In 1906, the Long Bell Lumber Company of Kansas City,
Missouri, under the leadership of Robert A. Long, began
building a premier sawmill at Longville, Louisiana. The steam
driven sawmill could cut 350,000 feet of lumber per day. Long-
Bell also built homes and all the support facilities needed to
sustain the large population of workers and their families.
Longville was a "closed town," meaning that the company owned
all residential housing, the commissary, hotel, theater, and
doctor's office. The Lake Charles and Northern Railroad and the
Louisiana and Pacific Railroad provided transportation for the
residents and also hauled the sawmill's logs and lumber.
On June 3, 1921, a massive fire destroyed the Long-Bell Lumber
Company. Since logging operations had already nearly decimated
the Longleaf Pine forest, the company decided not to rebuild the
sawmill. Long-Bell sold all of its buildings and moved the
workers to other mills. Long-Bell continued to operate a
hardwood flooring mill at Longville until 1929.
Nearly a century later, the Long Bell Lumber Company's original
red-brick bank building, the First Baptist church, a few company
houses, and the millpond (Longville Lake) remain in use.