Historic Sources of Our Wood
Recycled Lumber from reclaimed wood carries with it the stories of the past. Crossroads Lumber’s inventory includes timbers from historical sites throughout the western states. Read on for fascinating background on some of our inventory available to you. Visit our blog for past articles featuring our historic lumber! Click images for a popup larger view with navigation.
Ship Timbers, Washington State 1909
We are offering some large timbers that were being sailed from Washington to England in 1909.
The story we’ve heard is that the timbers were to be used to build ships for the Queen’s navy. The timbers are stamped HRM, (Her Royal Majesty?).
A storm hit off Grays Harbor, Washington and ship and cargo went down. These timbers were underwater for 90 years before they broke free, floated to the surface and washed ashore. Some farmers pulled them to safety with tractors.
Crossroads has the last load of these timbers that we know of. The material is straight, grayed. Knots are small and far between. It is very heavy due to the fact that the already green wet timber in 1909 was underwater for 90 years.
We don’t know how much salt water they took on because they were probably fresh cut, already heavy and wet when they sank. They’ve stayed straight and true with a bit of minor checking on the outside faces but no major heart checking. A few sides look almost sandblasted from years on the ocean bottom. This is awesome material.
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Warner Brothers Studios
Crossroads has a limited supply of beautiful Douglas Fir from the 1936 prop and studio building deconstructed in 2007, some of which we can remanufacture into flooring or paneling on request.
Founded in 1918 by Jewish immigrants from Poland, Warner Bros. is one of the world’s largest producers of film and television entertainment.
In 1904 the Brothers efforts focused on distribution of films. By World War I they were producing films, and in 1918 the brothers opened the Warner Bros. Studio on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. In April of 1923, with help from a loan, they formally incorporated as Warner Brothers Pictures, Incorporated.
In 2008 building 89 on the historic Warner Brothers lot was carefully deconstructed to make way for a new sound stage. Warner Bros.’ commendable commitment to recycling has preserved this high grade lumber.
These beautifully grained, Douglas Fir timbers, have been filmed in the background of notable superstars, such as John Barrymore, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogard, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Barbra Streisand, Clint Eastwood, and Rin-Tin-Tin.
You can design into you’re next project a gorgeous selection of movie making history – lumber with a story of its own to tell.
Leland Stanford Junior University Founded in 1885
Like Solomon’s temple of old, for seven years Stanford University toiled to build a magnificent group of buildings planned by the Founders: the Chemistry Building, Gymnasium, Library, and the adjacent Leland Stanford Junior Museum. The San Francisco quake of April 1906, heavily damaged these neoclassical monuments.
The new Encina Gymnasium was completed in 1915, giving Stanford athletes the necessary facility to hone their skills, mirroring the excellence of the University itself. For decades the Encina Gymnasium served the interests of Stanford Olympiads who graced its time honored grounds.
Stanford University athletes have participated in, and achieved medals in every summer game from 1908 to the 2008 games in Beijing, bringing home a total of 182 Olympic medals. Crossroads acquired timbers and decking from the deconstruction project of the Encina Gymnasium and can now offer this finely aged, nearing the century mark, tight grained lumber to you in the form of remilled flooring, paneling and timbers.
The Pacific Lumber Company (PALCO) Mill, Scotia, California
The Pacific Lumber Company (PALCO) mill in Scotia, California is the largest redwood mill ever built. PALCO was founded as a logging camp in 1863 when the town was called Forestville, and within 30 years was the largest company in Humboldt County. In the 1920’s PALCO became a pioneer in sustainable forestry practices through agreements with San Francisco’s Save the Redwoods Foundation.
PALCO was taken over by Maxaam Corporation (Wall Street Crooks) in the 1980’s. They tripled the Old Growth Redwood cut, prompting activists to camp up in some of the old growth trees to save them.
Long story shortened, by 2007 Maxaam drove PALCO into bankruptcy and devastated one of Americas greatest Lumber Companies.
In 2008 the bankruptcy court granted Mendocino Redwood Company control of PALCO holdings and MRC has put a 10 year moratorium on harvesting Old Growth Redwood while making new plans for more reasonable logging.
Crossroads has a limited stock of Old Growth Redwood from the deconstruction of some of PALCO’s 1910 buildings.
For information on wood in our inventory from other Lumber Mills, read our feature article.
Fresno Circa 1918
Beginning operations in 1904, the “House of Cribari,” winery is nationally known for a large variety of quality table wines, sparkling; aperitif and dessert wines; alter wines and vermouths.
Benjamin Cribari, the founder, first immigrated to America in 1899 from Cosenza, Italy. In 1903 the family moved from Colorado to California and the next year acquired forty acres of land in Paradise Valley, in the foothills of southern Santa Clara County where the first vines were planted.
During Prohibition the family business expanded through the sale of sacramental and medicinal wines; and the selling of grapes to individuals making their own wine. Expansion lead to acquiring, among other holdings, a Fresno winery: the famed, “Las Palmas Vineyard,” originally founded in the early eighteen nineties by Benjamin R. Woodworth.
In 2005, demolition of the Las Palmas building began and Crossroads Recycled Lumber acquired choice lumber from structures dating back almost 100 years.
The oldest buildings in San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square were already standing in 1893 when Domingo Ghirardelli’s sons purchased the entire block of property to use as the headquarters for their father’s successful chocolate business. From 1899 to 1915 the Ghirardelli family continued to add four more buildings; the Chocolate Building, the Cocoa Building, the Clock Tower, and the Power House. In the 1960’s when the Chocolate Company was sold, the prominent Mrs. William P. Roth and her son bought the factory property and restored many of the original buildings to create the tourist attraction that we recognize today. As the Square has undergone more changes in the past few years to make way for such things as seismic upgrades, luxury time share apartments, and a wine tasting area, Crossroads has received some of the beams from this 1982 inductee to the National Register of Historic Places.
Georgia Pacific Mill, Fort Bragg, California
The Georgia Pacific Mill in Fort Bragg, California was in its 117th year when the 400-acre mill site was closed in 2002. 1885 saw the establishment of the Fort Bragg Redwood Company, as well as the foundation of their Fort Bragg Railroad, built to bring logged coast redwood from surrounding areas to the sawmill. The Lumber company incorporated with several smaller lumber companies in 1893 to form the Union Lumber Company.
The growth of lumber company operations necessitated incorporation of the National Steamship Company in 1901. Steam ship was the town’s only source of material comforts such as sugar and coffee until 1911 when California Western Railroad & Navigation Company (formerly Fort Bragg Railroad) completed the 40 miles of tracks to connect with the town of Willits, from which connections could be made to San Francisco.
In 1973 Union Lumber company became Georgia Pacific after its purchase by Boise Cascade four years earlier. The mill closed in 2002, but the California Western Railroad, commonly known as the Skunk Train, from Fort Bragg to Willits is still a popular tourist attraction in Mendocino County.
For information on wood in our inventory from other Lumber Mills, read our feature article.
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin State Prison is the oldest prison in California, having opened in 1852.
The complex, located outside of San Rafael, California occupies 432 acres. The prison hospital, built in 1885 in the Italianate style, is being demolished to make way for a state-of-the-art, LEED-certified healthcare facility slated for 2010.
In the process of deconstructing the prison hospital (so that its materials could be recycled by companies like Crossroads), workers uncovered the forgotten prison Dungeon, built by inmates as California’s first public work in 1854.
Fresno Ice House
Built in 1903, the Fresno Ice House near the Santa Fe Railroad tracks is a remnant of the industrial boom that hit Fresno with the introduction of the railroad at the beginning of the last century. In the days before refrigeration and modern cooling systems, ice was an important and unique commodity in a town known for it’s hot, dry summers. The San Joaquin Ice Company (which changed its name to Fresno Consumers Ice Company the year after the Ice House was built) claimed to be the largest ice facility on the Pacific Coast and employed 2000 of Fresno’s workers in the 1920’s and 30’s. Until 1924 the Company made home deliveries by horse drawn carriages. In 1945 the Ice Company closed, and the Ice House was used to store turkeys for the Swift meat packing company next door. The Ice House building stood empty for four decades until it was declared a public safety hazard and demolished in the summer of 2008.