Reviving a tradition

Published 11:52 am Saturday, June 22, 2013

Soon the rumbling of logs and the whine of saw blades will again echo across the Blackwater River.

The news about Franklin Lumber LLC purchasing the inactive sawmill from International Paper is beyond exciting.

What is most notable about the announcement is that the new owners Terry Godwin and Park Taylor worked at the sawmill. These guys know the business.

The rich history of the sawmill goes back to 1887 when the Camp Family started the sawmill on its current site. The Franklin and Isle of Wight community is entrenched in this history and the fact that the mill will soon be running again resonates loudly in this area.

Through a start-up grant from the Governor’s Agricultural and Forestry Industries Development Fund, Isle of Wight County will match those funds over a five-year period. IOW Board of Supervisors Chairman JoAnn West Hall said, “We are pleased to see a local team of experienced, former IP employees partnering to bring this exciting new project to fruition.”

Public-private partnerships working together to create jobs and bring back a piece of history shows a belief in this area, in its resources and in its labor force. Investment of this kind shows forethought, as Gov. Bob McDonnell pointed out when the announcement was made that Virginia’s two largest industries are agriculture and forestry. Kudos to all involved in this hugely promising venture.

Perk Taylor said this week, “Union Camp had a tradition of commitment to quality lumber manufacturing and Franklin Lumber intends to continue to honor the tradition.” The Camp brothers, we think, would be pleased.