Rapides Lumber Company and the Woodworth, Louisiana & Central Railway at Woodworth, 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.

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The Rapides Lumber Company, Limited.
The beginning of the Rapides Lumber Company, Limited, was in 1890, when C. E. Roberts, C. S. Woodworth and Ed Rand purchased 18,000 acres of timber in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, of John Henry, of New Orleans. Even at that comparatively early date land was worth $4.25 an acre.

The Rapides Lumber Company was incorporated on December 20, 1890. Mr. Roberts built the mill and ran it three years. Mr. Roberts sold his interest to the Long-Bell Lumber Company in 1896.

The first officers of the Rapides Lumber Company, Limited, were C. S. Woodworth, president; Ed Rand, vice president, and C. E. Roberts, secretary and treasurer.

The Long-Bell Lumber Company purchased C. S. Woodworth’s interest in 1895. The officers of the company are R. A. Long, president; C. B. Sweet, vice president, and Ed Rand, secretary, treasurer and general manager.

The capacity of the first mill was 75,000 feet daily. In the twelve years of its life new machinery has been installed until there remains only the engine and four of the original boilers. The mill now has an average daily capacity of 110,000 feet.


The Town of Woodworth.
The town of Woodworth, established twelve years ago, has 1,000 inhabitants. It is located on the St. Louis, Watkins & Gulf and Woodworth & Louisiana Central railways. Bayou Clear runs through the town, a stream noted for its peculiarly picturesque surroundings and the clearness of its water.

There is a union church where services under the auspices of either the Methodist or Baptist organization are held each Sunday. There are schools and churches for both white and black races.

The Rapides Lumber Company, Limited, furnishes electric light to the principal houses and the town is very well served in the matter of fire protection by having ever at hand the resources of the lumber company in water mains.

The general store, owned and operated by the lumber company, carries an average stock of $15,000 worth of goods and has in connection a cold storage warehouse for the convenience of the inhabitants of Woodworth.

The town of Woodworth contains all told 103 houses and a new line of houses, some dozen in number, now being erected for the convenience of the men who work for the Rapides Lumber Company, Limited.

Taken all together Woodworth is in an extremely healthy locality for its sanitation is of the best.


Rapides Lands and Logging.
The lands of the Rapides Lumber Company, Limited, are all situated in Rapides parish, Louisiana. The timber is particularly adapted for export and railroad material, which trade the company solicits to a great extent. Its plant, however, is very complete in the direction of being able to turn out the highest grade of commercial stock. To generalize it may be safely said that this company owns enough timber now to keep its present plant in operation for at least twenty years.

The Rapides Lumber Company, Limited, owns at least 46,000 acres of longleaf yellow pine lands and in its life has cut over only 16,000 acres. The timber is purely long-leaf yellow pine and is not mixed with any varieties of cypress or hardwoods. The management of the company especially congratulates itself on this point. This land has produced not less than an average of 10,000 feet to the acre. The land is rolling, which makes the logging easy in all sorts of weather.

The company has used cattle in its logging operations until recently, but is now gradually adopting mules for the purpose of skidding.

Ed Rand, the human dynamo who infuses power and purpose into all the operations of the Rapides Lumber Company, Limited, has well defined ideas concerning the ultimate settling up of the country after and even before the pine is gone. There is now near the logging operations of the company a colony of hard working, frugal and industrious Belgians, who came there voluntarily to assume their life work.

These people live in nice four room cottages, have fine farms well fenced, raise potatoes, cotton, corn etc. and their products go to Woodworth and to Alexandria in wagons.

It is the intention of Mr. Rand to form a coalition with the chief men of the community and ultimately bring over from the old country many hundreds of their compatriots to be made into useful citizens to assist in creating the wealth of the Louisiana of the future.


Woodworth & Louisiana Central Railway.
The Woodworth & Louisiana Central Railway Company, whose principal service at present is the carrying of the

There is in connection with this machine shop a brass foundry, in which all necessary molding in brass is done for the entire plant.


Electric Lights and Telephones.
The electric light plant is located in the saw mill engine room and is run by an individual engine. It is a direct current and one of the best installed plants of its size in the country, with a capacity of 35 K.W. There are installed in and about the plant and at Woodworth twelve arc lamps and 350 incandescent lights. These incandescent lights are scattered through the store, ice house and all the mill buildings.

The private telephone lines of the Rapides Lumber Company, Limited, consist of a six-mile line from Woodworth to La Morie with two receivers; a line to Alexandria eleven miles long, which connects with the Cumberland long distance telephone, and a line extending south along the St. Louis, Watkins & Gulf railway as far as Forest Hill, La.


Fire Protection at Woodworth.
The policy of fire protection of the Rapides Lumber Company, Limited, is similar to that of all the Long-Bell Lumber Company’s affiliated interests. There is provided adequate power to throw water and all the pipe deemed necessary, and all heads of departments and responsible men about the plant are thoroughly familiar with every portion of the affair.

The fire whistle has seldom if ever broken the night solitude or interrupted the whirring wheels in the day time, but whenever this has occurred it has been found that the concerted action of the men has been all that was necessary to meet any emergency.

At Woodworth there are two pumps of 390 gallons capacity a minute, supplemented by a tank 80 feet high, which holds 40,000 gallons of water. The supply of water is permanent. There are 5,000 lineal feet of water mains and laterals connected with the plant and the usual complement of hydrants.


Selling Lumber at Woodworth.
All of the lumber of the Rapides Lumber Company, Limited, is sold direct to the trade. A previous discussion of the railways of this concern in another department of this article has shown the shipping facilities to be well nigh perfect.

The combination tariff sheets between the Watkins & Louisiana Central railway and the Texas & Pacific, Southern Pacific and St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern railways guarantee that this concern can get into almost all of the territory which today uses yellow pine lumber.

The company sends out lists regularly. Mr. Hortig pays particular attention to mill orders and correspondence and every car that leaves Woodworth carries a car card in two colors, an idea of Mr. Rand’s; a cupid with a banner and tooting horn that announces from two white horses the "Service and Quality" motto of the company.

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.