DeRidder & Eastern Railway and the Hudson River Lumber Company at DeRidder, Louisiana, in 1902; excerpts from the American Lumberman magazine.  
Source: American Lumberman. "From Tree to Trade in Yellow Pine." American Lumberman, July 2, 1904, 47-116. Chicago: American Lumberman, 1904.

The saw mills of the Long-Bell Lumber Company are situated at Woodworth, La.; at Bonami, La.; at DeRidder, La.; at Yellow Pine, La.; and at Weed, Siskiyou county, California.

The yellow pine manufacturing plants will be described in their order in this department and a description of the Weed Lumber Company will be printed under the head of the Pacific coast interests elsewhere in this article.

Of the saw mill towns named the first four have an aggregate population of about 7,000 persons; the mills at these four places cut 867,319 logs in 1903 and there is behind these plants 228,850 acres of land covered with timber standing ready for the saw.

  . . .  

The DeRidder & Eastern Railway.
The DeRidder & Eastern Railway Company is one of the four roads which comprise the Long-Bell railway system and is domiciled at DeRidder. The offices are located at DeRidder. The local officers are H. E. Sweet, general manager, and C. A. Paxson, auditor. It is a standard gage built of 35 pound steel and has about fifteen miles of track laid.

The equipment of the road consists of four locomotives, which are appropriately illustrated in the picture portion of this story, and it has all told fifty-four cars. It will take at least forty-five miles more of steel to secure all of the timber which the Hudson River Lumber Company now owns. The road has thirty-five employees.

The engines consist of one 35-ton Rhode Island, one 15-ton Porter, one 30-ton Baldwin and one 35-ton Shay.


Log Storage at DeRidder.
The logs at DeRidder are dumped into a made pond which is fed by the rains, by the water pumped into it, naturally from the overflow of the wells and the reservoir. The supply seems inexhaustible, the overflow and the rains keeping it properly flooded. This pond will hold 1,000,000 feet of logs.


The Saw Mill at DeRidder.
The saw mill at DeRidder is about a quarter of a mile east of the Kansas City Southern tracks at that point and is contained in a building 50x228 feet in area, two and a half stories high, with the pulleys on the first floor, the saw floor being the second floor and the half story the filing room. The log haulup is from the east. The mill stands east and west as to general direction.

This mill being the latest built by the Long-Bell Lumber Company alliances, should be easily the best.

The mill has two double cutting Allis-Chalmers band mills and attachments of the latest pattern lumber trimmer, lath mill etc.

The plant has a vast amount of timber back of it, which was taken into consideration when the location was selected, and accounts for the substantial construction of the plant throughout.

The power is furnished by four 66-inch by 18-foot boilers and is transmitted by a 26x48 Corliss engine. Timbers up to forty-four feet can be cut on one side of this mill; 30,000 lath are produced daily from the refuse.

This saw mill cuts 125,000 feet of lumber daily, lumber scale. The furnaces in the boiler room are fed automatically and have smoke stacks 110 feet tall and eight feet in diameter.


The Hudson River Lumber Company.
The Hudson River Lumber Company, one time of Hudson, Ark., now of DeRidder, La., was incorporated at Hudson, Ark., twelve miles north of Texarkana, on the Kansas City Southern railway, on February 15, 1898, R. A. Long, president; C. B. Sweet, vice president and manager, and C. H. Dodd, secretary and treasurer.

The original purchase of timber at and near that point was 15,000 acres.

The Hudson River Lumber Company erected a band and "Dixie" circular at Hudson, Ark., and also a planing mill and the necessary dry kilns.

The company was in operation at Hudson, Ark., until the latter part of September, 1902. The Long-Bell Lumber Company and the Hudson River Lumber Company, in July, 1901, bought a great tract of 52,000 acres of timber in that portion of Louisiana of which DeRidder is now the commercial and active lumber producing center. All of this Louisiana purchase was in Calcasieu parish, the north end of the purchase being only two miles south of the north line of the parish. The erection of the new mill began in May, 1902.

The Hudson River Lumber Company produced and sold during its Arkansas experience at least 100,000,000 feet of high class shortleaf lumber.

In May, 1901, C. B. Sweet went to Kansas City as general manager of mills for the Long-Bell Lumber Company. H. E. Sweet, a brother, became secretary and manager of the company and C. A. Paxson treasurer. The officers were then as now -- R. A. Long, president; C. B. Sweet, vice president; H. E. Sweet, secretary and general manager, and C. A. Paxson, treasurer.

The planing mill was kept running at Hudson until the last day of January, 1903.

The company brought with it when it moved to DeRidder nearly all of the crew of men that had helped to make the success at Hudson.

Ground was broken at DeRidder on May 28, 1902, and on March 27, 1903, the mill was started. Thus only about eight weeks intervened between the stopping of the making of lumber at Hudson and the beginning of the making of lumber at DeRidder.

The planing mill was speedily erected at DeRidder, but did not start until July, 1903.


The Town of DeRidder, La.
DeRidder, La., is the home of the Hudson River Lumber Company and is situated on the Kansas City Southern railway 689 miles from Kansas City. The road at that point runs almost directly north and south, which, if remembered by the reader, will help to explain the location of the various buildings of the plant, which will be enumerated and described under appropriate heads.

DeRidder was a station on the Kansas City Southern railway and very much of a town before the advent of the Hudson River Lumber Company and it now has a population in the neighborhood of 3,000 persons.

The exact date of the founding of DeRidder is not known. It was, however, incorporated in 1903.

The town of DeRidder is especially blessed with deep wells, as is the town of Bonami, a few miles further south. The wells at DeRidder are 200 feet deep, the water coming to within thirty feet of the surface. This water is of great purity and adds much to the uniformly good health of the community. One of the industries of DeRidder outside of the lumber business is a bottling works using the water mentioned.

A great deal of attention has been paid by the lumber company and by the citizens in general to the matter of providing high class schools. A public school building is just now about to be completed which will cost about $6,500 and to which the company gave $2,000. A picture of this building is printed in the illustrated story herewith, showing the building in process of erection. This school will have eight teachers and the attendance will be from DeRidder, from Ludington and from the surrounding country. There are lodges of Masons and Odd Fellows, all having separate buildings. A new public school building is being erected for the colored people.

The Hudson River Lumber Company has added about 125 houses to the town besides the postoffice, butcher shop, hotel, offices and a very superior commissary, which carries an average stock of from $15,000 to $20,000 worth of goods.

The Hudson River Lumber Company has paid especial attention to the grading of streets and to the matter of drainage and has put in pavements in its part of the town quite extensively, something that is not often seen in a saw mill town. All of the company houses in the town have water supplied by the very complete system of water piping that has been put down by the company.


Timber Lands and Logging at DeRidder.
The first purchase of the Hudson River Lumber Company in Calcasieu parish, Louisiana, was 52,000 acres of longleaf yellow pine land. It has since bought land until now it aggregates 63,278 acres and there remains yet uncut 61,388 acres. The managers figure that their stumpage now amounts to 735,456,000 feet. Of this stumpage there is nothing whatever in the way of hardwoods.

The company at DeRidder is now operating in the woods with twenty-five horses, forty cattle and twenty-five mules, using the mules for loading with the slip tongue cart, the oxen with the wagons. The long logs are largely handled with the carts and the short logs on wagons by the oxen. The policy of the company, however, is to cut many long logs and have them resawed by drag saw to the length desired in the mill.

The logging is done back a quarter of a mile on each side of the railroad track. Portable houses, some twenty in number, are provided for the men in the woods.


Yarding and Drying of Lumber.
The lumber leaves the DeRidder mill in three directions, all practically automatic. The rough stuff, timbers etc. are moved to the west on live rolls to the general timber dock which has a shipping front of 425 feet and will hold twenty cars of lumber.

That lumber which is to be dressed goes to the sizer, which is a 20x30-inch affair run by a 20x24 engine with steam from the saw mill boilers, on transfer chains, where it is separated into dry kiln stock and yard stock by a trip worked by one man with an extra man to look after keeping it straight.

The yard stock moves on live rolls to the west for 20o feet to a sorting table under a shed standing north and south, which is 175x32 feet in area, running to the north, standing its long way to the north and south. Here four men and a grader pull it off and place it upon dollies which are pulled by mules, each dolly having upon it one grade and size. It takes 100 dollies to handle the output of rough stuff that goes directly to the yard. These dollies are handled by three mules.

In the yard the stock is piled down and up from trams eight feet above the ground. The stock is thus piled on an average of eight feet below the tram and twelve feet above the tram, making the average height of the piles in the yard of the Hudson River Lumber Company twenty feet.

The yards of the company are most conveniently fitted with trams over which the lumber can be easily carried. There are in the yards trams which aggregate a total length of 12,146 feet all told.

After being dumped on the conveyor chains the dry kiln stock goes to the stackers, two in number, the lumber being divided automatically by the trip man into 1-inch and 2-inch.

After the lumber is stacked and arranged for the dry kiln it is moved on rails until it reaches the kilns proper, which are located about 120 feet distant.

The kilns are of brick and consist of five rooms, each room 24x112 feet in area. These kilns will hold, the three that are used for lumber, 225,000 feet and can turn out 50,000 feet of dried lumber daily.

The lath are loaded onto a kiln car and moved directly into the kiln.

The lumber is transferred from the kiln 200 feet farther north to the rough shed, through which all lumber star and better is transferred until its proper stall is reached. This is done by transfer chains.

It is not recorded that there is a similar shed of this kind anywhere else in the south. The transfer chains run the entire length of the building. This building is 64x415 feet in area and 27 feet high. The sorting tables are located about 16 feet from the ground. As the lumber comes into the shed it is graded by one man, then four men pull it off and handle it to the bins on either side of the transfer chains.

The lumber needed at the planing mill is carried directly through to the end of the shed and loaded on dollies and transferred directly to the planing mill.

This shed will hold all told about 2,000,000 feet of lumber. The storage capacity extends up and above the tram as well as below. The lath go along under the gallery or dock and are stored there. Two million lath can be put into this rough shed.

There is an independent engine 8x10 in size at the south end of this storage shed for the purpose of handling the chains.


Planing and Handling Dressed Lumber.
Two hundred feet north of the rough shed at DeRidder is the planing mill, contained in a building 76x196 feet in area.

The boiler house of the planing mill is built to the east of the planing mill structure and is of brick and iron. It is 52x65 feet and contains four boilers 16 feet long and 60 inches in diameter. The engine which transmits the power to the planing mill machinery is a Houston, Stanwood & Gamble 22x30 in size.

The planing mill machinery consists of one edger; one band resaw; one Byrkit lath machine; one Woods molder; one Hall & Brown molder; one surfacer and seven Hall & Brown Machinery Company matchers.

The lumber is brought to the planing mill from the rough shed and from the yard and also directly from the saw mill through the dry kiln and over the carrying chains in the great rough shed, as outlined in another department.

All the lumber wherever from is carried to the planing mill on four wheeled lumber buggies.

As much of the stock as it is possible to handle in that way is put directly from the planing mill into cars. Of course when this cannot be done the lumber is run from the planing mill into the dressed lumber sheds to the east and to the west of the mill.

The dressed lumber sheds may contain all together 4,500,000 feet of lumber and they have in area 30,000 square feet of floor space. The total floor space of the rough and dressed sheds equals 56,560 square feet.


Electric Lights and Telephones.
The basic principle of the electric lighting system of the Hudson River Lumber Company is incorporated in two dynamos -- one in the planing mill boiler house, which supplies the planing mill and uptown lights, and one in the saw mill engine room, which supplies the saw mill yard and rough shed.

The two generators have together a joint capacity of 50 K. W. and supply all told fifteen arc lights and 600 incandescent lamps. The system is very complete.

The Hudson River Lumber Company is on the Bonami circuit by way of a personal line from DeRidder to Bonami, three miles south. There is a separate line with phones at the store, office, saw mill, planer etc. This particular local telephone line is a mile in length.

There is another line connecting the office, machine shop and woods which has three receivers -- one in the machine shop and one in the woods. This line is six miles long.

In the store of the Hudson River Lumber Company is a receiver of the Southwestern Telephone Company that keeps DeRidder in touch with the outside world in a telephonic way.


Machine Shops at DeRidder, La.
The Hudson River Lumber Company has a very complete machine shop contained in two buildings. The machine shop proper is in a building 40x80 feet in area and the car shop is in a building 20x80 feet in area. This building also contains the carpenter shop.

The machine shop handles practically all the repair work necessary at this place and in addition builds all the cars that are needed for the DeRidder & Eastern railway.


Fire Protection at DeRidder, La.
The supply of water for fire protection and for other uses at DeRidder is obtained from a very remarkable deep well, which is 200 feet deep and worked with an air compressor. The pressure to the complete system of piping, tanks, reservoir etc. is accomplished by one Snow pump of 500 gallons a minute capacity and a Gardner pump of 350 gallons a minute capacity.

The lineal feet of water main at DeRidder aggregates something like 22,000. The water tank, which is 86 feet high, holds 50,000 gallons and the great reservoir near the mill where the main body of the water supply is kept under pressure is 30 feet deep and 30 feet in diameter.


Shipments of Lumber from DeRidder.
The Hudson River Lumber Company handles its own stock direct, and running only half time in 1903 on account of building new mill it shipped 1,053 cars. This company reaches as far east as Ohio and Pennsylvania for its trade and naturally gets into all of the territory west of the Mississippi river to and including Colorado.

Two traveling men are engaged in disposing of the product. A. L. Sweet travels in southeastern Kansas and southwestern Missouri, northeastern Indian Territory and northwestern Arkansas and has headquarters at Pittsburg, Kan. George S. Hays, traveling man, works in northern Kansas with no definite or particular headquarters.

Text and images were digitized and proofread from the original source documents by Murry Hammond. Contact Murry for all corrections and contributions of new material.