By Jessica Gorman
The following is based on information provided by Grace Turner Watson.
The first mill of the Turner Brothers Sawmill was located on Lewisville Road near Boy Scout Road. It was owned by John K. (Bud) and Phares Turner. They purchased equipment from Mr. K. W. Henderson, founder of KWKH radio station, and produced rough lumber that was then sold to the Minden Mill of the Bodcau Lumber Company. When the Homer oil field opened up, they were able to sell rough lumber to the oil companies to build derricks. This enabled them to pay off their debt to Mr. Henderson.
June H. Turner joined his brothers in the lumber company in 1919. This was likely around the time that the mill was moved to Dorcheat Road to be near the railroad. The new will included a planer which allowed for the production of finished lumber. With the loss of the Minden Lumber Company, Turner Brothers began shipping this finished lumber north to places like Chicago. This mill burned and was rebuilt several times.
In the early 1930s, the mill moved to town. They were losing money shipping lumber to Chicago and the local demand for lumber had increased in the wake of the tornado of 1933. It was decided that the mill no longer had need of being located near the railroad. Moving to town also provided insurance and the assistance of the Minden Fire Department in the event of a fire. Despite the objections of area residents, the new mill was located on the old Ben Boepple in the area between North Elm, Lewisville Road, Emerald Drive, and Davis Street. This mill operated until the early 1940s.
At some point, brothers Bobby and Sidney had also joined the business and it became the Turner Brothers Lumber Company. At the time the sawmill ceased operation, Minden was growing and Bobby Turner decided to seize the opportunity and build a subdivision around the mill pond. That mill pond, once known as Ben Boepple’s pasture pond, then the Mill Pond, and almost named Lake Beautiful by Bobby Turner, is today known as Turner’s Pond.
Out of the property once owned by Turner Brothers Lumber Company, land was deeded to the Forestry Department, KASO radio station, Lakeview Methodist Church, and to the Webster Parish School Board for the site of E.S. Richardson Elementary.
Pictured is the Long Springs Mill (Dorcheat Road location) of Turner Brothers Lumber Company
This column is intended to share snippets of Webster Parish history. Please direct any questions or suggestions to email@example.com or visit us at the museum.
(Jessica Gorman is the Assistant Director and Archivist for the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum in Minden and is an avid genealogist.)
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