Plank was on the Sabine and East Texas Railroad between Village Mills and Tryon, forty miles north of Beaumont in northern Hardin County. The railroad was completed in the early 1880s and drew a great many lumbermen to the densely forested regions of Hardin County. The community was originally named Noble's Switch, presumably for the Noble and Shelton mill, established by 1882. In 1883 J. W. Middlebrook and Brothers bought the mill, which had given rise to a small lumbering settlement by the mid-1880s. By 1888 the plant had a sawmill, a planing mill, and five miles of tram roads and employed sixty men. The mills in Plank specialized in producing timber for railroad bridges. J. A. Bentley and E. W. Zimmerman acquired the site in 1890. Although Bentley added new boilers to the operation, the Plank mills discontinued production as economic depression and depletion of local timber took their toll. The Plank post office operated from 1885 until 1898. A few residents, however, remained in the rural community, which had an estimated population of 205 from 1970 to 2000.
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