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not updated The Natchez Ferry to the Lumber Town of Trout on the L&A RR

This ride has not been updated

This one could be expanded with a wealth of new information about old stuff  I recently gathered.
We'll see. I might expand it.
On with the ride.
I left home with the electric jacket under a sweatshirt, just in case. It was that cool here in late May, 2009. I threw the old auxiliary Rev Pac soft bags across the backseat of the DL650 to carry the clothes I knew I'd eventually shed. My ensemble was perfect, never having to plug in the jacket, removing all at Natchez. Just kidding, north La. parish officials frown on nude riding. You can get away with it in so.La.
These rides into north La. get a little out of hand. To do them you have to completely dismiss the need for a ride home as inconsequential. Luckily, I have I-49 to address my insanity. It is a coma road, a blur through a worm hole whose only value, in s.La, is being a free flowing conduit. All you have to do is avoid the other occupants.
My route north is a little less wormy and actually a pretty ride. I'll skip that as unless you are from Breaux Bridge, it does not affect you. The good part starts at LeBeau on US 71, the first town north of the intersection of 71 and US 190 or as I had to explain to my wife, "it's where you caught the bus to Shreveport". From there I took La.10 to one of my favorite little towns, Palmetto. Past Palmetto I turned north and crossed the Union Pacific tracks on La.360, and rode north trough Bayou Rouge. The bayou, an old steamboat route, is spectacular there. La.360 is a great road if you enjoy the thrill of trail riding without the mud holes.
Then I hit good old La.105. I never tire of 105. I don't know if it's its Easy Rider legend and entertaining curves that help me along, or knowing that the Texas and Pacific came this way. There is always something new to find when following old rail beds. That's one of the reasons I adopted following them as a tour guide.
You can't come this way without stopping at the park/boat landing just south of Simmesport. The view is awing. It would be more awing this time. The Atchafalaya appeared a bit fuller and angrier.

I took several shots of this scene. The truck never moved. I would find out why.
The Atchafalaya is described as "treacherous". That description, at times, is insufficient. On a slow day it carries 1/3rd of the Mississippi load, plus that of its mother, the Red River, and aunts, the Black, Little River and Quachita. And, its cousin's the ...............
I've always gotten a hit off of being close to power, possibly the reason I've been married so long.

I crossed La.1 bridge, very slowly. That was not a good thing. The wind was blowing hard. Most of our big rivers run north to south. The wind blows, usually, on that axis. Riding a motorcycle in a crosswind is easier than holding it up while stopped. The bridge was using only one lane and I was stopped a while, using my legs as outriggers as I held the handlebars in a death grip. If my tentative back had given, neither would have done any good. I was glad when our turn came. Down the the ramp I went, soon turning north on La.418. A sad note, the old sharecropper homes are now gone, all except for one that the land owner kept as a camp. I have pictures of when it was a home. That was also very sad.
Shaking off the melancholy of the moment, I turned up La.15. I felt the ride was now in gear. La.15 is a "trip". I know of no other road that can hand out an initial impression like this one can. Most of the time you ride on top of the Mississippi levee. Riding on the top of any levee is rare these days. Levee Riding use to be the state sport. Equipment needed, a vehicle of some sorts and an ice chest. The game could go on all day. The playing fields were endless.
Next, after crossing the locks that separate the Mississippi from the Atchafalaya, I dropped down off the road into a campground I use as pit stop. A little sign said that it was temporarily closed. I suspect that the Corps felt that the rising water might result in soggy sleeping bags.

Climbing back up the levee, I stopped and took this picture of the 3 remaining supports of the long removed Texas and Pacific bridge that carried the rails which had come north from Lettsworth, passed across Torras Junction, and run through Torras at the water's edge.

I have never ridden La.15 aware of the old railroad bed. It is there and extremely visible. Checking it out as I rode along would add yet another facet to this great La. ride.
Next up would be the AUX, the axillary spillway which was constructed after the 1973 flood.
It was "in use".

Just up the road is the old "Old River Control" structure. It was looking tired and shabby.

Were these vultures getting the same feeling?

I worked my way toward the end of the "low sill" structure. I had noticed some streamlets flowing on the dry side and wondered if the Corps was starting to let water through. This is the wet side.

Looking out on Old Man River is a poignant moment.

Take that moment to hum along with Roger McGuinn:

"The river flows
It flows to the sea
Wherever that river goes
That's where I want to be
Flow river flow
Let your waters wash down
Take me from this road
To some other town".
This time the river side of the levee was not my interest. The dry side was. I was now at Black Hawk. A large farm there takes its name. I have shot these old buildings before never realizing what passed just in front of them. What I suspect is that the store appearing building was the Black Hawk depot. Often stores in small settlements would play that part. The power line marks the rail bed.

I dropped down to rail level and shot this at a water crossing.

Next was this. My wife says they are possibly coreopsis, spelling?

The river soon goes one way and 15 the other.

At Deer Park, they would rejoin. Here are a few more pictures from this perch.
Looking south, Wet Side:

Dry Side:

Looking north, Wet Side:

Looking south Dry Side:

Soon I was in Deer Park, actually, it was further than "soon".

I had suspected this.

Those are not twin boat launches. They are roads leading to a community that surrounds a commercial campground.
Looking a little closer, I did actually shoot the campground office. Well, some of it.

On a past trip, I'd found this old steamboat near the campground. I wonder if it was anchored? Now I know how it got "on shore".

Back up on the levee, I rode north. Nearing the next descent from the levee, watching the old rail bed I saw this farm and some interesting out buildings and tank construction. The tanks reminded me of what I'd seen on the T&P stretch from Melville to Simmesport. There had been a similar tank configuration which Everette had recognized as part of an alien landing zone. I don't know where he gets those ideas from? The grassy looking area is the rail bed. Funny how their mark never goes away. Those rails were ripped up almost 70 years ago.

Soon after leaving the farm, I left La.15 which was headed to Ferriday. I'd catch up with it after visiting Vidalia and Natchez. That will be on the next page which I'll get to, probably, tonight, if I'm not in the hospital with my back. If this writing has seemed more drugged out than usual, there's a reason.
Page 2
Leaving La.15, I turned north on La.131. I was still with the river. There are a couple of plantations along there. Whitehall was impressive.

I've submitted my bill to Dish.
This is for you steam engine enthusiast:

The bell is for those who can't get their kids to come home for supper. Those cement blocks sure do look like they were the base for a tower of some sort. Maybe a water tower? Dr.Baronet?
The next picture I took and took again because of something Dr.Baronet, University of Pecan Island, aka UPI, had pointed out.

It reads, "This gin plant equipped with Continental Lint Cleaners". He had pointed out that the gin at Lewisburg used the same equipment. In the future, hopefully I can get him to do an article on LC's. I may not have enough pages left.
Here's where the wagons were weighed.

Consider yourself lucky to have gotten the last few pictures. The rails to the ferry were just up ahead and I was anxious. I figured the location of the ferry yard would be on private property and be totally inaccessible.
The picture below is not a proposed landing plan in the spirit of "D" Day. It merely is an attempt to show from where I shot the pictures and in what directions I shot them. I am often confusing. I should have left this more unclear. The unknown targets of those unassigned arrows will be shown in a minute. I guess it's also to show you the arrangement of the rails and how it all worked. I got this software for sixty bucks. I got it because City Navigator is junk as far as showing waterways. What I got is priceless.

 Arriving at the point where the rails cross the highway, I turned into what is now a campground. The driveway was sitting on the rail bed.
It was a private campground. I knew I'd have trouble if I didn't stop at the office. The lady was nice enough and she knew that the campground was on the old ferry grounds that included a yard.

I was red lining. I looked at the GPS, then I looked at the surroundings, trying to put the two together. The road curved around and ended pointed toward the bridge up river. I figured I was at the switch where the engine would pull forward and back the cars onto the ferry. That is the yellow post at left.

This is a better shot of the park and back section.

Next I'd try to find anything on this side that looked like it was part of the operation. I saw nothing, but that means nothing since I'm pretty blind. Next, I'd zoom to the other shore, constantly trying to imagine the past. Remember, the river is extremely high and there may be a whole layer of what I was looking at submerged. I think that either its location is underwater or has been destroyed by the excavation that is going on. This may be the last you see of the remnants of the ferry operation near the bridge, where the old software shows the landing point. I'm convinced that the excavation has taken the landing area.
Here's the map.

This is near the bridge, the approximate location of the landing. You can see that it has been destroyed. The fine black line marks the existing rails that go down to the lumber yard and south. They were the highest level of the operation.

This shows the second tier of rails where the pull out engine would have backed the cars. I think there was a rail configuration where an engine could pull around a line of parked cars. The switchback is seen in front of the lumber yard.

The rails continue south of the lumber yard where the 9 car sections could be reassembled there and drug in either direction. Accept all this as speculation.

And here's the end of the switch back.

Of course, the rails are a drawing. Without an imagination, you can't do this.
I was a little unhappy about the excavation and the fact that I couldn't imagine the set up looking at it from across the river. Having time to study it, I think I'm close. I went on to take some non railroad related pictures.

I decided to go over to Natchez. I shouldn't have since time was flying. I'll have to go back. Exiting the campground, what should I see? I wonder where they got all those rail ties?

Here's a plug for them since they were nice. Slots run 40 plus bucks per night. Historic Natchez is 5 minutes away, the casino, 2 minutes. Not bad considering the location. Then you can probably hear tugs all night. Or sit out by the river and imagine the past. An evening of river listening and watching would be a hoot.

The way west awaited.

I tried the hardest to get down to the incline level.

I either ran into danger or ominous signs. Here's one last map of the arrangement.
The dotted line is where I was able to go.

I was teased.

The rail goddess was being coy.

I heard the ferry landing.

Here's the ferry on the Louisiana side.

This is from "Trains Magazine" as were the pictures.
From Shreveport, L&A trains officially listed in the timetables as “Texas Fast Freights” carried the tonnage to the banks of the Mississippi River at Vidalia, La.
At Vidalia, the steam tugs and transfer barges of the Natchez & Louisiana Transfer Co. (a subsidiary of the Missouri Pacific) ferried the cars across the river and handed them over to another MP family member, the Natchez & Southern Ry. The N&S carried the cars from the river’s edge up a 4 percent grade and two switchbacks to the top of the bluffs and its connection with the Natchez Route’s easternmost partner, the Mississippi Central.
The N< Co. and the N&S Ry. built the Natchez tracks and loading dock in 1900. For most of the Natchez Route years, the stern wheel towboat James Y. Lockwood pushed a nine-car capacity barge named Baysinger II. The operation was modernized in 1961, with a new diesel towboat, the Natchez, and in 1962 a higher capacity barge was purchased. These served until ferry service was discontinued in 1982.

Page 3
On the last page our hero was poised at the red light above the Natchez to Vidalia Mississippi River Bridge. Point to take: There was never a N to VMR Railroad Bridge, so don't get caught with that trivia question like what happened to me. Oh, you don't know about the game Train Trivia? Get with it.

Across the bridge he carefully rode, acknowledging the wind and different styles of driving displayed in this no-man's land between the states. These places scream out, "Be yourself!". So if you really want to know a person's personality, ride with them across a bridge between two states. Our hero was the timid person going 40 in the passing lane, away from the rail. He tells me he never understood the finger gesture imitating the letter "I".
Arriving in Sweet Home Louisiana, a memorial picture of the Art Deco designed state image was in order. These are rare pieces of art and a proud reflection of times past. I just noticed that the state image is on the corner of Magnolia Street and US 84. How fitting. The Magnolia is our state tree as well as that of Mississippi.

Next was to investigate the tracks in Vidalia. Could a station be found? Reflecting, it seems that a station, if there was one, would have been at the ferry landing, for several reasons. One would be that the landing was on high ground and why should there be multiple properties? Nevertheless, an inspection was done, not having thought much in transit.

The rails were seen, but as in most tracking the tracks pursuits, less than interesting pictures were taken.
Yes, you are right, there's the bed in front of the warehouse. Way to go!!

Better sit down, here come some great ROW shots.

As far as RR stuff goes, that's it for Vidalia. Everett said, suddenly there is an eerie quite, more on what he said later.
Vidalia is famous for more than onions. Now you know more than most.
Exiting Vidalia on hot and busy US 84, aka The Camino Real (look it up), the rail bed, visually, was easy to follow. Railroad landmarks, on the other hand, were few. This loading ramp was it for a ways.

Next stop, Ferriday. Ferriday is a mother load of history. Read this.
I have copied it since it is too valuable to lose. It can be read HERE. For now, clicking the link will be easier. Otherwise, you will have to click each segment to enlarge it to where it is legible. The article segments are pictures and like all pictures you see here, the larger versions are accessible by clicking what you see, which are in essence thumbnails of the original shot. Just click the damn things or better yet, click the link, what I told you to do in the first place. Geezus, you're worse than talking to a Democrat.
There is stuff below the reprint.

I have the FAIR book. It is a winner. I got mine for 25 bucks on Amazon. Lately it's running for 35. Demand? On the next page will be my pictures and more on Ferriday. Here's a map of the rail situation. I totally blew it. I missed "Milltown" and a probable depot location. I got turned north, thinking I was following the L&A. I was in the rear of the old downtown which seemed the place to be. I did get some good shots, but, I'll have to go back. (sound familiar, Andy?). Here's the map, yellow line is where I went. More later, the real world is calling.

Page 4

I forgot to get a shot of the Delta Blues Museum this time around. I wanted to get that out first before I forget to tell you what I forgot. Also, I witnessed some black kids hassling an old one legged black man. Being politically correct, never, Ferriday seems to be the poster child for our failed welfare system. You know the details. The police showed up in a heartbeat. Social comment out of the way, back to railroads.
Ferriday was a crossroads. I took a right when I should have taken a left. That put me in the old downtown. I like old so that worked.

At the end of Ferriday St is La.568 aka 1st Street. The rails north had run alongside it. All the traditional evidence was there. Gorgeous.

Next was this place. I'm tempted to say it could have been a depot, I'll show you why I say that. It had a huge covered platform. It very much reminded me of the depot at Church Point, La.

These are pictures of the platform. Conscious of the thousands of railroad modelers and architectural historians that read this rag, this Bud's for you, Bud.

Note the wilted ceiling fan blades to the left. There were desk along the right side. Maybe outdoor concerts were held here after the demise of the rails and continued until the fans wilted. Northeast Louisiana gets hot.

I think I'm seeing what might have been where the scales were located?

Here's the first place I showed you from the front, taken from the second place I showed you.

This is a picture of the front of the second place I showed you (the platform building)

Across the highway was this, what I believe was a grocery store.

Zooming inside, these messages were painted on the back wall.
If not a grocery store, these messages might be considered troubling.

"Quality at a lower price", an idea whose time has passed.

Time to shake the blues.
 BB to the rescue.


I wonder?
Here's more looking around at the corner of Mickey Gilley St. and 1st Street.

Myer Discount House?

Feeling badly about not showing you the museum, here it is. Yea, you caught me it's
The Delta Music Museum. The Delta Blues Museum is in Crystal Springs, Mississippi, pretty close to being on the same latitude which may be meaningful to some.
OK, the La. Delta and the Miss. Delta, are pretty much the same, very bluesful.

One more look downtown. The above shot and this one were taken on an earlier visit.

The Concordia Drugstore is gone. Serving out Green Stamps seems not to have worked.
Check the second picture on this page.
Page 5
Click the maps and pictures if you want them enlarged.
The following paragraph is from a reader:
"Steve, you must be typing with one hand and eating with the other, or have been VERY busy the last few days. Many thanks from the expatriates of north and east Louisiana for a job well done at pointing out past history".
That's why this ride report will be finished and why there are typos. Sometimes the keyboard smokes and smells like burnt toast.
The rain storm hit, I'm down from the ladder and have a choice. I can take a nap or keep those expatriates smiling. I can handle yawning for a while.
Outside of Ferriday it is flat. The cool spell was appreciated because in the summer this area becomes a frying pan. I am almost certain that this lowland leading into Lake Catahoula was an old route of the Mississippi River, the one that skirted Ville Platte, Lafayette and Cade.
I continued to chug along. The abandoned rail bed was to my left (south) I saw a building where "8" is on the map. It reminded me of the Red River and Gulf depot at LeCompte. I think it was the foliage around it that I found similar being that I couldn't see the building. I often start my assumptions early. It was near the rails so it had to be a depot.

I should have stopped, but the miles and time were adding up and I figured I still had a bunch of miles left and little time. Next trip, yea right.
Next was Frogmore Plantation. It is open for tours. It was a cotton plantation. I covered it on the old site, but that's gone. Here are a few shots of the grounds and big house.

About this time in the ride I started feeling a little down about the lack of inspiration. I hadn't realized I'm missed so much at Ferriday or I would have been really depressed. At least I could see the dead grass where the rail bed had been and an occasional bump on the few gravel roads leaving US 84. Then, POW! The rail gods knew I was hurting and let a bolt of railroad evidence fly to Earth.

I passed it and alarms went off. I had learned while following the S&P north out of Gueydan that there were instances where these rail fossils were perpetuated, locked in cement, safe from the ripper's crane. There it was, right off US 84. I shot about 20 pictures of it. I figured another angle would be appreciated.

Here's where to stop, bring plenty of film.

I was nearing Jonesville. Here in Louisiana we have Jonesville, Jonesboro, Winnfield, and Winnsborro. I have yet to visit Winnsborro. The similarities confuse me constantly. You know how aggravating it is when a disliked song sticks in your head all day. That's close to the aggravation I have with those names. I know, too much information.
Jonesville would be a test. Of course I failed to check where the rails had crossed the Black River. I just assumed it was near 84. I was wrong. As you can see the rails veered south. Did I even look for a possible depot, no. Again I got sucked off into the old downtown, but I did find where the old 84 ferry had been. Of course that was a complete accident and only realized a few minutes ago. That's the problem with far away eyes.
Pull out your crying towel, the old Black River span is going down, maybe. Anyway, a crew was working on it. There is a new bridge. Unless it is to be used for some other purpose, it's gone. In this poor area, I can see no government entity taking it on.

Hey, you still have that crying towel out? (I'd use mine, but....that stinking old stiff thing is still lying on the floor next to the pile of beer cans and empty potato chip bags, yea, the one with the Saints logo on it). It seems I really blew Jonesville just like Ferriday. I ride an old beat you to hell motorcycle almost 150 miles to investigate a couple of tiny towns using high tech equipment which has all the ability I lack, and I didn't think to look at it. I may resign. When you become delusional and can't think straight, like Speechless Pelosi, you should resign.

The rails had come to a wye. What had been in that open space? I'd say a mill, but I have reservations. From the wye the rails had proceeded almost to the Little River. You can see where I went around in circles instead of studying the GPS which has this same map on it. I fear I'm losing it. I don't drink enough water and I was probably dehydrated. Whew, finding excuses is getting hard. I'm stumbling over my words. Where are my notes? Did Barack take them?
In a crisis I shoot the water tower and come up with some little known useless bit of history. Jonesville is named for Charles Jones, who, by the way, shot General Liddell in a duel. Jones was killed several days later by a friend of Liddell's. Liddell surrendered the last Confederate fort east of the Mississippi at Mobile. Liddell had also been in Taylor's command at Mansfield. You see how all this ties together?

I now see the water tower had something else written on it .......lock. Maybe "Last one out of town, lock the door". That was terrible, I will now submit a pre-apology. It's like I'll be sorry if I have to be. Come on, how many times have you done pre's in your mind, just in case?
Ferriday and Jonesville seemed sadly similar.

Foster Walgreen Agency / Prescriptions Filled.......

Not that far off 84, near the library, I found this.

Being that everything around was flat, I believe this is what the vague marker was referring to.

Putting white cemeteries atop Indian mounds seems to have been a practice. I think flooding was a problem and floating caskets are hard to round up, don't we know. The Indian mound near Frogmore has one on top of it. Hope everyone is getting along. There I go. I really don't know if the mounds were burial sites or trash piles. I think they were trash piles. You hear about old broken stuff being found in them all the time.

What's the problem with those pictures? What do you get from them? I'm a little opinionated so I'll cool it. I don't think people who do informative travelogues should rattle off their personal agendas.
Looking at the map, check the red arrow. I went through the "seawall" and was presented with water. Turning around there were these murals on the wall's water side. It is called 4 Rivers Park. It was pretty much submerged beneath those 4 rivers. The Black, which starts here, is made up of what's left of the Little River, which is diverted up the road, the Quachita and Tensas Rivers. The Quachita and Tensas are no creeks. The Little varies seasonally but, it, like I said, was diverted. What you are really looking at is Lake Little River, a bay of the Black, to get technical. So forget about the Little River being a part of the Black. I know I just save myself a note from the Love Boat where Fred and Mz Panhead are this weekend. Oh, I didn't tell you. That's another story.

This seems to be of the north side of the Little River. My map calls this community "Trinity". Hey, you remember that movie, "They Call Me Trinity"? Pretty funny. I'm just guessing,
I don't remember a thing about it.

This is a picture of where I was. I believe the road going into the river was not a boat launch, but the ferry landing for El Camino Real, US 84.

All of theses pictures were done as if looking from the east bank of the Black River.
Panning south, this is the next group of buildings.

Required Read:
You need to be read this before we get to Jena, Good Pine and Trout.
At the bottom is some little known info which ties the LongLeaf mill, aka Southern Forest Heritage Museum with all of this. If you want to see history, go there. It will make all of this stuff you have to imagine, imaginable.
Now to our feature presentation.
Jack M.Willis is the writer. He may still work for or worked for the Jena Times-Olla Tullos Signal Newspaper in Jena, Louisiana. "Grass Roots and Cockleburs" is probably his column. He seems to be, or was, the paper's historian. His information is fascinating.
Submitted by Jack Willis
Source: From the Jena Times - Olla Tullos Signal, Grass Roots and
A History of Trout, Louisiana -Revised 10-04
Part I
Trout, Louisiana is a mere umbra of its former years when it was the
opulent, crown jewel of the Buchanan Lumbering Dynasty, with it's location
lying west of Jena, LA on a "dogleg" on US Highway 84, and this is probably
the only highway feature of its kind found on the whole stretch of roadway
between Sacramento, California and its terminus at Augusta, Georgia. This
particular section of the highway was built to dovetail with streets already
laid out by the Buchanan engineer Mr. Herbert N. Tannehill in 1907. Though
the original mill has been shut down for over 70 years, a good number of the
old, identical, gray hued houses still occupy their ordained station in
Around 1895, on horseback (there were no roads, only trails and bridle
paths) William Buchanan formerly of Stamps, Arkansas had ridden in to what
was then Catahoula Parish, scouting out a vast yellow pine forest he had had
knowledge some years earlier. Prior to the invasion of the tracks of the
Louisiana and Arkansas Railroad, several tribes of Native Americans occupied
the area, with one historic account stating that two different chiefs ruled
the tribes and that the two chiefs had died on the same day.
Buchanan was bent on expanding the empire he had begun in Stamps,Arkansas starting with the Bodcaw milling operation he had purchased from C.T. Crowell officially on January 14,1889, expanding southward to Springhill, Louisiana (formerly Barefoot, LA) where he established the Pine Woods Lumber Company in 1894. The next move some 30 miles south to the town of Minden, Louisiana was in 1901, and a year later his "logging line" chugged into Winnfield, Louisiana, and took time on his way to Trout to absorb Grant Timber and Manufacturing Co. interests near Selma, Louisiana. In a span of fourteen years Buchanan had established five major lumber mills across the Deep South, followed two years later adding the Good Pine

mill and eight years later the Tall Timber mill was added to the fold.
The main reason for locating a new mill in Trout, was the availability
of water, the prime prerequisite for lumber milling operations; that and
timber. Trout was located geographically in the center of a Mother Lode of
virgin, longleaf pine timber. The mill name came from its location on the
headwaters of Trout Creek with this stream probably having been so named by
J.P. Ward when he stopped off and settled downstream at White Sulphur
Springs around 1830, but actual construction of the mill didn't start until
sometime in 1903. Buchanan, in making his initial long range plans,
envisioned taking 70 years to "cut out" the virgin longleaf forests, and
accomplishing this venture from the Trout mill only.
The Best Laid Plans-All of this long range planning was nullified by the
Louisiana Legislature in1905, with this legislative body deciding to from
extract something from the timber companies currently ravishing Louisiana's
forests raw materials, and shipping the finished products out of state for
huge profits. The imposition of ad valorem tax laws would necessitate the
later construction of Good Pine and Tall Timber mills in1906 and 1912
respectively to shorten the taxation period.
The milling process had to be established first, because it had to be in
operation to furnish lumber with which to build the businesses and houses
necessary for the labor forces to function. Mr. Herbert N. Tannehll drove
the first stake to initiate mill construction. He was on loan from the L.&
A. Railroad, an operation totally owned by William Buchanan himself and
stayed until the planer mill operation was finished, doing all the
engineering for the company.
When the Trout Creek Lumber Company opened the company store/commissary, Ned Kiser was the store manager; Charley North was the office manager, a Swede from Wisconsin by the name of Babstubner was the mill foreman, and Ben Ezell was deputy sheriff.
The Trout Post Office was established in the back of the store and a
Miss Tucker was the Post Mistress, Dr. I.N. Adams was the first company
doctor and Mr. W.S. Ellard from Stamps, Arkansas relocated to Trout to
assume the position of log scalar.
The first building erected in Trout was the train depot, because it was
necessary to have as a staging area for mill equipment arriving by train
daily. Some day's three trips were made to and from Paxton, Louisiana at the
juncture with the Southern Pacific line, where materials were offloaded from
trains running from Kansas City to New Orleans.
The mill proper was completed and ready to go on line in 1904.The first
two carloads of mules were purchased in St. Louis, Missouri in December of
1904 for rail shipment to Trout. J. A. Buchanan of Texarkana was manager of
the mill. William Buchanan, his valued brother-in-law W.T. Ferguson, his
brother J. A., and the Brown brothers, Thomas and William, were the
principle owners of the foundling lumbering empire. Two "flatheads" named
Masters and Warner started logging operations in the spring of 1905, with
the felling of the first tree; the name flathead being derived from a pine
borer with a seemingly flat head, which was indigenous to southern forests.
As of 1890 when the partnership was formed, William Buchanan was only 40
years old, and the team now in 1905 was on the threshold of what William
Buchanan had been laying the groundwork for, for some 15 years, and at this
time Sam Finley and Jim Kitchens were brought on board to operate the mill.
The Trout mill only sawed one log at a time, forming a single line of
different phases until the ending up with the finished product. The most
important pieces of equipment were the carriage and the band saw, which
worked against the carriage and was called the "head rig" because they
worked along side of each other to produce slabs that would ultimately be
converted to boards down the line.
Immediate construction was started on the planer operation and dry kilns. The kilns were huge concrete buildings with miles of switchback steam pipes on the floor levels and ceilings, and when lumber would come off the "green chain", it was stacked upon a railway-type car, rolled into the kiln where it would bake, sometimes for days. When it was deemed sufficiently dried and appearing almost scorched, it would then be transported over to the planing operation. After four months of hard work the planer mill was completed and the company began to manufacturing and shipping lumber.
The mill had enjoyed its successes for about 15 months, when suddenly
one night the whole operation caught fire and burning to the ground on June
8th, 1906. It was hastily rebuilt on the original foundation, and in about
four months, operations were begun anew.
A turpentine distillery was constructed about a mile north of where the
town would begin to materialize about a year later, with the Buchanan
interests operating it until about1909 when it was deemed not economically
feasible, shut down and dismantled. People residing on the north side of
Trout during it's operation stated that when the wind was right, the fumes
from the distillery would "curl the hair in your nose."
Rev. 4/14/04 Jack Morgan Willis
Newspapers: A History of Trout, Louisiana -Revised 10-04; Part II,
LaSalle Parish, La.
Submitted by Jack Willis
Date: 16 Oct 2004
Source: From the Jena Times - Olla Tullos Signal, Grass Roots and
Date: 04 Oct 2004
A History of Trout, Louisiana -Revised 10-04
Part II
Trout Creek Lumber Company cranked up their milling operations officially with the felling of the first log on March 01,1905 by "flatheads" Masters and Warner,with the first log being sawn the same day in commemoration. When finished lumber was being produced according to the dictates of management, the powers-that-be then initiated efforts to fabricate a company town, with company engineer H. N. Tannehill laying out the town proper, and crews of craftsmen supervised by one John Casey erected the buildings.
In the first consignment there were 60 houses constructed for white residents, whose only condition to live in one of the houses was that breadwinner be employed at the mill. A company house with electricity and water cost $5.00 a month, no taxes. Standard housing rental was $3.00, and on up to the most expensive at $10.00. This village would eventually swell to 108 dwellings, a Company Commissary, a Masonic Lodge, a Methodist Church, a combination Doctor's Office and barbershop, U.S. Post Office and a Hotel.
John Casey had also constructed the Methodist Episcopalian Church in 1906 and first pastor was W.F. Roberts. A painting contractor from Monroe, La. named Turrentine painted all of the buildings. The Colored quarters were

located directly opposite the mill site for easy access of the occupants with 108 houses constructed for them, along with a hotel and for some unknown reason, management decreed that all the Colored quarters buildings were to be painted a dull red.

The mill town of Trout was literally carved out of the yellow pine forest. About the only description that suited this first town in the area, was that it was practical from a company viewpoint. The dwellings were all one story, with 12-foot ceilings and the reason being was that the mill didn't saw any lumber shorter than 12 feet, thus by sealing up the wall with 12 foot long boards, this saved sawing off the already uniform length boards to obtain a shorter ceiling, resulting in speedier construction, and besides, higher ceilings were supposed to make the houses cooler. If you believe this bit of trivia ask some of the former residents who laid up under the breeze-stifling mosquito bars night after night, with the perspiration rolling down their person.

The company houses, as a rule, all followed the same floor plan, with all being what was known as "shotgun style," because you could have fired a gun down the hallway in the center of the house, and hit someone sitting on the throne in the back yard toilet. Each house faced a street and backed up on an alley, with an outhouse in the rear, next to the alley.

There was very little effort to maintain drainage of the town, so when there were excessive rains, water stood everywhere resulting in swarms of mosquitoes in spring, summer and fall. There were no screens on the windows, but the commissary sold mosquito bars by the dozens, at a price.
There was absolutely nothing romantic about mill town life because management built the towns adjacent to the mills for easy access; this also brought an introduction to noise, fumes and debris from the saws, boilers and smokestacks, with some form of dust permeating everything. Then, there were the inevitable steam whistles dictating your every waking moment, and would strike terror in every resident's heart when at night the whistles and bells were used to warn of fire nearby.

The Masonic Hall featured some of Construction Foreman John Casey's finest workmanship featuring a huge Easter Star emblem over six feet in diameter emblazoned in the floor of one section of the top floor which was a work of art. Casey used a variety of indigenous woods with different textures and hues to provide startling contrasts of the Easter Star hallmarks vivid colors. National and State office holders of the Organization, on visitations to the Hall, were over whelmed at the obviously excellent artwork and craftsmanship involved.

The year 1907 was when management and labor got it all together. The labor force which worked in the logging woods were white, illiterate, local family men for the most part with their work uniform consisting of a floppy, broad-brimmed hat, overalls and brogan shoes, all purchased at the company commissary. They took a bath in summer every Saturday night in the millpond, whether they needed it or not. From one "flathead's" own description, he related that by the end of the week their overalls were so stiff with the rich resin off the crosscut saws, they would stand in the corner where you could just jump into them every morning and were also so slick that "a cat couldn't climb a britches leg." The company's work force, whether at the mill or in the logging woods, had to be in place when the whistle blew at 7:00 a.m. to begin a 10-hour day. They had an hour off for dinner and then worked until 6:00 p.m. Some of the logging crews had to roll out on pre-dawn trains pulled by slow, powerful Shay locomotives.

Often the woman of the house often getting up when the alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning and she'd have to get the wood stove fired up to bake two big pans of biscuits. Then she'd fry bacon and eggs,for breakfast, and for dinner she'd put bacon, eggs, biscuits and some cane syrup in a lard bucket so the man of the house could set out walking, or riding to the rail yard. Some crews had to travel from 20 to 30 miles, which necessitated riding a bench in boxcar. When they got in at night, often hours after dark, they then had to walk home to get a few hours rest and then get do it all over again the next day, six days a week. Pairs of "flatheads" were required to fell 10 trees per day with these trees having to be cut up into logs 12 and 22 feet long to be hauled or towed to rail side by the teamsters.

The teamsters were made up of two different classes. One was the muleskinners; the other group was the bull punchers. Mules were used mostly in the hills because they were faster, but oxen with their wide tired eight-wheel wagons proved their worth in the swampy areas of the Buchanan holdings.
The loading of the one-ton logs at rail side onto the railroad cars was where life got dangerous and many men were hurt, maimed for life or even lost their lives. When a salesman of flatcar-mounted cranes asked one of the company executives if the purchase of one of their devices wouldn't be better for the company? He was said to have replied to the salesman, "Hell No! That crane wouldn't trade at the commissary!" End of conversation.

The loggers, the teamsters and the loaders were the main components of the woods work force. To aid and abet these laborers were the rail gang that maintained the tracks and a small horde of youngsters that scurried around the logging operations carrying water to the workers, and gathering pine knots for fuel for the locomotives.

Life rolled on in the town of Trout. In 1907 the first school was established on a hill back of Trout and the Superintendent was J.P.A. Whatley, and the first teacher was Commodore Walters. Dr. T.M. Butler, formerly of Centerville (Summerville) came on board as another company Doctor. From 1907 to 1908 a Mr. Lynn was the office manager, then Charley North came back, and left again, and a Mr. O.F. Wyman took his place

J.A. Buchanan retired in 1910 and W.J. Buchanan became manager of the mill. In 1912 a picture show was established in the Masonic Hall, and was managed by Ben Casey. It only operated for a few years. During the First World War, nation wide business was at a standstill and labor was very hard to obtain.
In twenty-five short years, the Trout Creek Lumber Company had more or less cut out their share of the virgin pine forest from which the company ventures successes had been carved. Records indicate that in the operational time period the mill had sawn over seven hundred million board feet of lumber. On the morning of March 1st, 1905 when the first log was sawn, operations had been almost continuous until October 4th, 1929, and the company had employed from 350 to 400 men in the various departments. The last whistle was blown at the mill the next day, which was more or less a ceremonial rite, on Saturday morning October 5,1929, less than a month before the Stock Market Crash. The Trout Creek Lumber Company mill had started work on a Friday and finished on a Friday.

The advent of the closing of a mill was nothing new to the Buchanan hierarchy. At this time William Buchanan had already been dead some six years. One company official recalled that when the Minden mill had been consumed by fire in 1918, it fell his lot to go into the Big Man's office and inform him of the disaster. He knocked on the door and gained admittance, and told Buchanan the bad news. Buchanan looked at him for a moment and calmly replied, "Son, that sometimes happens," and turned back around to his desk and resumed his study of a ledger.

The virgin long leaf pine forests William Buchanan had once ridden through on horseback were no more...
Rev.10/04 Jack Morgan Willis
The following is an application to include the Good Pine Lumber Company Building in to the National Register of Historic Buildings. Included is more history.
Describe the present and original (if known) physical appearance
The Good Pine Lumber Company Building is located at the center of the rural community of Good Pine, which is near the parish seat of Jena. Once a thriving lumber town, Good Pine is now reduced to a scattering of considerably altered workers' cottages set amid rolling piney woods. The only other reminder of this early twentieth century boom period is the Good Pine Lumber Company Building itself.

The Good Pine Lumber Company Building is a frame, rectangular, hip roof structure which is raised approximately 18 inches on brick piers. It is almost encircled by a square post gallery, the rear portion of which was enclosed in the 1920's The five bay front facade is symmetrical. The transomed front door leads to a central hall which has offices on each side. One of the rear rooms has two large built in safes. The interiors feature narrow gauge wainscoting, cornerblock doorways, transoms, and large, four panel doors.
The building is simply detailed on the exterior. The only noteworthy decorative feature is the set of three scallop shingled gables on the front and sides.
Assessment of Integrity:

The only changes in the building since construction have been the enclosure of the rear gallery and the installation of fiberboard ceilings in some of the rooms. These changes should be regarded as minor.
Summary Paragraph:
The Good Pine Lumber Company Building (1906) is a single story, galleried, frame office building which is set in the piney hills of central LaSalle Parish at the center of the rural community of Good Pine. The building has been altered very little, and consequently there is no integrity problem.
Specific dates 1906
Builder/Architect Builder: Good Pine Lumber Company
Statement of Significance (in one paragraph)
Criterion A

The Good Pine Lumber Company Building is locally significant in the area of industry because it served as the headquarters for the Good Pine and Tall Timber Lumber Companies, two of the parish's three early twentieth century lumber companies. As such, it is an important visual reminder of an extremely significant industry in LaSalle Parish's history. In fact, it is the only extant structure associated with the industry in the parish believed to be eligible for the Register. There are surviving workers' cottages, but they have been significantly altered The sawmills themselves have disappeared, as have other subsidiary buildings such as the commissary. In any case, the lumbering industry per se did not leave many visual reminders. Most timber settlements were little more than movable camps which were dismantled once the timber was cut. Finally, after reviewing the recent comprehensive survey of LaSalle Parish's historic structures, the State Historic Preservation Office concluded that only four properties were potentially eligible for the Register. The Good Pine Lumber Company Building is one of these.

Lumbering was the most important industry in early twentieth century LaSalle Parish. There were three companies operating in the parish: Trout Creek Lumber Company, Trout, 1905; Good Pine Lumber Company, Good Pine, 1906; and the Tall Timber Lumber Company, Good Pine, 1913 These three mills were owned by William Buchanan, one of the state's biggest timber barons. (A recent issue of Forests and People, a publication of the Louisiana Forestry Association, describes Buchanan as "the biggest giant of them all in Arkansas and Louisiana.") At one time he owned seven mills, six of which were in Louisiana.
Buchanan organized the Good Pine Lumber Company in 1906 and the nominated structure was built to serve as offices and headquarters. In 1913 the Tall Timber Company was established and began to share office space in the building with the Good Pine Company. The nominated structure served this function for the Good Pine Company until 1935, when the firm's sawmill burned and the company ceased operations, and for the Tall Timber Company until 1941, when its mill was torn down. With the consolidation of area lumber companies into the Bodcaw Company, the building continued to serve as an office until 1959, when the company relocated. It is presently owned by the LaSalle Museum Association, whose members are currently transforming it into a parish museum.

The boom period experienced by the lumber industry in LaSalle Parish (and the entire state) was short lived. Production had peaked by c. 1913, and by the mid-1930's, the greater portion of the timber resources had been depleted. The Good Pine Lumber Company Building stands as a direct visual link with this important chapter in the parish's history.

LaSalle Parish Vertical File, Louisiana Room, Middleton Library, LSU BR.
Comprehensive Statewide Survey, LaSalle Parish, 1981. This document is on file at the Louisiana State Historic Preservation Office.
Caldwell, John M. "The Forest of the Vintage: A Geography of Industrial Lumbering in North Central Louisiana, 1890 1920." M.A. thesis, University of Oklahoma, 1975.
Kerr, Ed. "The History of Forestry in Louisiana." Louisiana Forestry Association, July, 1981.
"The Bodcaw Story: Energy, Imagination, Enterprise." Jena Times, June 30, 1976.
Old photograph of Good Pine Lumber Company Commissary, Jena Times, June 30, 1976.

Submitted by Jack Willis
Date: 11 Oct 2004
Source: From the Jena Times - Olla Tullos Signal, Grass Roots and
Date: 25 Aug 2004
Early Railroad Why Fors?
When William Buchanan started his timber acquisition march southwards from Stamps, Arkansas in the late 1890's, he was one of the mechanization moguls who recognized the importance of the railroad as the prime source of transport to insure success in the lumbering business at that time. After Buchanan first got his mills up and running at Stamps, Springhill and Minden he was tired of the old outdated locomotives and poorly maintained tracks he had inherited from the purchase of the Stamps, Arkansas mill, so he personally took on the task of vigorously upgrading what would become the Louisiana & Arkansas rail system. In fact, he was so in love with the construction of the L & A that he considered his sawmills of secondary
importance, and even decided to oversee the renovation of the old line and the laying of the new rails himself, and becoming a familiar sight at end of track, shouting orders from raised windows of his plush rail car named the "Catahoula". Buchanan was considered a miser in other aspects of his Timber Dynasty, but when it came to railroad construction and maintenance of his rail line and equipment, money was no object, resulting in the line's estimated worth in 1910 at over $10,000,000.

He might have been considered a horse's "arse" by his peers, but at his
death in 1923 the L & A was the best, most profitable, and most efficient
rail systems in the Deep South, and other railroad magnets like J.P. Morgan
and Jay Gould journeyed south to study his modus operandi.
Buchanan constructed one of the most elaborate, expensive machine shops,
complete with a roundhouse and turntable, in the United States. The Stamps
shop, by utilization of the turntable, could turn a locomotive and position
it over different bays where any and all mechanical problems could be
properly addressed.

Mr. Herbert Tannehill was Chief Construction Engineer until the line reached
Trout, and after laying out the mill town, Mr. Tannehill no longer wanted to
be dominated by the overbearing Buchanan clan so he simply quit their
employ. Needing to extend the line on to Jonesville, thus opening up a venue
to eastern markets, he contacted the Missouri Pacific Railroad Line
Officials and procured an engineer on loan in the person of Mr. E.J.
Lassiter, Sr.

When the line was completed into Jena with the first train arriving in what was old Jena on December 31st, 1903, there was no depot and when attempts were made to purchase land on which to erect one on, land sales were denied the company. The stand taken by the good citizens of Old Jena was because that they were fearful that establishment of a depot in their elitist neighborhood would draw hobos, bums, and a generally undesirable class of secondary rabble to their community and they simply wouldn't stand for it. The company simply moved back up the line about a mile and hastily erected a depot at what would become New Jena in order to have an embarkation point for the first passenger train, which arrived in New Jena on May 1st, 1904. By 1907 the line had traversed the Brushley swamp east of Rhinehart, La and had been laid into Jonesville to tie into a pre-existing line called the New Orleans & Northwestern Railway.
This tie-in enabled William Buchanan to then utilize his connection on the western end to the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern railroads to give valuable access to both northern and eastern markets. In 1917 he shipped out enough board feet of lumber from the Good Pine Lumber Company mill to construct the complete town of Lincoln, Nebraska.

When his engineers arrived in Jonesville with the L & A, they found that the NO& N R.R. was a narrow gauge line with the smaller rails only three feet apart, but not to be dismayed, they sent the line locomotives back up to the Stamps machine shop where the steam engines and rail cars were fitted with an extra set of wheels to enable them to travel the US standard gauge line with a 4 feet, 8. 5 inches width between the L& A rails and then transition to the narrower, smaller 3.0 width rails coming from Natchez.
Many questions have been raised as to why railroads being built today in the US use the odd measurement distance between rails utilizing the US Standard gauge and here is the reason why. The roads are built that way because that's the way they were built in England, and the people over there who built pre-rail-trams ways used that spacing, and these English émigrés to the US used the same jigs and tools that were used for building wagons in the US as they had in their native England. If the English wagon makers had tried to utilize any other spacing the wheels would not have followed in the ruts first made by the chariots of Imperial Rome during Julius Caesar's rule of Britannia.

The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches is derived from the original specifications of a Roman war chariot. So the next time you wonder why some horse's "arse" came up with such an oddball measurement,it's because Roman war chariots were built just wide enough to accommodate the rear ends of two war horses.
And you've been thinking all this time that being a HORSE'S ARSE was not important, but William Buchanan would have probably argued in defense of that calling.
GR&C (8-25-04) JMW

Early Railroads Built for Mills
Tremont operations supported by T&G Railroad in NE Louisiana
In 1901 Robert H. Jenks of Cleveland, Ohio, had acquired lands west of the Ouachita River, in north central Louisiana, which were estimated to eventually produce 600,000,000 board feet of Longleaf yellow pine lumber. To get the timber to a sawmill for processing, one had to have a railroad.
The late Lucious Beebe was the creator of railfans, i.e., people who devour every fact they can glean about historic railroads, mostly the big, famous cross country lines (the all powerful trunk lines with four way traffic lanes and many vice-presidents). But, he chose almost methodically, to tragically overlook until the 1940s, the myriad of short line railroads that criss-crossed between the big main lines. If the cross country lines were the main arteries of the national transportation body, then the short lines were the feeder arteries and veins.
Southern forests had remained comparatively untouched until the northern forest had been depleted in the 1880s. Small quantities of Louisiana timber had been harvested and processed, but only from forest lands bordering waterways. This began to change dramatically with the northern demand for forest resources from the south, and by the end of the 1920s railroads had been built into every nook and cranny of the state. They were necessary to furnish timber to the many mills springing up.

The virgin pine trees, which were so abundant, were centuries old. They only grew at a circumference growth of 1/4 inch per year. One report stated that to furnish the Tremont mill at Eros it took the timber from a forty-acre tract to operate the mill for a 24-hour shift. This enormous demand for timber necessitated short line railroads in profusion. Building a rail line was no easy task, as Jenks so found out. Robert L. Stevens had designed the iron rail in the 1830s, and he is also credited with perfecting the practice of attaching the rails to the ties by means of spikes. Steel rails were perfected during the Southern Struggle for Independence. They were stronger and more durable; thus trains could haul heavier loads. This art of rail laying had been perfected during the logging boom, which was responsible for gutting the forests of the northern tier of the United States.

When William Buchannan began his move southward from Stamps, Arkansas, the Missouri Pacific railroad loaned a Field Superintendent to the Louisiana & Arkansas in the person of E. J. Lassiter, Sr. The northern tycoons were ready and able to furnish such engineering expertise because they wanted to get the finished timber products to market, and get paid for the transport of it.
Actually, the lumbering entrepreneurs had no recourse but to build railroads. After all, they had fortunes tied up in prime real estate. Virgin pine timberlands could be had in 1906 for $14 an acre. By 1919 price of the same type of land had risen to almost $58 an acre, and by 1920 the going price was up to $88 per acre. The investments were apparently worth it. From 1902 to 1935 one big lumber producer shipped an estimated seven billion board feet of lumber, all by rail line.

Recognizing that other timber barons were moving to secure the northern markets, Robert H. Jenks was ready to make his move. Tremont Lumber Company was established just west of Monroe on the Vicksburg, Shreveport & Pacific Railroad (later Illinois Central). He built nine miles of track into the woods south of the sawmill and Jenks chartered it as the Tremont & Gulf. In this, his first venture into railroad construction, he incurred the enormous expense of building a rail line. He found out, in a hurry, to be able to haul sufficient quantities of logs the railway had to be sturdily constructed. This called for approximately 2650 cross ties per mile. The dimensions of the ties were seven inches by nine inches by eight feet long. They were hewed out of pine or scrub oak, which had to be replaced every three years, unless the manufacturer used white oak. There were 272 rails 39 feet long per mile. To hold the rails in place, this necessitated the use of 21,200 spikes per mile. There were two extra spikes used per rail in curves, on sidetracks. and turnarounds. On a standard line, usually laid after 1860, the rails were placed four feet, eight inches apart. Some of the earlier lines, like the one that stretched from Jonesville, Louisiana to Natchez, Mississippi, were of narrow gauge construction, the rails being only three feet apart.

Jenks found out very soon that the mill at Tremont had a limited capacity, in that it could only handle logs no longer than 22 feet. Be that as it may, to cut logs up to 40 feet in length, he built another sawmill at Eros, 10.2 miles from Tremont in 1904. It would seem that timber barons had an affinity for names pertaining to the solar system. Eros derived its name from the 433r asteroid, which had been discovered by a German Astronomer in 1898. Urania was named after the planet Uranus by Henry Hardtner, "the Father of Reforestation". The name means `heavenly body'. Eros quickly became the center of T&G operations. By 1905, the Tremont & Gulf rail line was complete to Chatham, 6.7 miles further south, and most of the timber for the new Eros sawmill was cut in the woods around Chatham.

The T&G was a remarkably busy operation from the very beginning, and a 1905 timetable shows T&G No.10, as "ex-Chicago, Burlington & Quincy 4-4-0 (1879 Baldwin b/n 4470" locomotive handling one passenger run and one mixed train over the line in each direction daily. A brand new Baldwin locomotive, 2-6-2, T & G No. 14, handled three scheduled log trains daily to keep the sawmills busy.
For Tremont Lumber to acquire additional large timber holdings, more financial backing was required. By 1908 Samuel J. Carpenter of Winnfield, La., and William T. Joyce of Chicago would be a major stockholder. Both of these men are significant, in that they would control T&G fortunes for the next fifty years. Construction of the T&G main line continued south in pursuit of the timber and the track was completed into Winnfield on September 5, 1907. While the line out of Tremont was generally rolling pine-clad hills, the newly completed track near Winnfield was largely located in the Dugdemona watershed. Lucious Beebe, the railway historian, described the area in a Deep South Cavalier style, "Along the swamp trestles of the Tremont & Gulf, the Spanish moss trails with churchyard caress along the sides of the passing cars".

In 1908 the company reorganized into the Tremont& Gulf Railway, improved the property and continued in pursuit of the trees construction of branch lines. On May 1, 1908, T&G President William T. Joyce wrote to his board of directors: "The Tremont & Gulf Railway is the outgrowth of the Tremont & Gulf railroad, which in its initial stages was merely a logging road, with rather poor grades and alignment. The road has been practically re-constructed at large expense, all heavy grades and bad curves eliminated and the extensions to Pyburn and Rochelle completed. Our property is now in all respects a standard railroad".
T&G operated branch lines to bring in timber from distant forests and serve company sawmills at temporary locations. But lumbering operations were beginning to moderate; expansion was not necessarily the `watchword' any more. At least three branches built by Tremont Lumber to Daily, Alger, and Bennett were all abandoned by 1909. The 20-mile Jonesboro branch (known as the Shreveport, Jonesboro & Natchez R. R.) was begun in 1906 and operated until shortly after the Jonesboro sawmill cut its last log on August 12, 1915. The easterly Menefee to Rochelle branch served the company sawmill on the Missouri Pacific, formerly belonging to the Louisiana Lumber Co. and purchased in August of 1907. The Rochelle mill was closed in June of 1908 for a ten-month, $600,000 overhaul, which turned it into Tremont Lumber's biggest mill. The T&G also considered an extension of this branch, and maps show the line proposed as far as the Mississippi River town of Vidalia, La. (across from Natchez, Ms.) until 1910.

When the Louisiana & Arkansas and Missouri Pacific jointly constructed a branch line, which paralleled this proposed route a few miles to the south in 1913, there was no further reason to push T&G tracks toward the east. T&G eventually tied a spur line into the L&A near Georgetown, La. for marketing purposes to the eastern markets. While T&G's tracks stretched in four directions through the woods, Winnfield (which had a population of 3,000 in 1920) was the only real town of any size on the line, the main shops were removed from Eros to Winnfield in 1918. The Eros sawmill closed in 1926. T&G's mileage dropped from 98.5 miles in 1915 to 66.6 by 1920. Thus began the decline of the once grand railroad. The following observation by an unknown author best sums the demise of the logging railroads: "The train passed by one morning; I saw it go out. When it came back it was pulling up the tracks and ties and loading them on the flat cars the engine was pulling. Soon the train was out of sight and the railroad was gone".

T&G Railway connected forestry in region.
Former employees of Tremont industries remember 'Good Old Days' in reunion
The following article was written by Mildred King Shell of Winnfield for the Winn Historical Society, and displayed it at the reunion of former Tremont employees in WInnfield on August 31.
The Tremont & Gulf Railway Company began around 1904, as a logging railroad in conjunction with Tremont Lumber Company during the height of the early timber boom operations. The railroad's history is related to that of Tremont Lumber Company as both were owned by the Joyce interests.
The Chicago-based Joyce family, among whom were William T. Joyce, first president of the Tremont & Gulf, his two sons, David G. Joyce and James Stanley Joyce, and Beatrice Joyce Kean, the daughter of James Stanley Joyce, worked in the development of this region. The local airport was named for David G. Joyce, and the Village of Joyce was named for this family.

In 1899 the Joyce family, who had previously operated sawmills on the Mississippi River in Iowa from timber logged in Minnesota, acquired a small sawmill at Tremont, Louisiana, in the pine hills of Lincoln Parish, and there Tremont Lumber Company was founded. The lumber industry in the South was beginning to boom, and sawmills were springing up overnight.
The first major expansion following establishment of the Tremont mill was the organization of a logging railroad to operate between the mill and the company's pineland at Eros, Louisiana. This was the beginning of the Tremont & Gulf Railway Company, which was the vital link with logging operations. In rapid-fire order came the acquisition of more mills, along with more acres and more logging railroads, among those the Winn Parish Lumber Company at Dodson and another railroad, a mill at Pyburn, and finally in 1907 the Louisiana Lumber Company at Rochelle in Grant Parish, including two sawmills and the Western Railroad Company with ten miles of track. When a railroad link between Rochelle and Dodson was constructed, Tremont possessed a network of rail transportation ranging from Tremont in the north to Rochelle in the south, with links connecting Chatham, Jonesboro, and Dodson.

The logging road became Tremont & Gulf Railroad in 1905 with William T. Joyce as president. At this time there was endless virgin pineland in the South, and the Tremont & Gulf was lined with numerous sawmills from which flowed an incredible output. After the logging road became a full-fledged railroad, development was begun in earnest and an extension from Chatham to Winnfield was completed in 1907. On September 19, 1907 the Tremont & Gulf rolled its first train into Winnfield. Afterwards the Tremont & Gulf built several branches, the first from Menefee, six miles north of Winnfield, to Pyburn on the Rock Island; another from Menefee to Rochelle; and another from Sikes to Jonesboro. Instead of using the telegraph, the railroad was operated by a telephone switchboard from the train dispatcher's office.
In a reorganization in 1908 the road became the Tremont & Gulf Railway Company, and the general offices were located at Winnfield, where they remained.

During the heyday of railroads in the 1920s the various lines serving Winnfield had 12 passenger trains and 8 freight trains running into Winnfield daily. The Tremont & Gulf had 71 miles of track in 1936, connecting with the Missouri Pacific at Rochelle, Illinois Central at Tremont, O N & W at Gulf Crossing, and Louisiana & Arkansas and Rock Island in Winnfield. It had 100 employees and a $150,000 payroll.
In a book published in 1947, Lucius Beebe and C. M. Clegg, Jr. wrote:

"By far the most enterprising and functionally animate of short lines we encountered in the Deep South was the Tremont & Gulf, which operates out of Winnfield, Louisiana, and maintains no fewer than six separate train movements, four scheduled and two unscheduled, daily over its 97 miles of well-kept iron. While the road is controlled by one of the vast lumber projects of the region, its freights and mixed consists are unusually various as to types of merchandise carried and its locomotives are among the most beautifully shopped and maintained anywhere in the South. A handsome green- and gold-painted Packard limousine with flanged wheels for the exclusive use of the roadmaster adds a panache of deluxe urbanity that might well be envied by more comprehensive railroad systems.
"The Tremont & Gulf's motive-power roster includes four enchanting ten-wheelers built between 1907 and 1915 by Baldwin and numbered 15, 20, 24, 25. Of somewhat later vintage is No. 30, a Baldwin Mikado. All are oil burners, and their silvered rod assemblies, red and gold trim on the cabs and general air of spit and polish set them in a class with such proudly maintained motive power as that of the little Colorado and Wyoming ...

"Every morning at one-hour intervals beginning at 6:30 the three trains roll out of Winnfield yards: one a solid freight which runs to West Monroe 40 miles away and return; a mixed freight and passenger on schedule between Winnfield and Tremont where it connects with the Yazoo & Mississipi Valley branch of the Illinois Central; and another freight with passenger accommodations in its spacious caboose on the 20-mile run to Waggoner, where it connects with both the Rock Island and the Louisiana & Arkansas."
The authors wrote more about the maintenance of the motive power: "The T. & G.'s motive power is among the most beautiful in the South," and of the road's motive power, "which is spotlessly maintained in the quintessence of short-line chic." Responsible for the well-kept equipment were Jesse L. Corley, Superintendent of Motive Power, and his shop crew. Mr. Corley served 40 years with Tremont & Gulf, from May 25, 1919 to July 31, 1959.
Lucius Beebe and C. M. Clegg, Jr. had this to say about Winnfield at the time of their visit in the middle 1940s:

"In Winnfield, where the hotel was overflowing with oil riggers, derrick-men and geologists attracted by a nearby offset property that had come through against the expectation of everyone concerned, we were lodged in overstuffed comfort at the home of the local magistrate whose lady, palm-leaf fan in hand, made pin money by taking in travellers whose credentials passed her inspection and standards of respectability. For two dollars we mounted to a bedroom whose Irish linen sheets, shaded bed lamps and Niagaras of hot water could have spelled luxury in New York or San Francisco."
On August 1, 1959 when the Tremont & Gulf Railway Company was sold to the Illinois Central Railroad Company, the transaction closed a chapter of Winn's history which began more than a half-century before with the beginning of the timber boom. At that time trains were operated between Winnfield and Monroe daily, and Sunday when necessary, and between Winnfield and Rochelle daily except Sunday; but the operation had ceased to be profitable.
Other railroads serving Winnfield in 1959 were Louisiana & Arkansas Railway Company, as part of the KCS-L&A System; Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad; and Louisiana Midland Railway (formerly a branch of the L&A).

Beatrice Joyce Kean, a descendant of William T. Joyce, was the sole owner of the Tremont & Gulf when it was sold to the Illinois Central in 1959. She was also the sole owner of Tremont Lumber Company at the time she died in 1973, leaving no descendants. She left her holdings to the Joyce Foundation; and Tremont Lumber Company was sold to Crown Zellerbach Corporation in 1974.

Bibliography of credits:
Lucius Beebe and C. M. Clegg, Jr., Mixed Train Daily: A Book of Short-Line Railroads, 4th ed. (Berkeley, California: Howell-North, 1947).
The Comrade, Industrial Special Edition, July 24, 1908.
Forests & People, official Publication of the Louisiana Forestry Association, First Quarter 1970.
Winn Parish Enterprise, September 10, 1936.
Winn Parish Enterprise-News American, June 18, 1959.
Tremont Lumber Company 70th Anniversary Brochure, 1969.

This explains the Crowell and Buchanan connection mentioned above. Remember, Buchanan bought out Crowell in the beginning up in Stamps. This is edited from a promised source.
Caleb T. (C.T.) Crowell was one of the original founders of the Bodcaw Lumber Company, which was located in Stamps, Arkansas.
C.T.'s wife Ella, was Miss Ella Stamps before she married CT. Two of the other partners in Bodcaw were James Stamps (Ella's father) and his brother. C.T.'s oldest son, and later manager at Longleaf, was James Stamps Crowell, who went by [the surname],Stamps.
Stamps AR. was on the Louisiana and Arkansas RR which was owned by William Buchanan. When Bodcaw ran out of timber that could be hauled to the mill by ox team, the Bodcaw investors were faced with the necessity to built a railroad into the timber or sell out. Having insufficient capital to build, the group sold out to Buchanan, and Bodcaw went on to become one of the great Arkansas and Louisiana lumber companies.

Crowell took his money, went partners again with the Stamps and the Wadley family of Texarkana and built another small mill at Dubberly, LA.
After a couple of years, he decided that he wanted to return to California (he had lived there from about 1870 to 1883), he sold out at Dubberly and moved back to Los Angeles. After returning to Louisiana to wind up the sale of his interest in the Dubberly property to the Wadleys, he decided to return to California via the newly opened Kansas City, Watkins and Gulf RR from Alexandria to Lake Charles. South of Alexandria, he saw the immense virgin forest, and immediately got off the train in Glenmora. There he made the acquaintance of a man named John Evans, and summoning Alexander Spencer from Arkansas, the three men began buying timberland east and southeast of Glenmora. Moving back to the north of Glenmora to the old abandoned settlement of Babbs Bridge, they set up the first mill and renamed the location Longleaf. Spencer and Evans continued to buy timber and Spencer built the mill when C.T. returned to California.
That was the relationship between the Crowells and Buchanan. There is probably more, but that is all that we have been able to find so far.

Buchanan built the Good Pine Lumber Co. C.T. was an investor in Good Pine. When that mill shut down in 1936, C.T.'s son R.D. Crowell Sr. bought several items from the Good Pine mill, including the water tube boiler, that is under the largest stack at Longleaf. This boiler was the last in use at Longleaf, and was used to power the electric plant when the mill was converted to electricity. Thanks to EL.

Page 6
It's pouring down again so I guess I'll finish it up. CLICK THE MAPS TO ENLARGE.
My last stop was the mural wall in Jonesville. I gassed up there. Filling stations are society's petri dish. A petite blond female Harley rider was across the pump from me as I pulled in. She seemed to be doing a scene out of a long ago biker classic. I have never witnessed more drama at a gas pump. It was a performance, obviously, or she was flying like a kite in March. How personally involved can you get with a gas pump? I couldn't stay for the grand finale.

The open road was welcomed. The next point of interest was that the old rail bed would cross US 84 and head north across the Little River and proceed out of the Little River Valley headed for upland Jena. US 84 would have no reason to cross here and would wait until the Little River itself went north. There it was.

This major US highway still has to rise while the ghost of an old railroad crosses its path. There is symbolism here. R-E-S-P-E-C-T, That's what it means to me.
I tried to get to the river in hopes of finding some evidence of the crossing. I was stopped by an ominous sign saying that if I didn't have business at the project I should leave or answer to the Levee Police. I obeyed, returning to the highway and tried another approach which yielded a similar warning.

I found the crossing on the levee, but the under under sideways down growth was too thick to press and then there were those Levee Police to worry about.

Soon, US 84 did its turn north and I would have a chance to check out the rails in the high country. I'd look for the double set of rails I saw on the map at Rhinehart (Rhin on the map)

Yes indeed, there they were. Neat gate.

I guess that there are still a few people out there that don't realize that was the L&A Railroad bed? To say the least, I was disappointed. Such is the fate of a bed detective.
I returned to US 84 headed north. Another chance was offered and I took it. Up McDaniel Road I rode.

I was thinking, "I bet Andy would like this".

I think I forgot to look for the rail bed? Anyway, it wouldn't be the first time on this very disoriented outing I'd bypassed potential historical treasures. I got to "12" on the map and shot the road sign to know where 12 was. I forgot the bed shot but got the meaningless street sign.

Rhinehart and Breithaupt? I was starting suspect Germans in the area.
There was more, Andy.

Then I encountered the down side of these great roads, idiots. Two pickups came flying down the road. Lucky for me it happened on a straight. I had time to pull way to right as they flew by not slowing a bit and well knowing I was there. I'm sure their intention was to rock me. They even yelled something as they went by. I've learned to take a deep breath and not let what I can't change bother me. That's a load of rubbish. Knowing that they probably won't survive 30 satisfies my hopes for them. I was on Greens Creek Road. Be careful, proceed with your gun cocked.
Up ahead I was glad to see pavement. Pavement means civilization, sometimes. I turned south on La.772, headed into Jena.

I was skirting the rails and saw a chance to visit.
I'm assuming this road was built on the rail bed or closely followed it.

Turn off 772 onto Cobbs Road and take an immediate left.
(I write these directions right away to save having to answer a hundred emails.)

In Jena, I was hooked up as the rails had entered town. Not exactly.

I took a picture of a meaningless building because it was close to the rails. I just zoomed in on it and look what I found. That green building has rail car level doors on it and that building to the right could have been a shop for the mill's locomotives.

I believe I went back and got the front of the lumber company.

I felt I was getting hot. The piece of rail tie on the cement supported my thesis. Look at the map. I was in the nest of railroading Jena. I say I was near the mill and I'll bet that concrete with the wood on it was the old depot location. I really don't remember if there was a Jena Mill. There was Trout and Good Pine to see in a bit. Jena? I'm bout milled out anyway.

The rails sit in flat Jena. This is US 84 Jena or Up the Hill Jena. I made that up.

I left Jena feeling like I really needed to sit down and study the situation but I couldn't. I pulled into Good Pine, I was feelin' about half past dead. I needed a place where I could see the bed.

Bell Supply was right on the tracks.

It is on the south side of 84 where you see Good Pine written on the map.

Here are the houses:

Next you see 2 of the old augmented pyramid houses. One is saved, the other, not.

I'm sure there is a story here.

This is a strange one.
I was exiting Trout headed to US 84 on Railroad which ran perpendicular to the the L&A bed.

I can't make either of my maps show it. Nevertheless, here's the layout of Trout/Good Pine.

Where you see "Trout-Good Pine Kindergarten" is where I ended up. It, of course was the Trout-Good Pine School. It is a huge rambling building falling into disrepair.
What a shame.