Pascagoula Hardwood Co.  1927-1933

The Mengel Co. 1935-1947

Standard gauge, 70-lb rail

Headquarters: Laurel, MS (Pascagoula Hardwood)

                         Louisville, KY (Mengel)

Mill Location: Laurel, MS ( Jones County)

Mill Capacity: 50,000 ft/day 

Years of Operation: 1927-1947 

Miles Operated

Locomotives Owned




Click Map for Larger Version

History by Gil Hoffman and Tony Howe:

The Pascagoula Hardwood Company was chartered in Delaware in July 1927 with capital stock of $500,000. Officers of the company were: Charles Green, president (also president of Eastman, Gardiner & Company and Eastman-Gardiner Hardwood Company); P. A. Rogers, I. R. Anderson and Fred G. Cox, vice presidents; A. F. Chisholm, secretary and F. W. Sullivan, treasurer.

The company acquired 20,000 acres of hardwood timber near Merrill, George County, in the Pascagoula River basin. In the fall of 1927 construction began on a 50,000 feet daily capacity band mill at Laurel, located directly south of the mill of the Wausau Southern Lumber Company., with operations commencing in February 1928.

The logging railroad connected with the Gulf, Mobile & Northern at Merrill, running from there into the timber, where about 200 men were employed. The company had trackage rights over the G. M. & N. from Merrill to Laurel and used its own equipment to haul logs to the mill.

The mill shut down in 1933. Timber holdings and sawmill and veneer mill in Laurel were sold to The Mengel Company, of Louisville, Kentucky, on November 29, 1935. Mengel expanded the logging railroad running south from Merrill. Trackage rights were obtained over the Mississippi Export about 1941 to run log trains from a truck reload established at Hurley to Evanston, where trains were then run over the Gulf Mobile & Ohio to Laurel. The operation of log trains from both Merrill and Hurley continued until about May of 1947, when all logging by rail was discontinued. 


A very detailed history of Pascagoula Hardwood Co. and The Mengel Co. can be found in the new book "Yellow Pine Capital" by Gil Hoffman and Tony Howe available HERE.

The following photos were kindly provided by the family of Walter E Zeman, who had worked for RCA in New Jersey in the 1930's, and visited the Mengel mills at Laurel, Bogalusa, and Baton Rouge on April 19 and 20, 1937. Since they arrived too late to be included in the book, they are provided here in higher resolution to supplement those photos in the book. Many thanks to Bill Cummings for tracking us down! Click on each picture for a higher resolution image.

The Mengel log train arrives at the mill at Laurel on April 20, 1937. Note the interesting caboose!

A 36' SU-class boxcar of Southern Ry is being loaded with lumber at the mill. 

The Mengel log train arrives at the mill at Laurel behind 4-6-0 No. 621.

Another nice view of the mill. 

Logging with tractors and Lindsey log wagons in the Pascagoula River swamp. Note the mud!

Interior view of the mill. 




ROSTER by Gil Hoffman:   



1      2T Shay      Lima 3081      5-1920      29      3-10x12      84000

Purchased from Eastman-Gardiner Hardwood Co. #1, Sandersville, MS

Built as J. P. Griffin Lumber Co. #1, Avera, MS; to Green Lumber Co. #1, Avera, MS, on 9-1-20; to Tallahoma Lumber Co. #1, Montrose, MS, about 11-1924; to Eastman-Gardiner Hardwood Co. #1, Sandersville, MS, about 4-1927.

Sold to The Mengel Co. #1, Laurel, MS, on 11-29-35. Scrapped 1947.


51      3T Shay      Lima 2514       2-1912      36      3-12x15      140000

Purchased from Finkbine Lumber Co. #51, D'Lo, MS, in 3-1929.

Built as B. H. Hardaway Contracting Co. #51, Searles, AL; to Birmingham Rail & Locomotive Co., Birmingham, AL; to Finkbine Lumber Co. #51, Wiggins, MS, on 10-30-15, transferred to D'Lo, MS

Sold to The Mengel Co. #51, Laurel, MS, on 11-29-35.


54      3T Shay      Lima 566      12-1898       32      3-12x12      100000

Purchased from Eureka Gravel Co. #54, Montrose, MS.

Built as Eastman, Gardiner & Co. #4, Laurel, MS, renumb. #54; to Southern Iron & Equipment Co. #785, Atlanta, Ga.; to Scotch Lumber Co. #7, Fulton, AL, on 3-15-11; to Bay Creek Lumber Co., Purvis, MS; to General Equipment Co., New Orleans, LA, on 7-21-19; to Green Lumber Co. #1, Garner, MS, transferred to Avera, MS, in 1924, as #54; to Eureka Gravel Co. #54, Montrose, MS.

Boiler exploded 12-1928.


--      2T Shay      Lima 183      8-1887      26      3-8x8      40000

Purchased from Green Lumber Co., Avera, MS.

Built as Gregory & Coe Lumber Co. no #, Stanton, AL (36-inch gauge); to Kingston Lumber Co., Laurel, MS, in 1897; to Laurel Machine & Foundry Co., Laurel, MS; to George W. Howell & Co. #4, Montrose, MS (standard gauge); to Tallahoma Lumber Co., Montrose, MS, in 11-1921; to Southern Iron & Equipment Co. #1942, Atlanta, GA; to Green Lumber Co., Avera, MS, on 7-12-24.

Scrapped by 4-1929.


621      4-6-0      ALCO-Brooks 40574      6-1906      57      20x26      154000

Purchased from Eastman, Gardiner & Co., Laurel, MS.

Built as Gulf & Ship Island #62; to Eastman, Gardiner & Co., Laurel, MS, in 8-1927.

Sold to The Mengel Co. #621, Laurel, MS, on 11-29-35. Scrapped 1946.


172      4-6-0      Baldwin 23336      12-1903      56      19x24      140000

Purchased from Gulf, Mobile & Ohio #172.

Built as Mobile, Jackson & Kansas City #72; to New Orleans, Mobile & Chicago #72, in 1909; to Gulf, Mobile & Northern #72, in 1917, renumb. #172 in 1923; to Gulf, Mobile & Ohio #172, in 1940.

                                       Baldwin class 10-32 D 797







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