At Diboll, Texas, the Southern Pine Lumber Company, of Texarkana, operate a whale of a sawmill plant.
It isn't quite as large from a sawmill standpoint as it once was, for years ago they had three separate and individual sawmills standing side by side in a row along their great mill pond, which is so big it is really almost an inland lake. They had a double band Mill No. 1; a band and gang Mill No. 2; and a single band Mill No. 3. Mill No. 3 cut hardwoods exclusively, and the other two mills cut pine. The hardwood mill, the smallest of the three, burned down, and they did not rebuild it. Since that time both the remaining big mills cut pine in the day time, and Mill No. 2 cuts hardwoods at night. In this way they have kept up their production of both species with two instead of three mills.
All of the Diboll plant is large. It occupies a tremendous acreage of ground. In addition to the two big sawmills, there is a mammoth planer, a box factory, fourteen dry kilns, an entire battery of big lumber storage sheds, and a mighty yard.
Their hardwood lumber all goes to the yard. Here it stays for at least ninety days. Then that which is to be kiln dried goes to the kilns, and the remainder stays on the yard until seasoned. They have no cut-up plant at Diboll, but in their big planing mill they are equipped to dress their hardwood orders in any manner desired by the purchaser.
The entire pine product goes through the kilns, except No. 3. All the low-grade stock that is to go to the yard is dipped in a Lignasan tank to keep it bright. The No. 2 and better goes through the kilns, and thence to the big battery of dry sheds, which stand in a row, each 520 feet in length.
The planing mill turns out about ten cars of dressed lumber each shift and is one of the biggest ever built in the Southwest. There are fourteen dry kilns all together. Eight of these are double kilns that have been remodeled, four are singles, and there are in addition two brand new cross circulation type kilns built by Moore that are giving grand service.
The entire plant is equipped with a sprinkler system for protection against fire, which system has given wonderful service. Just a little over a year ago, the big take-off shed in which the lumber is unloaded and distributed as it comes from the dry kilns, caught fire, and was entirely destroyed. But, though located right in the heart of the plant and surrounded by sawmills, planer, kilns, and many sheds, the fire was confined to the take-off shed, and nothing else was burned. A new and bigger take-off shed was built to take its place.
For the past year and a little over, they have been engaged at great expense and effort in modernizing this big mill at Diboll. They spent about $75,000 for a turbine and other electrical equipment, and built special buildings to house it. For the past several months they have been electrifying the planer, and in another few weeks everything in the big planing mill will be driven by direct connected electric motors.
They completely rebuilt their biggest Pine Mill No. 1. Not only did they rebuild the foundations, floors, and timber docks, but they bought and installed the newest and most efficient machinery that money could buy inside the mill. The old equipment was replaced by an Allis-Chalmers line of equipment, consisting of two band mills, two carriages, new edger, trimmer, live rolls, etc. It made the mill better and more efficient than when it was first built.
At Diboll they have splendid timber, sawmills, planer, drying, and storage opportunities. They should make wonderful lumber, and they DO. They point with pride to the visitor at Diboll, the excellence of manufacture, the beautiful grain, the straightness of the dimension, the density of the timbers, and all the other marks of quality stock that a fine mill like Diboll can turn out. "We make quality lumber at Diboll," said President Arthur Temple, "well manufactured, properly seasoned, well taken care of from pond to car." and that's the way it looks to the lumber visitor.
Not only a big but a beautiful sawmill plant is Diboll. Everything is neat and in order throughout the plant, testifying to the excellence of the management, and the local managing is divided between two very excellent mill men. Nine years ago, upon the much regretted death of Watson Walker, the job at Diboll was divided between John J. O'Hara and P. H. Strauss, both veterans with the organization. Mr. O'Hara joined the plant forces as filer thirty-three years ago. He has charge of the plant operations. Mr. Strauss, who joined the Diboll forces nearly as long ago as did Mr. O'Hara, is in charge of the office, the woods and the logging. Both have been doing a very excellent job for the company.
Vice President Henry Temple is the executive in charge of both the Pineland and Diboll mills. He is building a modern house at Diboll at the present time, and will soon make his home there.
The timber supply at Diboll is something to marvel at. When Mr. T. L. L. Temple started the mill in 1894, he thought there was timber for a number of years. After forty-three years, they find themselves in possession at this plant of more than two hundred thousand acres of timber land in fee, and at least half a billion feet of stumpage thereon. With the logs that are being offered for sale throughout that district, it appears that Diboll has a long, long life of cutting ahead of it.
Diboll is on the H. E. & W. T. Railroad, about twelve miles south of Lufkin. The mill was built in 1894 by the late T. L. L. Temple, of Texarkana. Mr. Temple, who died October 2, 1935, was one of the finest characters and one of the most successful mill operators in the history of the Southwest. He is succeeded in the presidency of the concern by his son, Arthur Temple; Henry G. Temple is vice president; Robert L. Waite is secretary and treasurer; W. Temple Webber is sales manager. The sales office for both the Diboll and Pineland mills is maintained with the general offices in Texarkana.
The sales organization is composed of both salaried representatives and commission salesmen. Southern Pine Lumber Co. is well represented from a sales point of view throughout the country, and especially in the Southwest.
In Dallas, Texas, they maintain an office composed of two salaried salesmen, veteran lumberman Harry W. Walker and his son, Harry Walker, Jr. The senior salesman has been connected with the company for over thirty-five years. He is a long time resident of Dallas, and is prominent in the lumber circles of the city. His territory is Dallas and surrounding suburban communities. Young Walker has been with Southern Pine Lumber Company for over five years. His territory extends west of Dallas.
At Fort Worth, W. R. Martin is in charge of Southern Pine's sales offices. Mr. Martin was formerly shipping clerk for the Hemphill mill, but after it burned and the lumber was disposed of, he was placed in charge of Fort Worth sales. Another lumberman that knows the trade from A to Z, Mr. Martin has made many friends in the Fort Worth section.
T. D. (Tommy) Myers and H. F. Adey are Southern Pine Lumber Company's representatives at Houston. The offices are located at 1027 Shell Building. Mr. Myers has served Southern Pine for many years, and is well known in Houston lumber circles. H. F. Adey has been with the company only two years, but his lumber experience is great. He was sales manager for Crowell & Spencer and later became general manager for W. M. Cady Lumber Company, the total time spent in these connections being twenty years. Later Mr. Adey represented Long Leaf Yellow Pine, Inc., and had charge of their sales offices in New York City. Later he joined the Southern Pine organization.
Sales connections of Southern Pine Lumber Company are also maintained with commission men in the Texas territory. They are : Ralph Davis, San Antonio; Andrew Kaulbach, Beaumont; E. B. Meroney, Waco.
Taken as a whole this group of salaried salesmen and commission men represent about as fine a collection of lumber salesmen that any dealer will want to meet. Cordial, accommodating, they are just the kind of people you would expect to sell the fine products manufactured by the great mills of Southern Pine Lumber Company.