History Matters


Photo courtesy of Crossett, Arkansas Public Library.

“I received a call from a woman looking for evidence that her grandfather worked at the Crossett Experimental Forest in the early 1940s,” said Jim Guldin, project leader for U.S. Forest Service Southern Pine Ecology unit. When her grandfather could not be found in the daily journals kept on the experimental forest, Guldin realized that the largest forestry employer in the area during that time was not the experimental forest, but the Crossett Lumber Company, which deeded the land on which the Crossett Experimental Forest was established. So Guldin consulted a retired Georgia-Pacific colleague, Doogie Darling, who began searching copies of the Crossett Lumber Company’s Forest Echoes monthly magazine in the Crossett Public Library.

The Crossett Lumber Company was incorporated in 1899 and built the town of Crossett, Arkansas. The lumber company published Forest Echoes as an employee magazine from 1939 until the company merged with the Georgia-Pacific Company in 1962. The history of the company and the town are reflected in the magazines articles, and both the town and the lumber company have close ties to the Crossett Experimental Forest.

Darling found the man’s name in a 1944 issue celebrating employee birthdays; then Don Bragg met Darling and Guldin at the Crossett Public Library to complete the research. Thanks to an excellent cross-reference of Forest Echoes prepared by the library, Guldin found the details the woman was looking for—her grandfather had worked as a research chemist for the Crossett Lumber Company.

Photo courtesy of Crossett, Arkansas Public Library.

The Crossett Public Library had two complete sets of Forest Echoes. “I thought it was just a fantastic slice of life in a southern mill town from the 1930s to the 1960s,” said Guldin. So in talking with folks at the library, I learned that they had a bunch of extra copies. When estates are settled in town, the family’s copies all get donated to the library.”

This led Guldin to contact the Forest History Society in Durham, North Carolina, and ask about their collection of Forest Echoes. It did not take much at that point to introduce the Forest History Society staff to the Crossett Public Library staff, and in the end, the Crossett Public Library donated a stack of the Forest Echoes monthlies to the Forest History Society to round out their collection.

Forest Echoes and the donation from the Crossett Public Library were recently featured in Peeling Back the Bark, the Forest History Society blog: http://fhsarchives.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/retro-swimsuit-issue-forest-echoes-crossett-lumber/

Read an article by Doogie Darling and Don Bragg about the early mills, railroads and logging camps of the Crossett Lumber Company.

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