The King-Ryder Lumber Company and the Louisiana & Pacific Railway at Bonami, 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 King-Ryder Lumber Company.
The history of the King-Ryder Lumber Company did not begin at Bonami. It began with the entrance of the Long-Bell Lumber Company into Indian Territory in a manufacturing sense.

During 1897 the Long-Bell Lumber Company purchased property at Thomasville, I. T., and organized and incorporated the King-Ryder Lumber Company, with capital stock of $125,000. The incorporators were: R. A. Long, president; W. S. King, vice president and general manager; W. F. Ryder, treasurer, and C. D. Morris, secretary.

This company continued in business in Indian Territory and Arkansas, branching out year after year, continuing its general office at Thomasville, I. T., but having small mills along the Pittsburg & Gulf road for a distance of nearly 100 miles, manufacturing stock which was marketed from the general office. The manner in which the business was carried forward and quality of stock shipped soon earned for it a reputation far and wide and established and have maintained it with the trade at large.

W. S. King remained with the company until 1898, when the vacancy caused by his retiring was filled by the election of B. H. Smith.

At the time of its organization its president realized the magnitude of the business that would grow out of the enterprise. He therefore selected the very best talent, particularly in the more responsible positions.

C. D. Morris, who had been with the Long-Bell Lumber Company since 1877, was a gentleman of amiable disposition whose presence brought sunshine into the office of his general manager, a man of exceptionally good judgment, his ideas being sought for when important transactions were being considered.

After having had charge of the wholesale department of the Long-Bell Lumber Company for a number of years Mr. Morris was selected as secretary and superintendent of the sales department of the new company, to have in charge all matters pertaining to the disposition of the lumber after it was loaded into cars. How well he did this is attested by the many hundreds of customers of his company and the reputation generally of the King-Ryder stock.

Mr. Morris continued with the new company and removed with it to Bonami, La., remaining there until it was well organized, when on account of ill health he removed to Rogers, Ark.

In October, 1900, the company broke ground at Bonami for the present mill. The company began work on the mill building in December and had the mill in operation July 26, 1901.

The officers of the present King-Ryder Lumber Company are: R. A. Long, president; B. H. Smith, vice president and general manager, and W. F. Ryder, secretary and treasurer.


Town of Bonami.
The town of Bonami, La., is a creation of the King-Ryder Lumber Company. It is located on the Kansas City Southern and the Louisiana & Pacific railways.

Bonami contains 210 houses, two schools, three secret orders and two churches.

The town of Bonami is a model in the matter of sanitation. It is one of the few distinctly saw mill towns in the south that has not had to go through with a line of troublesome fevers.

It has been particularly free from malarial troubles. Besides the extremely fine and consistent surface drainage very much of this is attributable also to the water.

In March, 1901, the King-Ryder Lumber Company put down a 200-foot well. An air compressor has to be used in the well, but it will produce a million gallons of water each twenty-four hours and the water is of remarkable purity. The management is now putting down another well of like character.

Bonami has two hotels -- a very superior hotel for traveling men called the Commercial, and the Hotel Bon Ami for those who demand cheaper entertainment. The Commercial hotel is considered one of the best hostelries between Shreveport and Port Arthur.

The town has excellent fire protection from the mains laid by the King-Ryder Lumber Company besides the elevated tank which can be used in case the pumps should stop. The pumps are kept to the pressure of 60 pounds all the while, and it will be observed under the fire protection head devoted to this company that there are more than the ordinary number of lineal feet of water pipe laid throughout the town of Bonami as compared with other saw mill points.

Bonami is the fourth largest town in Calcasieu parish, having at least 1,500 inhabitants.


Timber Lands and Logging at Bonami.
The lands of the King-Ryder Lumber Company are all located in Calcasieu parish. Two-thirds of the acreage is east of the Kansas City Southern tracks and the remainder to the west.

The logging is done with mules and horses. The high wheel "slip tongue" cart is in use. The logging crews are housed in the woods in portable houses, not built as a part of the car, but built so they may be easily put on a car for removal from point to point.

A very useful feature of the camp of this company is a portable barn built of five cars with sheet iron wings, movable feed troughs, folding mangers etc., which will hold eighty head of mules and horses. It can be picked up and moved in half a day by six men.

The spur tracks into the woods are laid regularly 800 feet apart. Two chain gangs, one Decker loader and one "Baptist"pine logging machine are used in loading the logs onto the cars.

The Baptist machine in use by the King-Ryder people has three pulling cables operated by one engine and as fast as the logs are pulled in they are loaded upon the cars by a separate and independent loading engine and boom which swings toward either side of the track.

The log "loader" referred to, the "skidder" partially described and the two gangs of men which work by chains and with horse or mule teams load 250,000 feet of logs daily.

All the track for the woods is laid with one small 12-ton locomotive and no teams are used to haul steel in the woods. The grading is done by teams. A water car is in use to carry water to the woods for the use of the men and animals, A small commissary is maintained in the woods for the use of the men.

The logs are cut from 24 feet to 48 feet in length and are sawed at the mill by drag saw to the desired lengths for manufacturing. The King-Ryder Lumber Company is an advocate of the low cutting of stumps. This has not been an easy form to institute.

The King-Ryder Lumber Company has 43,367 acres of timber lands from which to draw its supply of logs. Other purchases are being made in the usual way.

The King-Ryder Company employs mules and horses exclusively in the woods and has now on the work 93 mules and 31 horses.


Louisiana & Pacific Railway.
The Louisiana & Pacific railway is one of the four roads which make up the Long-Bell railway system. B. H. Smith is its general manager, W. F. Ryder superintendent and R. H. Mathis auditor, all of Bonami.

The general office of the road is in the Keith & Perry building, Kansas City, Mo. R. S. Davis is traffic manager.

Counting all of the spur tracks etc. used for logging the Louisiana Pacific railway has twenty miles of track. The main line will be extended at least six miles farther. The rail is of 35-pound steel, the road is a standard gage.

The locomotives in use by the Louisiana & Pacific railway are one 35-ton Rogers, one 35-ton Grant, one 12-ton Porter, one 35-ton Blood, and to this is soon to be added a 43-ton Baldwin mogul. Photographs of these locomotives, including the Baldwin referred to, are incorporated in the illustrated portion of this article.

The Louisiana & Pacific railway has seventy-two cars in commission. The road employs, including the steel gang, all told forty-five men.


Log Storage at Bonami.
The King-Ryder Lumber Company has two log storage ponds in one. The railroad track of the Louisiana & Pacific railway crosses this in the middle and the logs are dumped directly into the pond to the north, the road at that point running east and west just before it passes the mill. The pond to the south is used for a reserve pond, the logs being shoved in under the railway track.

This pond will all told hold 2,500,000 feet of logs.


The Saw Mill at Bonami.
A fine panoramic view of the saw mill of the King-Ryder Lumber Company is shown herewith in the illustrated story of the Long-Bell affiliated saw mill plants.

The mill comprises two band mills and one circular mill and is contained in a frame building two and one-half stories high, erected on a most solid brick foundation. The main building is 48x250 feet in area.

The new saw mill of the King-Ryder Lumber Company at Bonami contains two single cutting bands and one circular mill, all complete in every detail and of the most modern pattern.

These mills have all practical labor saving devices. The mill has a capacity of 150,000 feet of lumber daily, but runs day and night producing double that amount of lumber at the present time.

Timbers can be cut and surfaced four sides 20x30 inches by 54 feet in length or smaller.

The mill was built for durability and with a view of getting the lowest possible insurance rate.

Brick, iron and steel enter into its construction wherever practical.

The mill is provided with blast machinery to take care of all refuse.


Drying and Handling Rough Lumber.
The lumber is handled from the tail of the mill to the two stackers and to the yard sorting table.

The common lumber goes to the sorting chains, 150 feet long.

The lumber going direct to the yards is loaded on wagons by automatic power and hauled to the yards and dumped where it is wanted.

Lumber intended for the kilns goes to the stackers, where it is stacked on edge. From the stackers the lumber is transferred to the dry kilns 200 feet north by a cable run by a separate engine. The lath is also conveyed in the same way.

The dry kilns contain six rooms, each 22x104 feet in area. Five of these rooms are used for lumber and one for lath. The five rooms used for lumber will hold 300,000 feet. The one room used for lath holds 450,000 lath. The daily capacity of these six rooms is 100,000 feet of lumber and 40,000 lath.

The dry kiln rooms are equipped with Standard dry kiln automatic steam jets, two in each room. The old line insurance companies have adopted this particular kiln as their standard of excellence, holding that it is a high class model in every respect. All the walls of these kilns are built of 18-inch brick.

The rough sheds are directly west of the dry kilns, the main shed being 64x500 feet. There is a cooling shed 64x150 feet. These two sheds will hold 3,550,000 feet of lumber and contain 41,600 square feet of floor space.

The rough stock and railroad timbers are carried out at the tail of the mill and over a dock at the north end which is 250 feet long. The sizer referred to elsewhere stands between the tail of the mill and this dock. In fact, there are two docks, one 250x90 and one 36x250, so that at least 500,000 feet of rough lumber can be piled in this place. Twelve cars can be loaded at this dock at the same time.


Planing and Caring for Dressed Stock.
The plant of the King-Ryder Lumber Company, at Bonami, La., is fitted with two very remarkably fine and entirely modern, up to date planing mills.

Planing mill No. 1 is just a little south of the depot of the Kansas City Southern railway and is contained in a building 90x210 feet in area. The boiler house at the south end of planing mill No. 1 is fifty feet square, built almost entirely of brick and steel, and contains four boilers and a 24x30 Filer & Stowell rock valve engine.

The two large new planing mills were built to take care of the day and night runs of the saw mill and are furnished with very complete and up to date machinery for the manufacture of lumber finished to all patterns known to architects and builders.

The surplus shavings are handled from this planing mill by a 70-inch double Sturtevant fan. The shavings are piped to a sawdust burner 630 feet to the southeast, which is of steel construction, 230 feet long, in the form of an almost half circle and is ten feet high.

The lumber is handled from the yards, both to this planing mill and planing mill No. 2, on mule dollies from the rough lumber shed.

One of the most important features of the King-Ryder Lumber Company’s plant is the magnificent loading track, 2,500 feet long, which runs north and south along each side of the Kansas City Southern tracks and extends from planing mill No. 1 at the extreme south end of the plant on past the two dressed lumber sheds to and in front of planer No. 2. The dressed lumber sheds of the King-Ryder plant are two in number, each 150x150 feet in area, and will hold

3,000,000 feet of dressed stock in an area of 45,000 square feet.

Planing mill No. 2 is contained in a building 90x 200 feet in area and there is a boiler house 46x60 feet. The power plant consists of two boilers of 1,700-horse power. The engine is an 18x24 Atlas.


Electric Lights and Telephones.
The telephone system at Bonami is one of the most complete in use by a saw mill company. There is a private exchange located in the store of the company and with it are connected twenty-one instruments, with an instrument at almost every desk and certainly at all of the important points of the plant, in the works, in the mills, in the planing mills, yards, a connection with the office of the Hudson River Lumber Company at DeRidder, La., three miles distant, and a long distance connection with the Southwestern Telephone Company.

There are two electric light generators with a total capacity of 58-1/2 K. W. There are in commission twenty-one arc lights and 800 incandescent lights. Almost every important residence and place of business in the town of Bonami is thus lighted in a most complete way.


Machine Shops at Bonami.
The machine shop at Bonami is one of the most complete shops connected with any yellow pine manufacturing concern. It stands east of the saw mill. An interior view of this machine shop is shown in the illustrated story herewith. It is contained in a building 50x186 feet in area. Besides the regular machine shop tools it contains a car and woodworking shop, blacksmith shop etc. The machine tools consist of one 20-foot lathe, one 8-foot planer, one 18-inch shaper, one drill press, one hydraulic wheel press, one bolt cutter and threader, with all necessary smaller tools complete in every particular.

These people are prepared to rebuild locomotives in every part except the castings.

There is a complete brass foundry, where all brasses used about the plant are made.

There is room in this machine shop so that two or three locomotives might be placed therein and be worked upon at the same time without incommoding the men.


Fire Protection at Bonami.
There is a reservoir into which water runs direct from the well, which is located just southeast of the saw mill. This reservoir holds 90,000 gallons.

The force is applied by two Worthington pumps of 500 gallons a minute capacity each, which force the water to the main pipe lines and to the elevated water tank, which is seventy-six feet high and holds 43,000 gallons of water.

There is in use at Bonami 31,680 feet of water mains, or exactly six miles of piping of all kinds. There are seventy-five hydrants from which this water may be drawn at high pressure located where they will do the most good in case of any possible fire. Besides several thousand feet of hose there are two hose carts which can be rapidly put into use should a fire occur.

Selling the Lumber.
The product of the King-Ryder Lumber Company is handled almost entirely by the Long-Bell Lumber Company, of Kansas City.

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.