The Iron Mountain Lumber Company, a branch of the J. F. Ball & Bro. Lumber Company, Limited, is located at Pollock, La., on the east side of the Valley branch of the Iron Mountain railway, seventeen miles north of Alexandria. The residences owned by the company and all other buildings are also to the east of the railway, while the old town of Pollock lies to the west. The mill and town sites cover sixty acres, with the manufacturing plant at the north end. Big creek forms the northern part of the site and has been dammed to make the log pond. The backwater thus obtained extends nearly a half mile to the west, affording unlimited space for log storage, while the numerous small bays make it possible to sort and store the logs of various kinds so that they are readily available for the orders in hand and can be floated in such bodies as are wanted to the foot of the mill incline. The drainage is excellent.
The timber holdings lie entirely in Grant parish, to the northwest of Pollock, and are located from one to fifteen miles from the mill. The tract includes 72,000 acres, of which 22,000 has been cut over. The original tract was estimated to contain 500,000,000 feet and of this amount 450,000,000 feet yet remain, which will provide the three mills at their present capacity with logs for twelve years longer.
In the Iron Mountain Company’s Timber.
The timber is longleaf pine, cutting an average of 10,000 feet to the acre. The land is in rolling hills, which afford fair logging road grades and solid soil for logging operations at all times.
In the purchases of timber 8,000 acres came from the Big Creek Lumber Company and 64,000 acres from the Gould estate.
The purchase was made August 1, 1907. The land is all owned in fee simple. In cutting the timber the stumps are cut to eighteen inches by fourteen sawyers. The logs are hauled to the railroad by six Bender slip-tongue carts and four Lindsay 8-wheelwagons,and for this work and the loading operations eighty oxen are used. Thirty men are employed in the woods operations under Woods Foreman B. P. Lewis. In the loading operations the work is done with oxen and twenty-five cars a day are loaded with an average of 4,000 feet to the car. The cost of loading is in the neighborhood of 25 cents for the Iron Mountain Lumber Company operation, while for the Sweet Home Lumber Company the cost with the McGiffert log loader is 15 cents. The logging operations of the two companies are being conducted in continuous tracts, and in some cases the references will apply to both operations. Eight cars are handled to the main line on the spurs and fifteen on the mainline to the mill at Pollock. One camp is maintained twelve miles northwest of Pollock and consists of fifteen portable houses and a commissary.
The railway by which the J. F. Ball & Bro. Lumber Company, Limited, supplies the mills at Pollock and Ball is known as the Natchez, Ball & Shreveport Railway. The branch to Pollock has a length of fourteen miles in the mainline, and ten miles of spurs. It is laid with 56-poundsteelon pine ties. The car equipment consists of forty flat cars each forty feet long. Two locomotives are used;one40-tonLinia rod engine and one 65-ton Lima Shay engine. The grades have a maximum of 4 percent, but are mainly easy; the curves are moderate. Twenty men are employed in the railway service.
The officers of the railway are the same as those of the lumber company and the offices are at Pollock.
Saw Mill, Yard and Kilns.
The saw mill of the Iron Mountain Lumber Company is located at the northeast corner of the site in Pollock. It stands in a general east and west direction. It is two stories in height, built of frame with composition roof, and is 46x220 feet in area, with an addition 16x20 feet to the south for the filing room. The machinery is Filer & Stowell throughout and consists of a circular mill carrying a 60-inch saw and 40-inch top saw. The carriage has three blocks and trailer and will carry 40-foot timbers. The shotgun is 12 inches in diameter and 52 feet long. The edger is 60 inches wide and carries five saws. The trimmer is 32 feet wide and carries fifteen saws. A Hoo-Hoo nigger is used. The engine is located under the mill the machine floor of which is so arranged that there is plenty of room. The engine is a Filer & Stowell rocker valve type, 22x30 in size. The engine bed and the mill foundations rest on concrete. The power plant is located in a building 26 feet north of the mill, 40x70 feet in size, built of V-crimped iron, and consists of three Houston, Stanwood & Gamble boilers 60x16 and one 72x18, with dutch ovens, all in brick settings. The fuel room, in the same building, is 16x40 feet.
The electric light plant is also located under the and consists of a Westinghouse dynamo of 50 kilowatts, 250 volts, D. C., with capacity of 1,000 lights of 16-candlepower. The service is installed and is extended to all parts of the plant and the better residences. The lumber is handled to the yard and planer by fifteen hand dollys. It is stacked up and down from the trams in the yard. The stock to be carried on the yard will be 4,000,000feet and on hand at the present time is slightly in excess of that amount.
The dry kilns consist of two rooms, 20x120feet each, with capacity of 40,000 feet of lumber. They are of the Standard variety, built of frame on concrete foundationsl,ocated200feet south of the mill and supplied with steam from the sawmill batteries.
The rough shed is to be located west of the dry kilns and will be 70x200feet in size.
Planing Mill, Shipping and Fire Protection.
The planing mill, to the west side of the site, next to the railway tracks, is 84x100feet in size and contains six machines, including timber sizer, two matchers, 12-inch molder, edger and circular resaw. The capacity is 100,000 feet of lumber a day. The powerhouse is located thirty feet south of the planing mill, in a building 12x40feet in size, which contains the boiler, engine and a fuel vault
10x12. The blow pipes were installed by the National Blow Pipe & Manufacturing Company, of New Orleans, and are of the slow feed type, with double 50-inch fans.
The shipping platform extends along the planer for 300 feet, and the timber docks are located on each side of the tram from the planer to thesawmill,600 feet in all.
The shipments of lumber are distributed as follows, in order of importance as given: Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Kansas, Oklahoma and other sections in smaller proportion. The lumber is shipped over the Valley division of the Iron Mountain railway.
For fire protection, a tank of 35,000 gallons capacity, located on a tower sixty-feet high, is provided. The fire pump is an Underwriters 750-gallon per minute pump, with 10-inch suction and 8-inch discharge, while the mains are of 6-inch diameter with 4-inch laterals. Two thousand feet of 2-1/2-inch hose is provided in addition to three standpipes having swivel joint direct connected nozzles. Big creek furnishes an abundant water supply for fire and mechanical purposes, while shallow wells afford a fine quality of water for domestic use and drinking purposes.
Business Department and Population.
The mercantile department is in charge of E. W. Ball and is located in a building 60x100 feet in area, one-half of which is two stories in height. The stock carried averages $15,000; the annual business amounts to $144,000.
The office is located in a one-story frame building 30x60 feet in size, containing three rooms, with accommodations for the officials of the several lumber companies and the railway.
The population of the town of Pollock is 1,500. It has four churches, a 5-room schoolhouse, lodge halls for the Woodmen of the World, Odd Fellows and Masons, and the city hall for public entertainments. While the town connected with the saw mill affords comfortable accommodations for the employees the proximity of the village gives social advantage not always to be had in saw mill communities.
The lumber company employs 150 men in its various departments and is the main source of revenue to the wage earners of the community.