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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: JE-52
Corporate Name: Olive, Sternenberg and Company
Local Name: Centennial Sawmill
Owner Name: S.C. Olive, president; J.A. Sternenberg, manager.
Location: Beaumont
County: Jefferson
Years in Operation: 8 years
Start Year: 1876
End Year: 1883
Decades: 1870-1879,1880-1889
Period of Operation: 1876 to 1883
Town: Beaumont
Company Town: 2
Peak Town Size: ca. 1,500 to 2,500
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: Rough and dressed lumber, shingles
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Power Source: Two 75-horsepower steam engines
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 33000: 187650000: 1880
Capacity Comments: 33,000 feet daily in 1876, almost 50,000 in 1879.
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: 1876: Shingle machine, three saws. 1880: a five-gang saw, two double-circular saws, two 75-horsepower steam engines, three boilers.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Texas & New Orleans
Historicial Development: Sidney C. Olive and John Abraham Sternenberg bought the old Haltom sawmill site in October 1876. They bought the Atlas showpiece machine at the Centennial in Philadelphia and opened business before the close of the year. For the next year, the company dominated lumber milling in Beaumont. In 1877, the mill cut 805,000 board feet in twenty-six days. The company bought the adjacent lot of the old Eagle Mill of Smyth & Seale in 1878. In 1880, with sixty workers normally, the census recorded a production of nine million board feet of lumber and four million shingles for a value of $88,000. When the sawmill closed for two months, the mill men were sent to the forests to log and raft trees to Beaumont. In 1880, the Olive, Sternenberg mill cut nine million board feet. Their planing mill in Houston was relocated to Beaumont in 1881. Because of railroad shippage difficulties and the drought affecting the rafting of logs down the Neches, Olive and Sternenberg began looking elsewhere to construct a sawmill operation. The coming of the East Texas Railroad through Hardin County, three miles north of their holdings in that county, provided the answer. By the summer of 1881, machinery was shipped to Kountze and carted by oxen the last three miles to their new mill town, Olive. By the end of October, the sawmill was cutting logs there. With the success of the Olive mill, the Centennial Mill closed in 1883 and was dismantled.
Research Date: JKG 8-23-93, MCJ 03-12-96
Prepared By: J. Gerland, M. Johnson