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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: PK-24
Corporate Name: Champion International Corporation.
Local Name: W. T. Carter and Bro
Owner Name: Champion International Corporation. U. S. Plywood-Champion International Corporation. W. T Carter & Brother. 1898-1921: William T. Carter, 1921-1951: Aubrey Carter, 1966: Thomas L. Carter, 1987 to 1995: D. Peterson.
Location: Camden: intersection of 942 and 62
County: Polk
Years in Operation: 99 years
Start Year: 1898
End Year: 1996
Decades: 1890-1899,1900-1909,1910-1919,1920-1929,1930-1939,1940-1949,1950-1959,1960-1969,1970-1979,1980-1989,1990-1999
Period of Operation: Established in 1898 by W. T. Carter. Sold to U. S. Plywood-Champion in 1968.
Town: Camden
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 750 in 1905; 1500 in 1928; 1500 in 1934
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: 1943: pine and hardwoods. 1966: dimension, flooring, paneling, structural and utility timbers up to 40-feet; (1990) shortleaf, slash, and loblolly pine. Added plywood plant.
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Power Source: 1898: Steam. 1961: Steam, Electric.
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 125000: 1915160000: 1966
Capacity Comments: 125,000 feet daily in 1915. 40,000 feet daily in 1928. 160,000 feet in 1966. Produced 55 million feet in 1973. Produced 77 million feet in 1990.
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: 1898: complete sawmill operation from the beginning with a double circular and gang saw. 1911: double band and gang saw. 1928: Band, edgers, logging road. 1966: band and resaw. 1980: Plywood plant, log processing.
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: Moscow, Camden & San Augustine, the company short line road, connected with Houston East & West Texas at Moscow.
Historicial Development: The Champion International Corporation bought in 1968 the W. T. Carter and Bro lumber facility at Camden, a double circular and gang mill built in 1898. Carter constructed the company tapline, the Moscow, Camden, & San Augustine Railroad, to connect his mill with the Houston East & West Texas at Moscow and to harvest sawtimber in the surrounding pineries. The Camden mill burned in 1910, and a new one of steel and concrete was constructed. It began operations in the summer of 1911 with a double band rig and gang saw, which was still operating in 1964. It is said the workers were paid in gold the first pay day after the new mill opened. W.T. Carter was reluctant to install band mills to replace his burned circular mill. He was reported in 1921 as lamenting that the days of “cheap lumber are over.” As technological change came, so the mill changed, too. In 1957, log were handled by cranes rather than mill ponds, and, in 1961, electricity replaced steam. In 1966, Thomas L. Carter, was the managing partner. In 1972, U. S. Plywood-Champion became Champion International. The school, in 1937, maintained three teachers. Electricity for the workers came in 1926, according to Professor Maxwell. Champion discontinued renting homes and running a commissary, and constructed a new plant, which employed generally more than one hundred personnel until the late 1980s. The mill added a plywood plant and a tree-length processing and stud milling center. Champion-International by 1980 had restructured the plant as a plywood facility, log processor, and lumber operation. Facilities in 1990 included a planing mill, a softwood plywood plant, a softwood veneer plant, and a stud mill. That year forty-four employees produced 77 million board feet, using a chipping headrig.
Research Date: JKG 9-1-93, MCJ 02-26-96
Prepared By: J. Gerland, M. Johnson