The Hunt For The Elusive Route Of The White Castle L & S Co. - Lake Natchez/ Railroad
White Castle Sawmill 1901 - Skidder Loading Logs On Rail car - RailcarsImages used is available on internet, and is used in accordance with Fair Use, Title 17 USC section 107
A Journey through the History of The 'Cypress Queen' of the Atchafalaya Cypress Logging Era.
Early History of White Castle Lumber & Shingle Co.
Swamp Lands Map of the Red Cypress Territory of Southeastern Louisiana 1892 - 1915
Map Courtesy of Jeanerette L & S Co. ; Used in accordance with Fair Use, Title 17 USC section 107
Location of the White Castle L &S Sawmill
The saw mill was the most prominent building of the White Castle plant. At the time it was pride of the area. Over the north end of the sawmill were the large letters "Cypress Queen."
The sawmill was divided into ground floor, subdeck, engine room, dynamo room and mill deck. There was a boiler house and engine room on the cast side. The building was 173 feet and overall, in length and has a breadth of 103. A series of lumber sheds for storage and shipping.
The planning mill and sash and door factory in a sense were separate factories.
There were two primary dry kilns.
The piling (storage) grounds for the lumber held 15,000,000 feet of lumber in stock.
A track of 40-pound rail over three-quarters of a mile long ran from the plant to the river for convenience in handling lumber etc. and bringing back freight brought by boat from New Orleans.
The White Castle plant had electric lights, 350 16-candlepower incandescent lamps and seven are lights.
The White castle L&S Co, office and mill was located in the area of the current White Castle Catholic Church and White Castle High School.
Site Plan /Layout of White Castle Lumber Mill
Source - American Lumberman. "A Journey through the Vast Downman Cypress Interests with Camera and Pen", American Lumberman, Aug 5, 1905 pp.43-82. Chicago: American Lumberman, 1905. Image used is available on internet, and is used in accordance with Fair Use, Title 17 USC section 107
Cypress Logging in the Swamps Pre – Steam Driven Skidder Operations
Large Scale Industrial Log Skidding c1890
White Castle L & S Co. Logging Operations
Main Line Railroad Overlayed On Modern Goggle Earth Satellite, with Section Lines & GPS coordinates and line measure. The total Length of the main line is 10.77
The End of an Era 1923 – 1930
The White Castle Lumber & Shingle Co. site in White Castle was shut down and demolished by late 1923. The cypress logging industry in general was gone by 1930. Mother Nature dealt the Cypress logging industry a series of harsh back-to-back blows.
In 1924 a severe drought dried most of the water in the swamps. Then a hurricane in 1926 ripped through the Atchafalaya Basin cypress land, leaving fallen trees blocking the pull boat canals used for floating trees from the swamps.
Then in 1927 a great flood, flooding the logging camps and equipment. On top of that, the Great Depression of 1929 affected the demand for lumber in The United States.
What else could go wrong?” thought the workers as they fought to restore the industry to its former production level.
Only three months after the industry was back on its feet ( c1930), swampers and millers got word of a catastrophe they could not adjust to. It was a problem they could not conquer.
The logging companies of the East Atchafalaya Basin met the logging companies of the West Atchafalaya Basin, the red cypress supply was depleted, and the mills would have no cypress to cut.
Most of the big industrial cypress logging companies of the area investigated the possibility of moving their lumber operations to other areas of the country but larger ones like the Henry Downman companies made the decision to stay in Louisiana because of the poor national economic outlook.
Company survival in the first years of the great depression was difficult and many small landowners sold their logging property to the larger landowners.
Camp Site Leasing an added Bonus
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