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Collections » Small Collections

Louisiana and Texas Lumber Company Sawmill at Kennard (Ratcliff)

This category pertains to the sawmill that operated at what is now Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area in the Davy Crockett National Forest, in Houston County. Said to be the largest sawmill west of the Mississippi River in the early 1900’s, the mill was situated between the towns of Ratcliff and Kennard. Central Coal and Coke Company (often abbreviated as simply 4-C) of Kansas City owned the mill, and its subsidiary Louisiana and Texas Lumber Company operated it from about 1900 to 1918. Eastern Texas Railroad Company operated the lumber company’s short line railroad 30 miles between Kennard and Lufkin. Several logging spurs branched from the short line railroad’s main line to access some 120,000 acres of virgin pine timber. After the sawmill company exhausted its timber supply, Houston County Timber Company acquired the cutover lands and sold them to the United States Forest Service in the middle 1930’s. Crews of Civilian Conservation Corps developed the former mill pond into a camping and recreation area in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. The items below are from several different collections.

Street View of Downtown Ratcliff, ca. 1910

Street View of Downtown Ratcliff, ca. 1910

Kennard Sawmill

Stackers and Sorting Tables, Kennard Saw Mill

Office Building, Kennard Mill

Refuse Burner at Kennard Saw Mill

Eastern Texas Railroad Public Time Table May 1907

Article on Kennard (Ratcliff) Sawmill 1993