The original acres in Sabine Parish were augmented by a series of purchases of additional timberlands within a 35 mile radius of Fisher.
Fisher was the first large sawmill in the parish and contributed immeasurably to the economy. It was was considered one of the most important sawmill towns on the Kansas City Southern Railroad.
The work was for young men. Typical crews worked “from can to can’t” six days a week. In the early days, mule teams provided the power to pull the logs from the woods to the mill. Oxen and even some cows were used.
Logs were brought in log trains and dumped in the mill pond and herded across by boat to the jack ladder into the mill. The mill was powered by a steam turbine with one long drive shaft going all the way through the plant. Machines powered by belts and pulleys were connected to the central shaft.
The 4-L Company did not build a shanty town as some lumber companies did. Fisher was not a hastily arranged village of clapboard houses but was laid out with a view of “something more substantial”, according to John Belisle, author of The History of Sabine Parish.
“The town site is among the prettiest in Sabine Parish and was platted with uniform streets and avenues. Splendid homes have been built for the employees and in numerous instances furnished with all conveniences of a city, including electric lights and waterworks.”
The village was and is bisected by the KCS Railroad with the more pretentious homes for sawmill management on one side of the tracks and employee homes of lesser proportions on the other side. Traditional box frame houses were surrounded by whitewashed and planked fences. Unique were the wooden sidewalks in front of the homes and connecting the buildings.
The village also had an interdenominational church, a depot, hospital, hotel, and schools. The company employed two capable physicians to supply the medical needs of its employees.
The company commissary provided all the needs of life from the cradle to the grave and also had a large trade with people of the surrounding country. Many rode the KCS Railroad from north and south to trade at the store, particularly on Saturdays. According to Belisle, “the store furnishes the people with nearly every luxury which a city store or market could offer” as well as staple supplies. The town was an open market for the farmer and rural citizens found a ready and profitable sale for their products.
The first half of the building was constructed in 1900 and the second half in 1914.
People came from Leesville, Natchitoches, Many, and Mansfield to see movies in the opera house, the only “picture show” in this part of the state.