Towns that sprung up around lumbering generally came and went with the forests, and Arcadia might have had the same fate. On August 6, 1906 the Starke Sawmill burned down, and instead of simply rebuilding it, the company, guided by Charles J. Starke, the adopted son of Henry Starke, decided to replace the sawmill with a furniture company. The Arcadia Furniture Factory was born. Unlike most sawmill settlements that came and went with the lumber, Arcadia had a new industry and a new future.
To people on the outside it seemed as if a log was inserted at one end of the Arcadia Furniture Company plant and out popped a piece of furniture at the other end of the plant. The company’s motto, “From Forest to Furniture,” supported that view, but there was a bit more to it than that.
To begin with, someone like John Weldt, the company “woodsman” in the 1930s, would select the logs to use for furniture. Each log would be hauled into the sawmill portion of the plant, where the bark might be removed and the wood cut into boards or veneer, depending on the type of wood and what was needed.
In the photo above, note the specialized equipment used for handling logs: a large vice attached to a small rail car.
Museum Entrance | Timeline | Exhibits | Voices | Site Map | What's New