ALDRIDGE SAWMILL RUINS
IN OVERGROWN FOREST
The 19th-century ruins of a once busy sawmill hides deep in an overgrown forest.
Hal Aldridge relocated from Rockland, Texas, in the early 1900s, and began purchasing stands of longleaf yellow pine in Angelina County. In 1903, he began the construction of a sawmill near a scenic bend of the Neches River, which he completed by 1905.
As business grew, the Aldridge Sawmill produced approximately 125,000 board feet of lumber daily and employed 500 people. The site featured employee housing, a commissary, hotel, post office, blacksmith shop, train depot, two schools, and various shops and saloons.
On August 25, 1911, a fire destroyed the original wooden mill buildings. They were replaced in 1912 by the reinforced concrete structures that stand on the site today.
Business does not seem to have suffered for long, and by 1913, the population of Aldridge is estimated to have been anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 residents.
Another fire in 1914, however, caused Aldridge to depart the lumber business, apparently leaving it in the hands of his brother, who was also the company’s vice president. Operations continued as business began to slow, until another fire in 1919 finally ended the Aldridge Lumber Company.
The township was essentially abandoned by 1920, eventually being annexed into the Angelina National Forest. Today, visitors can see the remains of four concrete buildings, as well as the mill pond that would have once fed the sawmill’s boilers.
Clancy's comment: I've been to many sawmills and met the people who worked in them. Man, it's a tough way to earn a living.