Sid Taylor, Florida State Forestry Naturalist, has written and studied extensively on Centralia. Read Sid Taylor’s Article on Centralia here describing the people of the town, Gamble’s Commissary, the inner workings and details of the sawmill. Centralia was a logging community located just south of Centralia Rd. and west of US 19. Neither of these roads existed when the sawmill boom town of Centralia was established in 1910. The mill went into production in 1911 with it’s remarkable double band saw which was able to cut a hundred thousand board feet a day. The sawmill at Centralia cut red tide cypress, sometimes thousands of years old. The blade of the double band saw was at least 1 foot wide. The wheels were about 9-10 feet in diameter. Every evening a mill operator would have to sharpen the blades. An image of a similar bandsaw of the same era from Laguna Beach, CA, gives an idea of what the Centralia saw would have looked like erected: 9′ Band Saw A photo was taken from the water tower looking south west: Let us examine some of the structures in the photo:
- Rear end of the saw mill that housed the double band saw
- Narrow gauge railroad that was used to transport logs from cutting site to float pond. Several men pushed rail carts by hand throughout the logging areas. Mules and ox were also used for this task.
- Drying area (160 acres)- lumber was stored in 15′ stacks here
- Planer Mill