting band (1906), gang, edger and gang trimmer by at least 1911. Planing mills and dry kilns were added later. 1928: Band sawmill, planing mill, edgers, trimmers, dry kilns.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Gulf Beaumont & Kansas City (Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe).
Historicial Development: The Kirby Lumber Corporation built a new mill at Bronson in 1901 and 1902. The sawmill building proper (36-feet by 164-feet) extended over the log pond. The mill first burned on the evening of September 21, 1915. Although the loss was $75,000, it was rebuilt. The saw mill, boilers, and timber dock were lost to fire on March 14, 1927. Although the mill appeared in a 1928 lumber directory, Kirby records do not necessarily confirm the mill ever being rebuilt. The company mill for Kirby in 1928 is listed at Steep Creek as well as Bronson. The Steep Creek operation was an ancillary plant by 1928. Kirby Lumber company announced in November 1930, that it was going to close all its mills with the exception of three pine mills until further notice because of the effects of the Depression. The mill never reopened. Shirley Lewis in an oral interview with Vernon L. Beasley reported that the Kirby Lumber Company at Steep Creek had a commissary, tenant houses, a post office, and a movie house. The equipment in 1906 included a single-cutting bandsaw, a 32-foot carriage with shotgun feed, a 32-foot trimmer with 120 saws, a 50-foot edger, a 20-inch by 24-inch steam engine, an overhead 72-inch cutoff or dragsaw for logs, an underneath cutoff saw for the trimmer. Drying equipment included two dry sheds and one steam kiln with a 20,000-foot capacity. The planer shed machinery could cut 75,000 feet daily with two Hoyt fast-speed machines, one flooring machine, one double 6-inch sizer,a 30-inch resaw, an edger, a 16-inch by 24-inch steam engine, and two boilers (14 feet and 18 feet long, respectively). The plant also included an 18,000-gallon overhead tank and one-half mile of dollyways. Longleaf timber was logged at Camp 14 with two Shay locomotives, fifteen log cars, twenty-two mules, and two oxen. The tram was three miles in length, and four log trains ran daily. J. W. Lewis was the mill superintendent. Mill appraisals valued the mill at $40,000 in 1904 and $146,277 in 1911. One hundred fifty men were employed at a total monthly wage of $5,000.
Research Date: LT 08-09-93, JKG 12-20-93, MCJ 02-13-96
Prepared By: L Turner, J. Gerland, M Johnson