LAQUIN—THE LAST OF THE TOWNSHIP
Laquin, the last surviving town in Barclay township, is rapidly going the way of its predecessors. Although at one time it had a population of about 2,000, it now has only a few inhabited houses. Most of the others long since have been torn down and moved away, many of them to Towanda and vicinity. In ten years more, unless something unforeseen happens, this once thriving, lively town will practically have disappeared.
The only thing that keeps it still alive is the Barclay Chemical Works and its operations probably will continue only from three to five years more.
Among the buildings still standing and in use are the superintendent’s home, as fine a house as could be desired anywhere; several other well built residences on Main street; the large company store where nine men at one time were kept busy and only two are needed now; the church; school house; chemical company buildings, and a few scattered homes of workmen.
Only parts of the cellar wall are still standing where Harry Bull once conducted a large three-story hotel with a thriving trade. The baseball park where hundreds once gathered for intensely interesting games, is so overgrown with high weeds and grass that it would be difficult to find if one did not know the exact spot to look. Yet Laquin not many years ago was one of the busiest towns in Bradford county and furnished much of the business for the Susquehanna & New York Railroad which came about through an extension of the old Barclay railroad to Marsh Hill Junction for connections with the Pennsylvania railroad soon after the boom at Laquin started.
This picture shows the store at Laquin. All the pictures for this chapter were furnished by S. D. Barclay, who also provided much of the data for the story of the town.
S. D. Barclay, vice president and general manager at Laquin, has kindly looked up the old records and briefly traced the history of the activities at Laquin for the conclusion of this sketch. Mr. Barclay is a son of the late W. L. Barclay, one of the founders of the town. His account followsl:
In April, 1902, the Laquin Lumber Company started operations in the lumber business in Barclay township by establishing headquarters with a store and office in the Mallory building at Foot of Plane. Work on the
Upper photo shows Laquin as it was in its prime. The large building near the bottom of the picture is the company store which is still in operation. Across the street from it may be seen the three-story hotel, now torn down. At the top are the smokestacks of the chemical works which is still in operation. A close-up view of the chemical works is shown in the picture at the bottom.
mill and the building of the town started immediately on the site that is now Laquin. In December, 1902, the new company moved into their own quarters at Laquin.
Along with building the mill and town, much work was done in the woods building railroads and getting ready to take out logs. The lumber that was used in building the Laquin mill was sawed by Lewis Brothers at Carbon Run and hauled from there by wagon. In May, 1903, the mill started to saw lumber and the new industry was really going.
Barclay Brothers, who were G. B. Barclay, C. F. Barclay and W. L. Barclay, of Sinnemahoning, Pa., and T. H. Quinn & Company who were M. F. Quinn, T. H. Quinn and F. S. Sherman of Straight, Pa., joined forces and formed the new company. The name of Laquin was derived by taking the last syllable of Barclay and addign Quinn, dropping out the "y" and one "n."
The company was named after the town. This company operated the mill under contract for the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company of Williamsport, Pa., which owned the land, plant and buildings. Construction was done by the Laquin Lumber Company for the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company, and all work was done under the supervision of W. L. Barclay, general superintendent, who died April 17, 1928. Laquin Lumber Company operated the saw mill, store and railroads from the time the town started until May 1, 1913. Actual sawing under Laquin Lumber Company ceased early in 1912 and the mill was shut down for about a year. On May 1, 1913, the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company took over the operation of its own plant and operated it until the job was done. When the Laquin Lumber Company finished operating, the store name was changed to the Laquin Store Company and this company is still doing business at Laquin and will continue there as long as the Chemical plant is in operation.. T. I. Wilcox, who is manager for the Laquin Store Company started with the Laquin Lumber Company in its store at Foot of Plane, May 26, 1902.
The Laquin Lumber Company employed approximately 160 men in the mill, machine shop and railroads, and several hundred more men were in the various camps in the woods.
After the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company took over the mill and railroad operation, it continued the operation until the timber was sawed out in 1925. The last log put through the Laquin mill was on August 6, 1925. This log was put on the carriage at 2:12 and sawed up at 2:14 p.m. When this log was placed on the carriage the whistle was tied down and left tied until the lumber was finished and on the way out to the yard. As this lumber passed through the mill with the sound of the whistle and the sound of the empty mill running at full speed, people who were there realized that another job was done and another chapter was being written in the history of Barclay township.
While the saw mill was being built in 1903, Blaisdell Brothers of New York built a plant known as the Standard Wood Company, for the manufacture of kiln dried kindling wood. This plant used hemlock mill waste from the saw mill. This wood mill was run by contract first by R. Lorem and later by W. F. Beers who operated it until it was shut down in 1918. This plant employed about 70 people, half of them being women and girls who bundled the kindling wood.
At the same time in 1903 and 1904, Fay Burroughs built a plant known as the Pennsylvania Hub and Veneer Company for the manufacture of wagon hubs and brewer’s chips. The plant employed about 15 persons, five of whom were girls who sorted the chips. This plant was purchased by the Laquin Lumber Company in 1907 and operated until 1913 when it was shut down. The timber used by the Hub Company was purchased from the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company.
In 1903-1904 the Brooklyn Cooperage Company built a plant known as the Pennsylvania Stave Company for the manufacture of barrel staves and heads to be used for making sugar barrels. This plant employed about 85 or 90 men and operated until 1919. Their timber was purchased from the Central Pennsylvania Lumber Company.
In 1904-1905 the Laquin Lumber Company built a plant known as the Barclay Chemical Company for the manufacture of charcoal, wood alcohol and acetate of lime. This plant employs about 55 men at the plant and many more in the woods. Their raw material was hard wood mill waste from the saw mill and stave mill and wood cut from the waste timber after the logging operations and some standing green timber.
In 1913 when the Laquin Lumber Company stopped mill operations the Chemical Company was incorporated and continued to operate until 1926 when the plant was rebuilt to make acetic acid instead of acetate of lime and has been operating this way for two years. It will continue for about three to five years. N. A. Cranmer, who is general foreman, started to work for the Laquin Lumber Company on April 1, 1903, and has been with this opportunity since that time.
When shall we all meet again?
Oft shall glowing hope expire,
Oft shall wearied love retire,
Oft shall death and sorrow reign,
Ere we shall all meet again.
Though in distant lands we sigh,
Parched beneath a hostile sky;
Though the deep between us rolls,
Friendship shall unite our souls.
Still in Fancy’s rich domain
Oft shall we all meet again.
When the dreams of life are fled,
When its wasted lamps are dead;
When in cold oblivion’s shade,
Beauty, power, and fame are laid;
Where immortal spirits reign,
There shall we all meet again.