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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: PK-21
Corporate Name: Carlisle-West Lumber Company
Local Name: Onalaska
Owner Name: William Carlisle, J.C. Pennel, and, after 1909, James M. West. This plant was listed as a West Lumber Company operation in 1915 and 1928. Carlisle-Pennel Lumber Company.
Location: Onalaska: Highway 190 and FM 3186
County: Polk
Years in Operation: 27 years
Start Year: 1902
End Year: 1928
Decades: 1900-1909,1910-1919,1920-1929
Period of Operation: Carlisle-Pennel, 1902; Carlisle-West, 1909; West, 1915 to about 1928.
Town: Onalaska
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 3000 in 1909; 400 in 1928
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: All grades of finished and unfinished pine lumber and timbers; specializing in car stock in 1915. 1928: Many sorts of hardwoods.
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Power Source: Steam
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 50000: 1905 to 1908200000: 1908 to 1928
Capacity Comments: 50,000 feet daily, 1905-1908; 200,000 to 225,000,1908-1925, including original circular mill with newer double band & gang; 50,000 sawmill feet daily in 1928
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: Single circular (1902 or 1905-1908); double band and gang (1908-1925). A complete mill, including saw and planing mills proper, dry kilns. 1928: Band, resaw, edgers, trimmers, logging road, electric light plant.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Located on its own railroad, the Beaumont & Great Northern, connections to the International & Great Northern at Trinity and the Houston East & West Texas at Livingston.
Historicial Development: William Carlisle and J.C. Pennel sawmill at Onalaska was operating in 1905. The plant, capable of cutting 50,000 board feet per ten-hour day, included a planing mill and electric light plant. After chartering the Beaumont & Great Northern Railroad in 1905, the company expanded its plant in 1907 by building a new 66-ft by 200-ft structure for its new double band and gang saws and increased the dry kilns to eleven. The new band saw plant was rated at 175,000 board feet daily, and, with the original circular saw mill still in operation, the combined capacity for the plant approached 225,000. J. M. West bought into the company by December 1909. West rebuilt the mill after it was devastated by a fire in 1915. It continued operating until the end of 1928. Onalaska had waterworks and electric street lights by 1909 for about 200 houses, three hotels, one commissary, one two-room school house, a ten-ton ice plant, and a six-bed “hospital.” Company housing cost $5.00 per month, and included lights and water. The superintendent's house also had steam heating. The company sponsored two baseball teams, segregated; and held barbecues. A private picture show was run by W. P. Christman. On the park in the fall would be held carnivals, merry-go-rounds, etc. Quarters were segregated for black (forty houses), whites (about seventy houses), and for Mexicans. For its logging camps, the company had seven “house cars” and one “commissary car.” The company used steam skidders and loaders, and operated seventy logging cars. To promote the sale of cutover lands, William Carlisle organized the Onalaska Livestock Company. Uncommon for sawmill towns, Onalaska was a dry town, and it was reported that the absence of liquor added to the town's “orderliness and quietude.” The Gulf Coast Lumberman reported in 1928 that the mill had cut out that year. The mill was also listed that year in the Southern Lumberman's Directory of American Saw Mills and Planing Mills as an operating mill.
Research Date: JKG 7-28-93, MCJ 02-26-96
Prepared By: J. Gerland, M. Johnson