Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: HD-45
Corporate Name: Louisiana-Pacific Corporation
Local Name: Silsbee
Owner Name: Louisiana-Pacific Corporation. Kirby Forest Industries. Kirby Lumber Corporation. R.D. Lutton of Chicago, president; J. Kirby Herndon of Houston, vice-president
Location: Silsbee
County: Hardin
Years in Operation: 43 years
Start Year: 1954
End Year: 1996
Decades: 1950-1959,1960-1969,1970-1979,1980-1989,1990-1999
Period of Operation: Began operations in late 1954 to the 1996
Town: Silsbee
Company Town: 2
Peak Town Size: Unknown
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: All grades of finished and unfinished lumber and timbers. 100% of every log is utilized.
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Power Source: Steam, electric, diesel.
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 325000: 1955 (two shifts)
Capacity Comments: 20,000 per hour, 75 million board feet per year (sawmill); 35,000 cords of pulpwood per year (debarkers)
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: A complete lumber mill with four double cutting eight foot band mills, a saw mill proper, dry kilns, and planing mill. Steam to drive electrically two 100,000 pound per hour boilers producing 4160 volts & steam for powering kilns.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe
Historicial Development: Between the years 1948 and 1951, the Kirby Lumber Corporation concluded that the consolidation of its five mills at Honey Island, Silsbee, Bessmay, Call, and Voth into one modern plant would be the best means of realizing the finished lumber and by-products production from its vast timber holdings. Silsbee was chosen as the site for such a mill, and complete, automatic, and conveyorized handling of logs and lumber was the principal consideration in designing the facilities. Salable products from each log was to rise from 60% at the old mills to 80% at the new mill. One hundred percent of every log was to be utilizedthe “refuse” being shipped to the East Texas Pulp and Paper Company mill at Evadale. The site at times employed 800 personnel. On September 18, 1963, the Kirby board of directors authorized the construction of a new plywood plant at Silsbee. Southern Pine had never been manufactured into plywood on a commercial scale before and Kirby Lumber Corporation was an early innovator in establishing the now widespread industry. In 1952, according to The Gulf Coast Lumberman, the Kirby Lumber Corporation sold the commissary to private interests. In 1955, 500 persons were employed at the mill and another 700 were employed in the woods. Annual payroll was $4 million. Two specially designed storage tanks were designed to serve as mill “ponds,” storing over five million feet of logs ahead of the milling operations. Sixty percent of the logs were brought to the mill by rail in 1955, and trucks hauled the rest. The mill was rated at 20,000 board feet per hour, and the mill ran nights regularly, approaching 325,000 board feet per double-shift day. Total production for 1973 was 68,000,000 board feet; for 1975, production was 59,400,000 board feet. After Santa Fe sold Kirby Lumber Corporation to Louisiana-Pacific in 1986, manufacturing was shut down. The plywood and sawmill plants were scrapped in 1987-1988. The particleboard plant was started back up and an OSB plant built.
Research Date: JKG 10-13-93, MCJ 03-13-96
Prepared By: J Gerland, M Johnson