William A. Carlisle, biography c. 1917
[Washington, West of the Cascades]
  Source: Hunt, Herbert and Floyd C. Kaylor. Washington: West of the Cascades. Vol. II. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1917. p. 666-667.

WILLIAM A. CARLISLE. Three years ago Onalaska's site was occupied by a little mill. Since then it has been supplemented by buildings which furnish homes and business opportunities to nine hundred people. Its development may be termed one of the wonders of the northwest and yet it is the expression of the business enterprise of the Carlisle family, a family closely associated with the upbuilding and progress of this section of the country. The mill property of the Onalaska Company is one of the most complete plants of the kind in the state and the business controlled by the company ranks with the foremost enterprises of this character in the northwest. Active in the management of the company's interests in Onalaska is William A. Carlisle, who was born in Atchison, Kansas, in 1888, a son of William Carlisle, president of the Carlisle-Pennell Lumber Company of Atchison, Kansas, the owner of the business at Carlisle, Washington, conducted under the name of the Copalis Lumber Company. This company was organized in 1912, at which time a modern lumber mill was erected with a capacity of one hundred and seventy-five thousand feet. A twelve-machine shingle mill was also built and the wise promotion of the industry there has led to the attainment of substantial success. The company has its own logging camps, its logging road and splendid equipment of every kind and employs about three hundred and fifty men. The officers are: William Carlisle, president; George Dysart, vice president; and A. P. Sprague, secretary, treasurer and manager. Still further extending his efforts in connection with the development of the lumber industry in the northwest, William Carlisle and his son, William A., started active developments in February, 1914, at the site of Onalaska, in large timber holdings of the Carlisle-Pennell Lumber Company in that vicinity. They then organized a company known as the Onalaska Lumber Company and began clearing ground for a lumber mill. The father became the president of the newly organized company, with W. A. Carlisle as vice president and treasurer and J. P. Guerrier, secretary and manager. On the 1st of July, 1914, George Dysart became the vice president, with William A. Carlisle as secretary, treasurer and manager. The company at first put up a small mill with which they sawed the lumber to build the present mill, which was completed on the 1st of May, 1916. They erected one of the most modern and splendidly equipped mills ever built in Washington, having a capacity of two hundred thousand feet of lumber daily.

The mill proper is run in part by electricity and the planing mill is run entirely by electricity. The company also built a large shingle mill equipped with six Sumner machines, having a capacity of two hundred and forty thousand shingles daily. This mill is a model of its kind, operated entirely by electricity and equipped with blowers, which remove all dust and render it a pleasant place in which to work. the company operates its own logging camps and has about three and one-half miles of logging railroad with standard equipment. They employ in all three hundred and fifty men, engaged in the manufacture of both rough and finished lumber. The large steam plant generates its own electricity, with which the plant is operated, and also supplies light for the town of Onalaska.

Four years ago there was a single log cabin on the present site of the town, which is now occupied by one hundred and fifty residences in addition to the modern milling plant. The company built these dwellings, which are of four and five rooms. The five-room houses all contain bathrooms. The lumber that was used in the construction of these dwellings was all sawed in the mill. The company also built a store and there is a meat market, a barber shop, a pool hall and a moving picture theater. A regular physician is in attendance, furnished by the Hospital Association. There is a schoolhouse with four teachers and an attendance of one hundred and sixty pupils. The town covers one hundred acres of ground. There is a gravity water system, water being secured from sixteen springs and supplied by pipes to each house, while in every department of the mill there is also running water. The Newaukum Valley Railroad is built to the town from Napavine, where connection is made with the trunk lines. The company built a dam eight hundred and seventy feet long and has a seventeen-acre pond for storing logs. Six kilns have been built for the drying of lumber and two for the drying of shingles. Boarding houses have been built and are operated to accommodate two hundred men. The company's holdings adjacent to the town comprise a magnificent body of virgin timber with an area of twenty-eight thousand acres, sufficient to keep the plan tin operation at its present capacity for the next fifty years. Where land has been cleared it is offered for sale to the workmen at from ten to forty dollars per acre on easy monthly payments, or under any reasonable arrangement the purchaser desires.

William A. Carlisle has made his home at Onalaska since May 1, 1914, coming from Kansas, and has full charge of the plant, while his father spends most of his time here. It was in Atchison, Kansas, in 1913, that William A. Carlisle was united in marriage to Miss Henri Walker and they have one son, William Armitage, Jr.

The attractive home of Mr. and Mrs. Carlisle is a beautiful and commodious bungalow, which was designed by Mrs. Carlisle, and with the exception of the doors, windows, and shingles, all the work was cut in the Onalaska mill. Fraternally Mr. Carlisle is connected with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and Phi Gamma Delta, but he concentrates his efforts and attention upon his business affairs and is now developing one of the important industries of Lewis county, utilizing the natural resources for the upbuilding of a town with a central industry that is providing employment to three hundred and fifty men and a living to many more. The size and completeness of Onalaska cannot fail to impress many visitors to the town and in fact must excite interest and admiration, knowing that all this splendid work has been accomplished within three years.

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