MILL “P,” BRONSON.
At the time the present Gulf, Beaumont & Kansas City railroad was sold by John H. Kirby to the Santa Fe system its northern terminus was but a little beyond Roganville. It was soon after extended to Jasper, the county seat of Jasper county. This work of extension has continued and at present the “Hoo-Hoo” train is the only passenger train on the line. Even from here, however, a railroad track extends for many miles north, though still in the hands of the contractors, and the only means of transportation is by the irregular work trains carrying labor and supplies by which the construction is being projected toward San Augustine, the oldest town in the state, but hitherto without railroad connections; and from there to Center, thus giving this at present isolated portion of the Santa Fe system connections with the great network of Texas railroads. The character of the timber at this point is especially fine, and when the railroad shall have been completed, will probably he the scene of active lumber operations.
North of Brooklyn about fourteen miles on this new line is Bronson, the most northerly point of lumber manufacturing operations of the Kirby Lumber Company. Last spring Bronson was a forest. Now it is an immense clearing, the pine logs from which lie heaped up in and about a new log pond fed from an everlasting spring of purest water. A new mill of modest capacity of excellent design is nearly or quite ready for actual operation and almost innumerable houses and stores have been built with lumber imported at considerable expense from down road points because the Bronson building craze could not wait for the completion of its saw mill.
There is no timber in the Kirby Lumber Company's gigantic holdings which surpasses that (up to this time undeveloped) lying along this railroad north of Jasper. One of the accompanying views shows the quality of logs which lay, awaiting the new saw mill, when the photograph was taken in August; and there are timber views also taken in a short walk after breakfast which did not bring the camerist into the heavier forest. Such is the timber which the new mill “T” to be located north of Jasper will also work.
It is not likely that any great part of the lumber manufactured at Bronson for some time to come will be merged into the general lumber output of the Kirby Lumber Company for the filling of its orders at the general offices. The great bulk of it will be needed in the development and building which will be fostered by the railroad. One feels in any part of east Texas as though development had as yet hardly begun. In and about Bronson are grand possibilities and wonderful resources entirely untouched before the coming of the Kirby Lumber Company with its 200 acre town site, its new saw mill and logging road and the enterprising activity which marks a Kirby saw mill point.
The dominating genius of Bronson is Fred Lockfield. Still a young man, Mr. Lockfield has had a varied mechanical experience. He built a Texas city electric light plant and confesses that he made the mistake of his life in not accepting stock for his services instead of cash. He was afterwards chief engineer for a large sugar refinery upon the Texas coast until malaria drove him to the pine woods, and upon top of all this he has had a number of years of experience in practical lumbering, from the stump to the yard. He was millwright of the new mill and is its superintendent.