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While traveling across the country to find rare antique wood for an upscale renovation project here in Boston, owner and lumber buyer Arnie Jarmak unearthed a serious treasure trove of historic wood tied to several important moments in our nations history. From a textile mill in the Midwest, to the world’s largest chewing gum factory in Chicago, and even the birthplace of U.S. copper industry right here in New England. We’ve got the wood that built a nation… and this is it’s story.

324Girl weaving at the Lincoln Cotton Mill. Evansville, Indiana. 1908. Lewis Hines. Image courtesy of Library of Congress.

“If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn’t need to lug around a camera.” -Lewis Hines

In 1908, Lewis Hines captured the image above of a young girl working at the Lincoln Cotton Mills in Evansville, Indiana. His photographs tell the story of a life of hardships for many factory workers, mostly young women and children, in the early 1900’s. Three years later in 1911, a yellow brick building, in the classic revival style of the era, was constructed at 333 Summer Street, then in the heart of Boston’s burgeoning Wool Row District. While in Chicago, another industrial mega-complex was built by WM Wrigley Jr. Company to manufacture its signature gum flavors like Spearmint, and Double-mint. Located hundreds of miles apart, and constructed for seemingly different purposes, these three buildings today provide a unique story about our past, present, and future as it relates to the heritage of industry in America.

325Lincoln Cotton Mill. Evansville, Ind. c.1919

 

Over the years, these buildings would be transformed to serve many other purposes than originally intended, their heavy timber and brick construction adapted to each new use, until their industries, most likely manufacturing, ultimately dried up. Last December, in the midst of major renovations to restore the buildings aging structure, 333 Summer Street was ravaged by a devastating 8-alarm fire, destroying many of the original old-growth heavy timbers, that were in otherwise sound condition, even after 100 years of use. Within just a few months, in the summer of 2014, after many years of neglect and waning use the Wrigley Gum Factory (shown below), and the Lincoln Cotton Mill were demolished.

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The Jarmak Corporation:
Premium reclaimed lumber from historic buildings throughout the country.

It is the wood, rather fittingly, that is the unbreakable bond linking these historic industrial era buildings together. The Jarmak Corporation will continue diligently with efforts to scour the country in search of the finest historic reclaimed wood out there. In this case, matching the existing look of the original heavy timbers was a key element in the redesign and development of over 45,000 square feet of commercial space for our clients at 333 Summer Street, now the heart of Boston’s tech-savvy Innovation District. This required hundreds of high quality, old-growth beams, and many thousands of square feet of premium decking that was milled to the exact same sizes and specifications of the original timbers and wood over 100 years ago!

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In the end, the wood required to complete this project would come from several amazing and truly historic sites across the country, including timbers from Evansville, Indiana and Chicago, as well as a former Russel Wear Athletics factory in Alabama, and to top it off, wood saved from the birthplace of the U.S. copper industry in Canton, Massachusetts. It was there, in 1801 that the famed “midnight rider” and silversmith Paul Revere successfully rolled copper for the first time in America, effectively establishing one of the most vital industries to this country (more on this to come!).

Now you know the story of our premium reclaimed wood. So what’s yours?

It’s okay, you can share with us too! Just click on the share links below to spread the word of on facebook, twitter, instagram, and any other social media sites you’re connect to about the benefits of using reclaimed wood. With a little innovation, and a lot of hard work, we’d like to think we’re helping to start a new revolution in America, built very literally from the decaying, but far from dead, buildings of old.

Every day we’re working with architects, designers, builders, and developers to ensure that the legacy, the beauty, and the history contained within every piece of premium reclaimed wood we save can be shared in the buildings of tomorrow.