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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: HD-41
Corporate Name: Kirby Lumber Company Mill L
Local Name: Village Mills
Owner Name: Kirby Lumber Company. Village Mills Company, owned by Texas Tram and Lumber Company, a subdivision of Beaumont Lumber Company.
Location: Village Mills, about ten miles north of Kountze, on the Texas & New Orleans
County: Hardin
Years in Operation: 54 years
Start Year: 1882
End Year: 1935
Decades: 1880-1889,1890-1899,1900-1909,1910-1919,1920-1929,1930-1939
Period of Operation: 1882, Village Mills Co.; January 1, 1902, Kirby Lumber Co. to about 1935
Town: Village Mills, earlier Long Station
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 750 in 1902; 316 in 1934
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: General lumber products, including a lath mill. 1928: Longleaf and shortleaf yellow pine.
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Other
Power Source: Steam
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 50000: 1882100000: 190480000: 1928
Capacity Comments: From 50,000 feet of lumber daily in 1882 to 100,000 in 1904. 1928: Sawmill, 80,000 feet; planing mill: 75,000 feet.
Produced:
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: A sawmill with a single circular, edger, trimmer, and a shotgun feed to 48-ft to 54-ft. It included a dry kiln, and a 30,000 foot per day planer was functioning by 1889. 1928: Circular sawmill, planing mill, edgers, trimmers, dry kilns.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Texas & New Orleans with tram connections to Silsbee by 1904.
Historicial Development: The Village Mills Company (W. A. Fletcher, E. A. Fletcher, J. F. Keith) was a subsidiary of Texas Tram and Lumber Company (W. A. Fletcher). Both organizations grew out of the firms, Long and Company and Beaumont Lumber Company, of Beaumont. By the time the mill at Village, Hardin County, was built in 1882, W. A. Fletcher was the majority stockholder of Village Mills and Texas Tram. Jehu Frank Keith was vice-president and superintendent of these firms. The sawmill was constructed about a mile north of the town of Village at Long Station. In 1889, the 600 citizens were equally divided by race. By 1890, the population of Village had reached 800 and was possibly the largest settlement in Hardin County. The town grew so much that the mill's location was described in 1902 as being situated “in the very center of town (Village)” just west of the T&NO tracks. The mill was very successful, receiving mostly crosstie orders, and was able to record several “cutting records” for a sawmill of its size. The Village plant had always had a reputation as a high production operation. The newly formed Kirby Lumber Company acquired the facility on January 1, 1902. A Kirby evaluation of the mill in 1904 remarked that the plant was “without modern conveniences,” but was “one of the strongest circular mills, and heretofore one of the most successful.” Kirby soon added a large log pond and a small dry kiln to the plant. Kirby Lumber later added planing-mill facilities. The mill once cut more than a quarter-million board feet in eleven hours. The first wood-building dry kiln had a capacity of 15,000 feet per day. Appraised at $36,100 in 1904, the mill, by 1911, with improvements was worth $139,700. The mill continued to be successful, but changes in the lumber market prompted Kirby management to close the mill in August 1913. It remained closed until at least April 1914. The mill was reconstructed in 1917 and resumed operations in (see Interpretative Commentary on next page)
Research Date: JKG 10-13-93, MCJ 03-13-96
Prepared By: J Gerland, M Johnson