Lindsey Springs Logging Camp

Established around 1899, Lindsey Springs was one of the many lumber camps built in East Texas. Southern Pine Lumber Company operated Lindsey Springs to provide wood for the company's nearby mill in Diboll. The camp was constructed close to the naturally occurring Lindsey Springs to take advantage of its abundant water supply.

The camp had three residential sections and in 1900 it served as home to 110 people and 25 households. The company built small wood-framed homes for workers and their families, and a boarding house provided quarters for 11 men. A store, school, church, post office, recreational facilities and, at times, a doctor served the needs of the workers and their families.

The men of the camp had jobs more varied than simply felling timber. According to the federal census, the camp included day laborers, teamsters, log contractors, foremen, commissary clerks, carpenters, a saw filer, a tie maker, and a potter. Other residents held jobs in supporting the camp's operations, including personnel who ran the post office, cooked meals, and provided medical services.

One important aspect of the Lindsey Springs operation was the addition of a narrow gauge railroad, built in 1900 to transport logs from the camp back to the mill in Diboll. The fact that Lindsey Springs had a railroad made it something of a rarity in the piney woods of East Texas. Most other camps relied on horses and wagons to drag the lumber out of the forest and to bring in supplies. The Lindsey Springs railroad line to Diboll both served as transportation for the timber as well as a key link to the outside world.

By 1906, the forest around the camp had been cleared of all marketable timber, and the operation, including men and buildings, moved west to Trinity County to start all over again.

Images

Lindsey Springs Camp Workers One of the camp workers in this 1903 photograph is holding a two-man crosscut saw, a standard tool for lumbermen. Source: The History Center at Diboll and Portal to Texas History, University of North Texas
Horses Pulling Trees Men cutting timber in East Texas considered the horse an important partner in accomplishing that work. Horses performed many functions like dragging cut logs out of the forest and pulling the wagons that had been loaded with felled trees. Source: The History Center at Diboll
Rows of Houses Houses stand on the side of railroad tracks through a logging camp, similar to Lindsey Springs. Proximity to a railroad was key for getting the timber to the mills and a railroad spur linked Lindsey Springs to nearby Diboll and the Southern Pine Lumber Company mill there. Source: The History Center at Diboll
Mule Teams Teams of mules and their drivers take a break in front of cut timber during a day of logging in East Texas. Source: The History Center at Diboll
Preparing to Cut Down a Pine Pine, abundant in East Texas, was the primary tree harvested for production in the sawmill. These men are preparing to cut down a shortleaf pine tree near Lindsey Springs. The sawyer, who cut down the tree, was first in the line of people who would turn a tree into lumber. Source: The History Center at Diboll
Census of Lindsey Springs The federal population census taken in 1900 documented 110 people at the Lindsey Springs camp, including the households seen in this image. Source: National Archives and Records Administration

Location

Metadata

Chris Grant, “Lindsey Springs Logging Camp,” East Texas History, accessed December 7, 2022, https://easttexashistory.org/items/show/109.