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‘End of an era:’ Final demolition underway at Cudlipp Forestry Center

Tyler-Longview KTRE logo Tyler-Longview KTRE 1/9/2021 Jeremy Thomas
a house in the middle of a field: A photo taken in the 1930s of the Division of Forest Protection Headquarters in Lufkin. © Provided by Tyler-Longview KTRE A photo taken in the 1930s of the Division of Forest Protection Headquarters in Lufkin.

LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Named after Lufkin lumberman and industrialist Albert E. Cudlipp, the Texas A&M Forest Service started the final demolitions of the Cudlipp Forestry Center this week with completion expected within two months.

Associate Director Bill Oates said the Texas A&M Forest Service grew roots in Lufkin in the early 1920s and acquired land for a new facility in 1934. In the following years, Senator John Redditt helped secure funding from the Texas Legislature to help construct a permanent headquarters and one of two warehouses for the Division of Forest Protection at the Center.

a vintage photo of a house: The Forest Fire Protection New Warehouse in Lufkin constructed with U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps funds. Photo was taken June 12, 1936. © Provided by Tyler-Longview KTRE The Forest Fire Protection New Warehouse in Lufkin constructed with U.S. Civilian Conservation Corps funds. Photo was taken June 12, 1936.

“If College Station, which is where our state headquarters is, is the head of the agency, then certainly the Cudlipp Forestry Center for decades was the heart of the agency,” Oates said.

a large brick building with a tower in the background: Forest Products Department in Lufkin at what would later be known as the Cudlipp Forestry Center. Photo taken November 6, 1940. © Provided by Tyler-Longview KTRE Forest Products Department in Lufkin at what would later be known as the Cudlipp Forestry Center. Photo taken November 6, 1940.

Dedicated as the Cudlipp Forestry Center in 1962, East Texas Operations Department Head Jacob Donellan said the Center played a key role in forestry conservation, economy, pest control and firefighting.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Cudlipp Forestry Center Dedication that happened June 1, 1962. © Provided by Tyler-Longview KTRE Cudlipp Forestry Center Dedication that happened June 1, 1962.

“In the 60s, when the Pest Control Lab was built, it was to address the Southern Pine Beetle Outbreaks,” Donellan said. A lot of innovative techniques were designed on how to manage that.”

James Earl Rudder et al. posing for a photo: Texas A&M University Board Tour of Cudlipp Forestry Center in Lufkin in May 1968. © Provided by Tyler-Longview KTRE Texas A&M University Board Tour of Cudlipp Forestry Center in Lufkin in May 1968.

“A lot of the equipment that you see today, some of it may have gotten its start at the Center developing different sort of fire plows to help fight these wildfires,” Oates said.

But because of the age of the buildings and cost of upkeep, the Texas A&M Forest Service moved to Hudson off State Highway 94 in 2018 and now selling the land where the Cudlipp Forestry Center once stood.

“An end of an era with this facility, but not for Lufkin,” Donellan said. “We’ll continue to be present, working with our community and our partners in forestry and ensuring that the natural resources of Texas are conserved and available for all Texans.”

Bidding for construction for a state-of-the-art facility at the Hudson location is underway with hopes of completion in the coming year.

a group of people sitting at a table in a kitchen: Cudlipp Forestry Center through the years

Cudlipp Forestry Center through the years
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