Jackson Veneer Mill, Laurel Hill, Florida

tool shed from veneer millIn 1945 four investors started the Jackson Veneer Mill in Laurel Hill:  Henry Harold, President; R.W. Thomas, Assistant President; and, S.A. Jackson, Secretary.   At one time, the mill employed as many as 100 people and its weekly payroll was near five thousand dollars.  By the late 1950s the value of the mill was estimated at a quarter of a million dollars.

The site of the mill (Laurel Hill, FL) was chosen because if area was located centrally between Yellow River and Shoal River and the Jackson Lumber Company tracts of land whose swamps furnished the timber.  Giant gum logs were hauled from the swamps to the mill, paced on huge ramps and rolled into position where they were cut in usable lengths.

The mill was powered by a steam engine which is now on display at the Florala, Alabama Depot. Later, the mill retooled and began using an electric motor.  Perry Pascal (Junior) Cadenhead worked at the mill for over forty years – 1948 until it closed on March 11, 1989.

For many years the mill processed lumber for sale. The plant started out as a box mill and they air dried the wood.  It was made into strips for making boxes. Later they began making plywood. Blocks of gum, poplar and other trees were put into the hot water vat to soak.

When the wood was warm and limber they would put the blocks on the table saw. Using a sleuce system, strips were moved down the table to be cut.  The thin strips were made into plywood.  About 1/20th of an inch was as thin as they could cut it. But they made it varying thicknesses and widths depending upon demand. The plywood was shipped on trucks to Dothan, AL. via the Howell Plywood Company.

logs for veneer mill
Note the circumference of the logs over the top of the truck cabs.