QUINCY, MA ~ Early 1900s
At one point the second-largest shipbuilding facility in the United States, the Fore River Shipyard employed tens of thousands of workers, produced hundreds of ships, and may have been the origin of the famous ‘Kilroy Was Here’ tag. In 2017, one of the last original buildings at the yard was demolished, yielding old-growth longleaf pine that will make fantastic flooring, paneling, or tabletops.
They call it “The Mack”. In 2014, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s architectural masterpiece in Glasgow, Scotland, was badly damaged in a fire. This past year, we’ve been privileged to provide reclaimed Heart Pine beams for the restoration of the building.
Reclaimed wood comes in many shapes and sizes, and the nomenclature used to describe it can be downright confusing for first-time buyers. Often, lumber companies selling reclaimed wood use varied terms to describe their reclaimed or salvaged lumber as marketing strategies, to disguise low-quality product, as e-advertising tactics, or simply to be as accurate as possible. This blog post makes sense of many of these terms, helping you navigate the reclaimed wood market and buy what you actually want.
CONWAY, MA ~ 19th Century
The first-ever Massachusetts tornado to be recorded in February destroyed this 19th-century Conway barn. Although most of the barn’s structural timbers were destroyed, we were able to salvage the two-inch thick reclaimed American chestnut decking and structural floor joists. We’re sad that the barn was destroyed but we’re excited that some of its antique wood will be recycled.
Congratulations! You’re the lucky owner of a reclaimed wood floor. We’ll give you the good news first: Reclaimed hardwood floors will last for hundreds of years. The bad news: You’re probably the one who has to keep them clean. Luckily, maintaining a reclaimed wood floor is no different from cleaning a new wood floor. Knowing how to clean your wood floors can be broken down into two important steps: preventing initial wear and damage to your floor and cleaning the finish.
HINGHAM, MA ~ 1942
Longleaf Lumber recently reclaimed large Douglas fir timbers from a World War II-era building that played a major role in the U.S. war effort. The structure, which was part of the naval shipyard in Hingham, Massachusetts, was recently razed to make way for a residential development – part of an ongoing revitalization of the old Hingham Navy Yard.
189 Winnisimmet Street once housed the Post Office and Odd Fellows Home in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Built in 1906, it was one of the few buildings in the area to survive the great Chelsea Fire of 1908, which burned 350 acres and left 15,000 people homeless. Today, 189 Winnisimmet is home to the Chelsea Theater Works and the Apollinaire Theatre Company, a year-round, award-winning professional theater. On the first floor of the building are the newly opened BlackBox and Children’s Theaters.
HOLYOKE, MA ~ 1855
Originally settled as an agricultural community, Holyoke, Massachusetts soon became one of New England’s chief centers of industry. As industry developed within the United States and the 1845 railroad expansion brought more travelers through the area, interest developed in the natural formation of the river at Holyoke. With the Connecticut River being the largest in New England and the bend in the river at this location being the site of the largest drop of 57 feet, the potential for a canal system at this site and the water power it could generate became apparent.
Last year, we put together a list of our favorite books about reclaimed wood. Now, it’s time to share a few of our favorite titles for younger readers. These 15 books are all age-appropriate for young children and prominently feature trees. Let us know what titles we should add to the list!
LOWELL, MA ~ 1911
The Picker Building was one of the last structures built as part of the Massachusetts Cotton Mills complex in Lowell, Massachusetts – birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. Today, the Picker Building is one of Lowell’s final mill structures to be renovated for alternate use. The brick walls will soon contain 70 new apartment units for moderate- and low-income families.
There’s a brand new visitor center at Walden Pond! The state reservation in Concord, Massachusetts began construction of this ambitious project in the spring of 2015, and a handful of the pond’s 700,000 annual visitors celebrated the grand re-opening this past September. The new building is universally accessible and includes exhibits, a bookstore, offices, meeting rooms, and public bathrooms. The newly landscaped grounds are home to massive wooden benches crafted from salvaged live oak shipbuilding timbers.
BOSTON, MA ~ 1899
170 years ago, 150 State Street was waterfront property. The address would have been located on a thriving wharf where sailing ships loaded and unloaded cargo on a long pier and merchants, tradesmen, and shoppers bustled about a lively market. Today, 150 State Street is on solid ground in the middle of Boston’s Financial District. Wood reclaimed from this building is about as ‘Boston’ as it gets.
EVERETT, PA ~ 18th-19th Century
Like many barns, this beautiful, utilitarian building was constructed with beams from a still older barn that came before it. Resting on farm land in Everett, Pennsylvania, for well over 100 years, the Smith Barn has now been carefully dismantled and its timbers prepared for re-milling into reclaimed wood flooring.
Biddeford, ME ~ 1851
The stately Pepperell Mill campus in Biddeford, Maine was once a bustling manufacturing complex producing linens, blankets, and towels. Today, the mills have been renovated to make room for apartments, businesses, and a community events space. Longleaf Lumber was lucky to reclaimed Heart Pine beams from the demolition and renovation activities at this Southern Maine landmark.
Jeff Kinney runs a bookstore, coffee shop, and events space – all in the same award-winning and reclaimed wood-filled building. He is also author of the venerated Diary of a Wimpy Kid illustrated children’s book series. The entrepreneur’s Plainville, MA mixed-use project – which we are proud to have played a role in – was a labor of love for his family from 2012-2015.
Capo is a brand-spanking new Italian restaurant in the traditionally Irish-American neighborhood of South Boston. Outfitted with handsome reclaimed wood decor, this sibling to neighborhood restaurants Loco and Lincoln is home to rustic Italian and Italian-American cuisine.
Longleaf Lumber’s reclaimed Factory Maple flooring has been awarded a 2016 Association of Retail Environments (ARE) prize for best retail flooring. This prestigious international award was presented to architect Bergmeyer Associates, Inc. at a March 22nd Las Vegas awards show.
One of the great things about domestic reclaimed wood is variety. As a reclaimed flooring mill, Longleaf has access to wood of the present and the past; from species that both thrive in the modern forest and are nearly extinct. A downside to this variety is the difficulty of choice. This guide helps our customers navigate the world of reclaimed wood and understand what key elements of different woods are necessary for their specific project.
Melrose, MA ~ 1900
The Boston Rubber Shoe Company once churned tens of thousands of shoes per day out of its Melrose and Malden factories. Today, the dilapidated buildings are being renovated and repurposed for housing. During the reconstruction project, Longleaf was lucky to reclaim some of the finest Heart Pine beams we’ve sawn since the 1990s.