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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

Photo: Weidman Sawmill –1960

In 1960, Weidman Sawmill was at its height of operation with more than 100 employees between its logging and sawmill operation. J. Stanley Weidman hailed from a family in Michigan that operated five sawmills there. He came to Southwest Colorado after the Depression and established a lumber-mill along the Piedra River. Weidman later moved it to the banks of the Animas River, just south of Durango in 1946. A siding was built from the nearby Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad tracks to the mill, giving Weidman a relatively inexpensive way to ship lumber. In 1959, the Forest Service reported that the San Juan National Forest produced 54.5 million board feet of commercial timber. Almost all of it was processed at this lumber mill. When the railroad abandoned its service from Durango to Alamosa in 1967, the business lost the ability to ship by rail. J. Stanley’s son, John, was the manager until he died in 1968. It was sold to John Hudspeth the next year. The sawmill operated under the new ownership through the 1970s but was completely shut down and dismantled by the early 1980s. Today, the Rivergate Lofts and Animas Surgical Hospital are located on the site. Sawmill Road is named in honor of this local landmark.<br><br>Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org