The Great Southern Lumber Company-The Largest Sawmill In The World


The Great Southern Lumber Company was chartered in Pennsylvania on January 17, 1902. Between 1902 and 1905, the owners purchased vast areas of long-leaf virgin pine timber in Louisiana. In 1906, the Goodyear Family, who were the principal owners, erected a sawmill on the Bogue Lusa Creek in Washington Parish, and began the town of Bogalusa. From these beginnings grew the Great Southern Lumber Company, the largest sawmill in the world from its opening in 1908, until 1938, when it ceased operation. It was also the largest mill sawing yellow pine during its existence.  As the Heart Pine resources dwindled, millions of California Redwood trees were railed to this mill to be sawn.


The Great Southern Lumber Company also expanded into other enterprises, including the establishment in 1905 of the New Orleans Great Northern Railroad to transport their products, the Bogalusa Paper Company in 1918-1937, Bogalusa Turpentine Company, Bogalusa Tung Oil, Inc. and the Bogalusa Stores, their commissary.


Besides contributing public buildings, assisting in the incorporation of Bogalusa in 1914, and furnishing civic leaders, the Company experimented in various other areas related to their businesses. They became one of the pioneers in reforestation in Louisiana and created a nursery, until it closed in 1930-1931, to furnish seedlings. They likewise established the Bogue Chitto Farm, which was begun to demonstrate how stock and truck farms could be successful on cut- over land.


A large part of the photographs included in this LSU Libraries Special Collection were removed from two scrapbooks compiled by the donor's sister, Mrs. Mary E. Jones McGraw, former secretary to William H. Sullivan, Vice-President and General Manager of the Great Southern Lumber Company from 1905-1929, President of the Bogalusa Paper Company, and Mayor of Bogalusa, 1914-1929, as well as holding other official positions.


Copyright © 2000-2001 | Louisiana State University   Click here to go to LSU  Libraries Special Collections


 Wyche, Billy H.

1999 "Paternalism, Patriotism, and Protest in ‘The Already Best City in the Land’: Bogalusa, Louisiana [a Company Town Built by the Great Southern Lumber Company], 1906-1919."Louisiana History, Vol. 40 (Winter): 63-84.


 Learn about the Home of Bogalusa's 1st Mayor, William Henry Sullivan


Check out "The Bogalusa Story", a book written by one of the founders of the city, C.W Goodyear



Click here to view the giant

Pines of Bogalusa.

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