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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: HD-40
Corporate Name: Kirby Lumber Company Mill K
Local Name:
Owner Name: Kirby Lumber Company Mill K. J. F. Keith Lumber Company. Hooks Lumber Company
Location: Ariola (previously known as Sharon or Hooks' Switch), eleven miles southeast of Kountze
County: Hardin
Years in Operation: 20 years
Start Year: 1886
End Year: 1905
Decades: 1890-1899,1900-1909
Period of Operation: 1886, Hooks; 1899, Keith; 1902, Kirby until it burned in March 1905
Town: Ariola (Sharon or Hook's Switch)
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 1905: 108
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: 1895, mainly ties and timbers
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: 30000: 189360000: 1904
Capacity Comments: From 30,000 daily feet in 1893 to 60,000 daily in 1904
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: A sawmill with a circular, edger, trimmer, and shotgun feed to 36-ft. Included planing mill and dry kiln.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Texas & New Orleans. East Texas Railway.
Historicial Development: George W. Hooks and Dr. S. B. Turner built a sawmill of 20,000 board feet per day capacity at a point eleven miles southeast of Kountze in 1886. The site became known as Sharon or Hooks' Switch. In April 1892, Dr. Turner died and the name of the company was changed to Hooks Lumber Company. Grief and tragedy was only beginning, however, for just days after Dr. Turner's death, a boiler explosion at the sawmill killed four workers and seriously wounded six others. More troubles followed. A Kirby Lumber Company publication of 1902 recorded that the “hard times of 1894-95” (when yellow pine market conditions were poor) forced the lumber company to ask for a receiver. The mill did not run regularly under receivership, and it was eventually sold to the J.F. Keith Company in 1899. The town name was changed from Sharon to Ariola, for Eduardo Ariola, the original land grantee there. Little is known about the mill under Keith ownership. Kirby Lumber Company bought the mill and took control on January 1, 1902. The mill site was then sixteen years old. Kirby immediately replaced much of the small capacity machinery and increased the mill's capacity from 20,000 to 60,000 board feet per day. A pond was built near the mill to supply the boilers with water, but it was not used to float logs. When Kirby purchased the Ariola mill, the stumpage was estimated at fifteen years. A Kirby evaluation of the facility in 1904 further confirmed this, recording that the timber supply was “very large,” being mixed long and short leaf pine, but that the quality was “much below average.” Other negative remarks included the dislike of the mill having been built “on (the) ground and without modern conveniences” and the lack of an adequate log pond. When the mill burned in March 1905, Kirby chose not to rebuilt this plant. The Kirby mill plant at Ariola included a planing mill and a 15,000 board feet per day Standard dry kiln in 1904. The dry kiln was in a wooden building, and these two items, together, were valued at $11,142.24. The entire plant was valued at $48,742.24.
Research Date: JKG 10-13-93, MCJ 03-13-96
Prepared By: J Gerland, M Johnson