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

Woodworth & Louisiana Central Railway.
The Woodworth & Louisiana Central Railway Company, whose principal service at present is the carrying of the products in timber and lumber of the Rapides Lumber Company, Limited, is one of the four common carriers which make up the Long-Bell railway system, whose general offices are in the Keith & Perry building, at Kansas City, Mo.

The Woodworth & Louisiana Central Railway Company has as local officers F. J. Hortig, general manager; Ed Rand, treasurer, and C. E. Allday, auditor.

This railway has now of main line sixteen miles of road used for logging operations almost exclusively; to this three miles of spur tracks are tributary.

The particularly lumber end of the road is six miles, is of standard gage 40 pound steel and connects Woodworth with La Morie, the junction point of the Southern Pacific and Texas & Pacific lines.

The road from Woodworth into the woods is a narrow gage and thoroughly ballasted. It is built of thirty-five pound steel rails and runs in a westerly direction from Woodworth. This road operates fifty-two cars, employs thirty-nine men and uses five high class locomotives. Four of these locomotives are devoted to the pulling of logging trains and one is used especially for the traffic between Woodworth and La Morie.

The locomotive equipment consists of one 20-ton side rod Grant, one 20-ton Shay, one 28-ton side rod Brooks, one 30-ton side rod Shay and one 45-ton Rhode Island locomotives, all of which are appropriately illustrated in this article.

The Woodworth & Louisiana Central railway keeps a force of men with an engine busily engaged in building spur tracks into the timber at various points as needed. The main line engine on the logging end pulls twenty-three loads easily and with great dispatch. The company will need about fifteen miles of track to get into all the timber which is now in its possession.

. . .

The Rapides Machine Shop.
There is at Woodworth, a picture of which is printed among the illustrations herewith, a combined car and machine shop building 66x60. A separate engine, 5x7 in size, is utilized to run this shop.

The machine shop contains one 24-inch lathe, one 7-inch lathe, one 30x30 planer, one 28-inch drill press, one 1-1/2 inch bolt machine, one saw machine and one 60-ton Vulcan Iron Works hydraulic press.

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

. . .

Log Storage at Woodworth.
The logs that are hauled in over the Woodworth & Louisiana Central railroad are dumped into a narrow log pond formed in Bayou Clear. This pond is composed of swift and running water, which is never in any way affected by dry weather and will hold about 750,000 feet of logs. A very fine picture of this log pond is printed elsewhere in this article.

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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.

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Saw Mill at Woodworth.
A splendid panoramic view of the saw mill at Woodworth is shown in this article. When Mr. Rand was asked to describe it he said: "It is not much for pretty but it is the proper thing for making lumber, which I take it is the purpose for which saw mills are erected."

This mill, so laconically described, is one of the most successful circular saw mills in the entire Yellow Pine Empire and it is worth describing somewhat in detail.

The building is a two-story frame affair, 50x170 feet in area. The boiler house is of brick and 45x65 feet.

On the saw floor of the building are two circular saw mills. The No. 1 mill is an Allis-Chalmers. The carriage contains three head blocks and cuts up to thirty-six feet. The feed is a shotgun affair 9-1/2 inches in size.

The No. 2 mill is a Filer & Stowell. The carriage has four head blocks, 7-inch shotgun feed and cuts up to twenty-four feet.

On the saw floor are a Filer & Stowell double broken roll edger and a Link Belt Machinery Company trimmer.

The logs are handled to the carriage by a Hoo-Hoo nigger manufactured by Giddings & Lewis at Fond du Lac, Wis., and a modern log kicker, loader, steam tripp etc.

The power is generated in five boilers, sixty inches in diameter, fifteen feet long, guaranteeing 411 horse power. This power is transmitted to the machinery by a Wickes Bros. 22x26 engine.

The logs are brought into the mill on an endless chain slab elevator and the lumber is conveyed on an endless chain from the saw mill and loaded on "dollies" as to the common stock. The good lumber goes to a Whaley sorter to be conveyed to the dry kilns.

Drying and Handling Rough Lumber.
The dry kilns are two in number and are located 300 feet west of the saw mill. They hold 105,000 feet of lumber and turn out 40,000 feet of dry lumber daily.

One of the saw mill boilers mentioned in the battery of the five boilers that constitute the power of the saw mill is used for the dry kilns.

The lumber is stacked by hand before going through the dry kilns and when it is dry it is loaded on dollies and taken to the rough shed located north of the dry shed 250 feet. The rough sheds are two in number, each 60x450 feet in length, containing a superficial area of 54,000 feet of piling space. The two sheds will hold 4,000,000 feet of lumber.

The rough dimension and timbers which are shipped direct and do not go through the kilns are loaded on cars at loading docks which run 300 feet north of the saw mill. All these things, the great rough dry lumber shed, the dry kilns, the loading docks referred to, are shown in an illustrated way in the picture herewith.

The lumber that is carried directly to the yards is piled from the ground up. All of the common lumber, both inch and two inch, is put in piles in the yard.

Planing and Handling of Dressed Lumber.
The planing mill of the Rapides Lumber Company, Limited, is situated 1,000 feet north of the saw mill and is contained in a building 60x125 feet in area.

The boiler house is 40x60 feet and located on the north end of the planing mill proper.

The planing mill has complete machinery for turning out all classes of commercial stock, six modern machines being in use.

The fan to manipulate the shavings is a 70-inch double Sturtevant.

The boilers to furnish the power are two in number, manufactured by Casey & Hedges and generate 157 horse power. The engine to transmit this power is a Wickes Bros., 16x18.

The clear lumber is brought from the rough sheds and put into the cars or into the dressed sheds located both north and south of the planing mill. These sheds are three in number, 60x160, 36x230, 36x144. The total floor space is 23,064 square feet. They hold all told 2,000,000 feet of lumber. The loading dock, which has been before referred to, runs from the saw mill directly north about 1,500 feet. The track will contain 40 cars at one time.


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.


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.