Wiergate (Gulf Coast Lumberman, ca. 1938)  
  Source: "Wiergate", Gulf Coast Lumberman, unknown issue, 1938. Bound in a scrapbook in the collection of Lester Haines.  
Wier Lumber Company at Wiergate, Texas  
Long Leaf logs in the giant pond at Wiergate.  
Wier Lumber Company at Wiergate, Texas  
You would have to travel a long way in Texas before you would find another collection of logs as long and straight, sound and strong, as these big fellows in the Wiergate pond. From raw materials such as these, the giant mill at Wiergate makes famous Wier Long Leaf.  

Last time the GULF COAST LUMBERMAN cameraman visited Wiergate, which was about a year or so ago, he received an indelible impression of the Wier log pond. There before him were acres of the finest, longest, straightest, largest long leaf logs he had ever seen floating in one body of water.

"Smart folks, those Wiers," he figured to himself. "The Houston office must have told the logging department that we were going to visit the mill, and they've gone out and hand-picked the granddaddies of their tall pines and thrown them in the pond so the mill would look really impressive."

It did!

The logs were giants, and the pond was so full you could walk right across the widest part on beautiful long leaf floaters.

Wier Lumber Company at Wiergate, Texas  
Tram cars of long leaf are rolled on an incline and unloaded into the pond.  

A few days ago the GCL cameraman did it a little differently. He sort of slipped up on the Wiergate folks and hove into the buzzing little sawmill city at dusk without letting anyone at the mill know ahead of time that out letting anyone at the mill know ahead of time that he was coming. He even made a small wager with himself that the pond wouldn't be as much as half full because he didn't believe there were that many beautiful long leaf logs.

Well, he lost. The pond looked just as it looked the last visit. You could still walk across the widest part on long leaf floaters without even getting your feet wet!

Before going into the giant mill the GCL cameraman drove out into the Long Leaf forest with Logging Superintendent M. C. Pritchard. It's a beautiful sight on a cold, clear day. The sun filters through the Long Leaf needles underbrush in Long Leaf forest, so the woods look more There onto the straight trunks of virgin timber. There is no like a playground than the "last great stand" of virgin Long Leaf west of the Sabine River. The trees tower above you, making you feel about as big as an undersized ant.

Back at the mill E. J. Booth, manager at Wiergate, will tell you that two Moore cross-circulating Kilns have been installed to augment those already operating, and the augmented battery of new type drying equipment is doing a fine job of turning out perfectly seasoned lumber. They put everything except timbers, number three stock, very short lengths, and dimension longer than 20 feet through the kilns, and since they have modernized their kiln operation, production of kiln-dried stock has increased about 60 per cent.

One of the newer developments at Wiergate is the brain child of Emmett C. Lee, Mr. Booth's able, hard-working assistant. Until recently a steam engine was the central power unit which ran the dry take-down equipment, including the kiln car transfer which runs from the dry sheds to the dry take-down sheds, a distance of a hundred yards or so; the automatic pushing device which slides the lumber off the kiln cars onto the take-down chain; two trimmer saws; and a grain door edger. All of this equipment worked on a long drive shaft and a series of complicated beltings. The kiln car transfer was pulled by a long cable, and the entire unit was bungle
some, slow, and costly.

New Power System
Mr. Lee got busy and designed a new electric power system. Then after working it out on paper, he installed it. The general idea is to break up the power, formerly integrated in the one steam engine, into a series of smaller electric motors. An electric trolley transfer car was designed to replace the old cable transfer car from kilns to take-down. One motor runs the car and the drum which pulls kiln cars on and off the transfer. This one idea alone has increased the speed of handling substantially. The whole new power unit saves steam consumption, belting, lubricating oils, and makes a smoother-performing operation. It is indicative of the eye for progress and improvement which the Wier folks at Wiergate have always had.

In order to generate electricity for the town of Wiergate and added electrical equipment, a new electric generator of 625 kilowatt capacity was installed last summer.

Two Bands, One Circular
The mill is equipped with two double-cutting bands and a circular. It is undisputedly the largest sawmill operation under one roof in the South - west of the Mississippi. The planer, where unfinished Long Leaf is made into beautiful Wier Long Leaf lumber, is just as modern, clean, and efficient as the other departments of the Wier operation. Pieces are carefully checked by the men who run the machines to see that their surface is glassy smooth. At the time of the GCL cameraman's visit, they were running thick flooring to be used in bowling alleys, and the beauty and straightness of the stuff was downright thrilling.

and Ed Hall, Wier's sales manager back in Houston, will tell you that Wier stock not only looks well but is strong as Hercules and as permanent as taxes. This year the Wiergate operation reaches its majority, and it can truthfully be said that here is one mill that for 21 years has made a product of which everyone in the whole years has made a product of which everyone in the whole state of Texas can be justly proud.

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