Temple Industries began in 1893 when Thomas L. L. Temple purchased 7,000 acres of timberland in southern Angelina County from John C. Diboll of Louisiana. Southern Pine Lumber Company of Texarkana, Arkansas, had been organized in 1891 as a partnership between Temple, C. M. Putnam, and Ben Whitaker, to sell lumber wholesale. The company folded the same year and was reorganized in 1893. Temple soon became the sole owner. A millsite was constructed at the company town, Diboll, midway between Houston and Shreveport on the Houston, East and West Texas Railway, and production of pine and hardwood lumber began in June 1894. Sixty thousand board feet of lumber was cut per day, and 600 men were employed. The firm was organized as a capital-stock enterprise in 1893. Timber resources came from a strip of land fifty-five miles long and five miles wide along the Neches River in Angelina, Anderson, Cherokee, Houston, and Trinity counties. Temple later purchased other firms and founded the Temple Lumber Company at Pineland. When he died in 1935 his son, Arthur Temple, Sr., became company president. Arthur Temple, Jr., assumed control in 1948, and the company rapidly expanded into fiberboard sheathing, particleboard, and plywood manufacture. In 1956 Southern Pine merged its Pineland operations into the parent company, which in 1964 was renamed Temple Industries. It built or acquired plants in Arkansas, Alabama, and Georgia in the 1970s to expand particleboard and gypsum wallboard manufacture. In 1973 Temple Industries was acquired by Time, Incorporated, and merged with Time's Eastex pulp and paperboard subsidiary at Evadale, Texas, to form Temple-Eastex. The new company owned more than a million acres of forest in Texas and employed nearly 5,000 people nationwide. In 1984 Time spun off Temple-Eastex and a Time subsidiary, Inland Container Corporation, to form Temple-Inland, based in Diboll, which reported $1 billion in sales in its first year and became one of the nation's primary producers of corrugated boxes, as well as building products, pulp, and paperboard. Subsidiary companies are engaged in mortgage banking, insurance, and real estate development.
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Laurence C. Walker, Axes, Oxen, and Men: A Pictorial History of the Southern Pine Lumber Company (Diboll, Texas: Angelina Free Press, 1975). Elisha Wallis, "East Texas Industry: Temple-Eastex," Texas Historian, May 1983.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Alan O. Miller,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 27, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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