1938 Ruston Mill Opening (HLC-D)

“Hodge-Hunt Announce Immediate Construction Plans For Plant On Rock Island South Of City,” Ruston Daily Leader, July 11, 1938, A1.

New Corporation Plan Operations To Begin Within Next Thirty Days; Marks New Era In Ruston’s History

“Organization of a $50,000 lumber manufacturing firm, with mills to be located in Ruston, has been announced here by the Hodge Hunt Lumber Manufacturing Corporation.  The plant will be located south of the city limits on the Rock Island railroad, on 12 acres of land recently purchased by the Hodge-Hunt Lumber Manufacturing Corporation from Madison Hall.  Approximately 100 men will be em- [sic] $6,000 monthly, it was said.

Officers in the new corporation are Alex T. Hunt, president.  Edwin W. Hodge, vice-president, and Allen Barksdale, treasurer, according to the announcement which came from Mr. Hodge this morning.  All are Ruston citizens, who have resided here for many years, and have many years of lumber experience behind them, gathered from their association with the old Hodge-Hunt lumber company at Hodge, which was operated by the fathers of Mr. Hodge and Hunt.  This company and its holdings were sold to the Southern-Advance Paper and Bag Company several years ago, with the latter company now operating the one of the south’s largest paper mills on the old lumber company site.

The step announced here today by Mr. Hodge marks the greatest single industrial stride taken in Ruston in the past quarter century, it is believed.  The plant’s payroll will probably be much above that of any industrial payroll in the city, and second only to the faculty and operating payroll at Louisiana Tech.

In discussing the construction of the plant today.  Mr. Hodge stated that workmen are beginning immediately upon foundations and clearings, and that the new mill will probably be in operation within the next thirty days.  The saw mill will go into operation first, with the cutting of timber and lumber for construction of steam kilns and planning mill to be done there, he said.

“We made a rather extensive survey of this area before deciding to place a lumber mill in operation here,” Mr. Hodge stated.  “It is our belief than an unusually large number of farmers in this vicinity have small tracts of timber on their places, which they would be glad to turn into ready cash.  In bringing the mill here, we are trying to offer them the same sort of cash market for their timber that they are now getting with tomatoes, watermelons and other farm produce.  In other words, suppose a farmer has around 20,000 feet of timber on a tract which might just as well, if not better, be cleaned up.  HE can cut that timber and bring it to Ruston and receive a cash payment for it, just the same as your watermelon and tomato grower receives cash prices for their products.”

Lincoln Parish’s road system also played a major part in influencing the new firm’s decision.