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 Texas : Towns / East Texas :

DIBOLL, TEXAS

Angelina County, East Texas
Highway 59
About 109 Miles N of Houston
3 Miles N of the Neches River
About 11 Miles S of Lufkin
3 Miles S of Burke

Population: 5,470

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Diboll History in 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 afloat.

After WWII, 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 – the figure given on the 2007 state map.
Historical Marker (S. First St. & Mill St. intersection, at railroad tracks)

Southern Pine 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.

Diboll Stories

Antlers 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
Diboll, Texas
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