The plan was for the Fullerton sawmill in Louisiana to stay in operation for generations. But in only 20 years, the historic lumber mill town of 5,000 people had vanished.
The forested remote area of Louisiana east of Leesville was full of virgin longleaf pine timber when S.H. Fullerton bought 100,000 acres and built the largest sawmill west of the Mississippi River. The year was 1907, and the new mill quickly drew a large workforce that supported a mill town of 5,000 residents. The town of Fullerton had the modern conveniences of the day, including electricity and running water.
MODERN CITY AT OLD LOUISIANA SAWMILL
Despite its remote location, Fullerton had schools, a hospital, theater, swimming pool, shopping area and an outdoor dance pavilion. The town is located in what is now the Kisatchie National Forest. The Forest Service reconstructed the large pavilion which is now part of the Fullerton Recreation Complex. The site includes campsites, fishing, and hiking trails that take you to the location of the former Louisiana sawmill.
Fullerton’s large sawmill was fed by trains that hauled freshly-cut pine timber from the forests to the sawmill’s pond. A conveyor rail system moved cut lumber from mill to the yard. But demand for the popular longleaf pine lumber soared during and after World War One. Fullerton lumber was shipped overseas to Europe and used to rebuild war-ravaged transportation systems and cities. That success lead to the sooner-than-expected demise of Fullerton. Within 20 years, all of the timber was cut. The mill shutdown in 1927. The jobs and the residents moved away.
A final blow from the u.s. army
Fullerton’s mill equipment moved to a new location. In some cases, residents moved houses, lumber and buildings to nearby communities. Then, the U.S. Army arrived in the area to train hundreds of thousands of soldiers for deployment in World War Two. The sturdy concrete and pine structures of the abandoned Fullerton community became the target of bombs and demolition exercises. None of the buildings survived.
Today, a hiking trail takes visitors through the woods to the former sawmill site. Along the way, you will see numerous concrete pilings and foundations that were once part of the massive Fullerton sawmill operation.
Louisiana’s fullerton sawmill featured on tv
The Fullerton Recreation area is located along LA Hwy 399 north of the town of Pitkin, Louisiana