Winner, T. H. Fehrenbach Award, Texas Historical Commission
Sawmill communities were once the thriving centers of East Texas life. Many sprang up almost overnight in a pine forest clearing, and many disappeared just as quickly after the company .cut out. its last trees. But during their heyday, these company towns made Texas the nation's third-largest lumber producer and created a colorful way of life that lingers in the memories of the remaining former residents and their children and grandchildren.
Drawing on oral history, company records, and other archival sources, Sitton and Conrad recreate the lifeways of the sawmill communities. They describe the companies that ran the mills and the different kinds of jobs involved in logging and milling. They depict the usually rough-hewn towns, with their central mill, unpainted houses, company store, and schools, churches, and community centers. And they characterize the lives of the people, from the hard, awesomely dangerous mill work to the dances, picnics, and other recreations that offered welcome diversions.