MILL “N,” MOBILE.
Mill “N” is located on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railroad, a short distance from the point where that road crosses the Texas & New Orleans railway. This mill has had a checkered career, and previous to its purchase by the Kirby Lumber Company had been operated by a number of firms and individuals.
The mill was first owned by Sam Allen, of Houston, and afterward passed into the hands of Dr. W. E. Trotti and associates. After the second owners assumed charge of the mill the plant was given a thorough overhauling and the new machinery set in motion in November, 1897. Later a stock company was organized and under the name of the Southwestern Lumber Company the mill was operated until it passed into the hands of its present owners. The company has rebuilt the plant, adding many improvements in labor saving machinery and greatly increasing its capacity, which is now about 85,000 feet of lumber a day.
The mill has been placed in charge of R. D. Bridges, an old-time mill superintendent, who has seen yoemanry service with several substantial concerns in the southern pine lumber regions. Under his management the efficiency of the plant has been greatly increased, and it is regarded as a splendid plant today.
The site of this mill, being the farthest to the north at the present time, brings it close to the shortleaf pines of eastern Texas. The edge of the longleaf pine belt lies only a few miles to the west of this plant, and some of the company's lands border on this kind of timber.
Many new features have been added by the Kirby Lumber Company and the general character and amount of the output of the mill has been greatly improved. This mill is admirably adapted for filling orders from North Texas and Indian Territory points, or in fact can ship advantageously to any point in the central states. The product of the mill can be sent either to the east, north or west, and shipped practically direct. The location of the different mills of the Kirby Lumber Company gives that concern an immense advantage over other operators, as while the timber lands owned by the company or collateral interests are compactly situated, the various lines that penetrate the timber belt are used to fill orders from the mills situated thereon, when possible the mill nearest the point to which the goods are to be shipped being utilized for supplying the demands of the customer. In this way there is a considerable saving in transportation charges and a consequent increase in the profit arising from the sale. This is not only true of Mill “N,” but of many of the other plants operated by this company. The mills nearest the coast are used to cut lumber and timber for exportation, but the network of railroads which penetrate the pineries all converge, and any mill can be used for cutting stock to fill an order from any part of the world.
The mill is of the single circular pattern, with steam trips, and nigger, center deck and drag saw for cutting logs to required length. All modern appliances necessary completely to equip a mill of this pattern have been installed. The Kirby Lumber Company also contemplates adding a dry kiln and will increase the capacity of the planer to correspond with the output of the mill.
The logging facilities, under the supervision of J. A. Herndon, have also been greatly improved. The roadbed has been put into first class condition and the rolling stock has been increased and repaired. A large Shay engine has been added to the equipment and furnishes ample power for moving the log trucks when supplemented by the three previously in use. The track has been built farther out and now penetrates a fine tract of virgin pine timber sufficient to run the mill for several years.