(ARA) – Where some might see a crumbling old barn or a dilapidated factory, Don Carlisle sees an opportunity to preserve history and beautify a home at the same time. Carlisle’s Stoddard, N.H. based company has been reclaiming antique wood and turning it into new floors for nearly 40 years.
Homeowners and builders, increasingly aware of the need to preserve the environment and America’s architectural history, have spurred the growth of the antique wood salvage business. Recycling antique wood from old buildings creates a tangible link to the past in new structures. Whenever possible, communities attempt to preserve historic structures. But if the building is beyond repair, salvaging the wood from it can be a way to preserve at least a portion of the structure’s history.
“Giving beautiful old boards a new life and a new place in history gives us a special sense of preserving a piece of Americana,” says Carlisle, whose company, Carlisle Wide Plank Floors was named North America’s “most requested supplier of reclaimed wood products” by “National Floor Trends” magazine.
Old mills, factories, barns and houses along the East Coast may no longer be useful as structures, but they can become great sources of antique woods like chestnut, heart pine and oak. The reclaimed wood is sorted, graded, dried, straightened and custom milled at Carlisle’s headquarters before being installed in new construction or renovations.
When Carlisle, second-generation owner of the company, and his team harvest antique wood, they document as much of the structure’s history as possible. “Many of our customers are interested in the history behind their floors,” he notes. “They are attracted not only to the beauty, durability and character of antique wood, but also to the connection it bears to a piece of our country’s history.”
Recently, Carlisle reclaimed antique chestnut wood from the Geurrant Family Plantation in Franklin County, Va. In the early 1700s, the king of England deeded the 3,300-acre tract to the Geurrant family, who operated an apple orchard there for nearly 250 years. The apples grown there fed U.S. soldiers in both World Wars, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.
Antique heart pine currently used in Carlisle floors was reclaimed from the former Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company building in Windsor, Vt. The building, more than 100 years old, was home to the Windsor Machine Company from 1910 to 1916. The company produced automatic lathes for the war effort during World War I. From 1916 to 1933, National Acme Company occupied the building. In 1936, Goodyear bought, reopened and expanded the building to manufacture rubber soles for shoes.
“People love the idea that the wood of their kitchen floor might once have housed thoroughbred race horses, or that their living room floor was once beneath the feet of heroic factory workers who contributed to the war effort,” Carlisle says.
Reclaimed antique wood can be used to create beautiful, durable, character-filled floors anywhere in the home. For more information on reclaimed antique wood, visit www.wideplankflooring.com, or call (800) 595-9663.
Courtesy of ARA Content