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trmmc_state The company owned and operated two plants at Brewton, Al, northeast of Mobile. One plant was a standard lumber mill, while the other -- about a mile to the east -- was a telephone pole treatment plant. The company operated a short railroad pike through the woods between the two facilities and out to a mainline interchange using a pair of light Baldwins: a handsome "Prairie" and an unusual 2-4-2 "Columbian" tank engine. Although both steamers have been gone from Brewton for decades, both survive on display and T R Miller Mill Company is still in operation with a well-worn GE center-cab switcher.

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trmmc_logo Located in Brewton, Alabama, T. R. Miller Mill Company, Inc. is one of the oldest, privately held, forest product companies in business today. Built in 1848, the original mill was one of the first permanent sawmills in the South. Little is known of the original mill except that it was a small water-driven mill, but the choice of location still commands admiration. Not only did Cedar Creek power the mill, it also transported logs from the vast pine forest along its upper reaches and floated the sawn timbers to Pensacola, Florida for export.

In 1872, ownership changed and the mill operation was incorporated as T. R. Miller Mill Company. This sawmill has operated continuously since 1872, and today is one of the 150 largest sawmills in the U. S. Since 1903, T. R. Miller has manufactured various specialty pine products, and that continues today with an array of pine flooring, siding, and pattern products, as well as a selection of 4 x 8 lattice panels. In 1927, the treated pole and piling division was added, and is now one of the 10 largest producers of poles in the U. S.

T. R. Miller Mill Company

Baldwin #12

T R Miller Mill Company #12

  • builder:Baldwin Locomotive Works
  • arrangement:2-4-2 tank, "Columbian" type
  • built:1904, Baldwin #24404
  • fuel:coal/water
  • notes:
  • on display at Marine Museum, Pensacola, Fl
  • builder

    Baldwin #101

    T R Miller Mill Company #101

  • builder:Baldwin Locomotive Works
  • arrangement:2-6-2 "Prairie" type
  • built:1924, Baldwin #58057
  • fuel:coal/water
  • notes:
  • blt as Tuskegee Railroad #101 in 1924
    to T R Miller Mill Company #101
    sold to Illinois Railway Museum
    cosmetically restored as Tuskegee #101
    stored serviceable at IRM
  • builder

    Fireman "Blue"

    journal_rwh

    Baldwin #101 could easily fit the definition of "classic shortline steam locomotive" -- handsome, nimble, and at home with the slow pace of shunting industrial rolling stock in southern Alabama. My father recalls meeting the kindly black gentleman who was 101's regular fireman at the mill. Everyone on the property called him "Blue". As dad took the handful of pictures of #101 shown on our page, the engineer offhandedly commented that many a railfan had snapped a photo of Blue with the steamer and promised to send him a photo ... but never did. Dad took the pose with a proud Blue (above) and upon returning home to Pensacola promptly mailed the good fellow a copy. Dad always noted how he liked to imagine this photo sitting framed on a mantle in Blue's home.

    journal_rwh
    July 2017

    blue I was so delighted last year to receive the following notes from J.D. Marzec, a member of the steam crew at the fabulous Illinois Railway Museum. He found my Miller Mill page ere and we began a correspondance about fireman Blue and adding his picture to the honorable wall of IRM locomotives in their steam shop (shown above). I'm so glad Blue's legacy working #101 will carry on in Illinois!


    Hi, I am a Steam Team volunteer at the Illinois Railway Museum and saw the page on your website on #101. I was wondering if you have any higher resolution files for the old pics you have of 101, specifically the one of the fireman known as "Blue" next to 101. We want to hang that pic in our shop with a brief description ofhim.

    J.D. Marzec
    IRM Steam
    Team Crew Caller

    ______________________________________

    Thanks for those pics. I'll let you know if we want any others. Once I get the pics up in the shop I'll send you a pic of it. On the wall for our small machine shop in the steam dept we have pics of our locomotives inservice, so it will go on there. I'll give credit to the photographer in the little blurb on the pics. Let me know if you come to IRM. I am there most Saturdays in the steam shop. I am also a fireman on our steam locomotive and I am the crew caller for the steam crew.

    I also saw on your website the article on the Engineer Robert C Rucker. It said he engineered at Lee Cypress Co. IRM has #18 from Lee Cypress. I helped move that loco to IRM back in 2008. It's a crazy small world that two locomotives that Robert Rucker ran in service ended up at the same museum.

    Robert C. Rucker

    journal_rwh
    September 2015

    I was delighted to receive some online correspondence from Dr. Brian Rucker, professor of history and the grandson of a long-time Miller Mill railroader. Brian's initial note to me included these lines:

    I saw your shots of the Baldwin steam Locomotive 101 that used to operate at the T. R. Miller Mill Co. in Brewton, AL. My grandfather, Robert C. Rucker, ran it up until it was sold in the late 1960s. He died in 1969, shortly thereafter. He even went up to the mill on Saturdays and offered excursion rides. I have a lot of old photos of that train; it was his favorite, and he had been an engineer since the 1920s!

    But my delight shot through the roof when Brian graciously responded to my request to send along some of his grandfather's photographs of Baldwin #101. The images he sent back are wonderful, and I am grateful for his willingness to allow me to add them to my Miller collection here. Of particular interest is the photograph of #101 loaded onto a flatcar for transport to the Illinois Railway Museum (see below). Thinking about my father's several visits to the mill in the early 1960s, there is every chance that he met and conversed with Mr. Rucker, whose biography in brief is included here, thanks to his grandson:

    HawkinsRails thanks Brian Rucker for use of the images below from his personal collection

    Diesel

    HawkinsRails thanks railfan Charles Johns Jr. for use of these switcher and mill photographs

    Locations

    Click to see T R Miller Mill location in Brewton plotted on a Google Maps page

    tag_lagnLagniappe

    journal_rwh
    October 2009

    Pilgrimage 101

    In the fall of 2009, my family traveled to Chicago to visit close friends. This being my first visit to Chicagoland by car, I insisted upon a day in the schedule to visit the impressive Illinois Railway Museum. For many years it has been goal of mine to see their fine collection, but in truth two Deep South pieces on the site drew me on a must-see pilgrimage: Columbus & Greenville #606 and T.R. Miller Mill Co. diminutive #101. The IRM is a massive museum, covering lots of ground, so it took me the better part of the morning to find the little engine. Turns out she's stored in two parts: Her boiler and running gear are inside one of the covered buildings, while her tender resides outside in a long cut of rusting steam parts. All in all, I found the engine in rough shape, but not beyond rebuilding. At least her boiler is protected from the weather. The engine is lettered for the Tuskegee Railroad, the other Alabama shortline to own and operate her. Out in Union, Illinois, far northwest of the city, she's a long way from the humid grounds of her Southland home. Still, after spending so much time with dad's 120 negatives, and hearing his several stories of seeing her run and meeting her people, it was good to meet this little Baldwin face to face.

    See also our complete Illinois Railway Museum collection in Preservation
    all photos above taken at Illinois Railway Museum / Union, Il / Sep 2009 / RWH

    Links / Sources

    This page was updated on 2017-07-28