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Research: Tram & Railroad Database

Code: 24
Corporate Name: The Gulf and Interstate Railway Co. of Texas
Folk Name:
Ownership: Interstate Lumber Company had some kind of association with the Interstate Lumber Company sawmills at High Island and Odelia.
Years of Operation: 1894- to at least 1980
Track Type:
Standard Gauge Wooden Rails
Track Length: Seventy
Locations Served: Port Bolivar Chambers
Counties of Operation: Jefferson and Chambers
Line Connections:
Track Information:
Tram Road Logging / Industrial Common Carrier Logging Camp
Equipment: Galveston, Beaumont & Northeastern Ry. Co. of Miller-Vidor connected Beaumont to pineries elsewhere in the County, The Gulf and Interstate Railway Co. of Texas, which belonged to the Interstate Lumber Company, linked Beaumont to Odelia as well as High Island.
History: The Gulf & Interstate Railway Company was chartered by C. J. and N. C. Jones on May 19, 1894, and then amended that September to The Gulf & Interstate Railway Company of Texas. Its intent was to connect Port Bolivar, on one of the headlands to Galveston Bay, with the Red River, in order to develop the economic improvement of the port. In fact, the railway was completed only to Beaumont by 1897, according to Reed and Zlatkovich. A great hurricane in 1900 destroyed more than twenty-eight miles of the road between Beaumont and Port Bolivar. It was not repaired until 1904. Interestingly enough, enough information exists to indicate that the railway was in the business of owning sawmill companies by then. The Interstate Lumber Company owned a sawmill at High Island, on the railway twenty-eight miles above Port Bolivar, in 1904, which cut a respectable 75,000 feet per day. The ownership included The ownership of Interstate at High Island was P. E. Parminter, E. D. Caruthers, and W. A. Q. Miller. It then disappears from historical records. A second Interstate Lumber Company mill, at Odelia, fifteen miles southwest of Beaumont, was operating by 1905, with Parminter as the first mill superintendent. The Interstate mill was soon sold to the Beaumont Lumber subsidiary, Nona Mills Company. It continued cutting a daily capacity of 60,000 feet. The American Lumberman reported in May 1906: “The new plant of the Nona Mills Company, at Odelia, on the Gulf and Interstate railroad, has been in operation for a week. Dry kilns have been erected with a capacity of 50,000 feet a day greater than formerly possessed by the mill. The plant has been generally overhauled and improved under the superintendence of John McDonald.” The mill operated until the timber was all cut around 1915. The railway company was leased by the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe in 1932. In 1980, the line was still working between Port Bolivar and Beaumont. Keeling noted that seven rod locomotives operated along the raod.