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.
“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.
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.
“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.”
“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.