County, East Texas
31°11'10"N 94°47'7"W (31.186060, -94.785395)
US 59 (future Interstate 69)
109 Miles N of Houston
3 Miles N of the Neches
11 Miles S of Lufkin
the county seat
3 Miles S of Burke
ZIP code 75941
Area code 936
Population: 5,204 Est. (2019)
4,776 (2010) 5,470 (2000) 4,341 (1990)
Diboll, Texas Area Hotels Lufkin
a Pecan Shell
First came the
railroad. In this
case it was Houston, East and West Texas Railroad. J. C. Dibol, the
town’s namesake, was a major landowner in the area, but it was Thomas
L. L. Temple who (after buying 7,000 acres of timber from Diboll)
built a sawmill in 1894 and got things rolling. Temple’s mill, doing
business as The Southern Pine Lumber Company expanded it’s operation,
opening a second mill and buying 200,000 more acres.
The mill built homes for its workers, which were rented to them. The
company also ran a store to sell groceries to their “captive” patrons.
A school was built in the mid 1890s and it wasn’t until 1897 that
the town was granted a post office.
The Great Depression hit the company hard, forcing it to sell nearly
half of its holdings at the fire sale price of $3 per acre. The company
had evidently treated their employees right during the good times.
Faced with the bleak prospect of shutting down the mills, the lumber
company employees took money out of their savings to keep the company
Arthur Temple, Jr., a grandson of Thomas L. L. Temple, assumed the
presidency of the company, selling company housing to the workers
and providing much needed amenities like paved streets, a library
and ambulance service. The company store was replaced with a modern
shopping center and a radio station began broadcasting.
Diboll incorporated in the early 1960s with a conservation-minded
mayor named Clyde Thompson, who recognized the symbiotic relationship
between mill, town and workers. The two sawmills started in the 1890s
eventually morphed into the huge company known as Temple Eastex, Inc
in the early 1970s. Diboll became the company’s corporate headquarters.
From a population of 5,500 in the mid 1980s, Diboll fell to 4,300
for the 1990 census, but rebounding to 5,470 in 2000..
(S. First St. & Mill St. intersection, at railroad tracks)
Lumber Company Commissary
The original commissary
at this site was constructed about 1894 when T. L. L. Temple (1859
- 1935) started the first Southern Pine Lumber Company sawmill here.
The store was moved to the present building when it was completed
in 1923. The inventory included groceries, medicine, ice, furniture,
dry goods, and coffins. Items were purchased with "company checks,"
special tokens of metal or wax-coated paper. Managed from 1896 to
1938 by W. P. Rutland, the commissary closed in 1953. The building
housed company offices until 1979.
Hotel by Bob Bowman
"The afternoon the building burned, hundreds of Dibollians
stood watching the fire, tears streaming down their faces. Older
Dibollians still recall “the day the town cried.”... more
Biscuit and Cornbread Whistles by Bob Bowman
In the 1940s, the daily lives of Dibollians were punctuated by the
shrill blasts of a siren affixed to a 100-foot water tower owned
by Southern Pine Lumber Company. The siren was likely blown for
loftier reasons such as personnel shift changes and fires, but Dibollians
came to know the sounds as “the biscuit whistle” and the “cornbread
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