The Joinery Co.

RECLAIMED CHESTNUT FLOORING & MILLWORK

THE GREATEST LOSS TO AMERICA

In Colonial times, chestnut was preferred for log cabin foundations, fence posts, flooring, and caskets. Later, railroad ties, telephones, and telegraph poles were of chestnut. Many of these are still in use today. Chestnut once dominated a significant part of the eastern U.S. forests. At nearly four billion, the tree was among the largest, tallest, and fastest growing there. 

The Chestnut grew rapidly and attained huge sizes. It was often an outstanding feature in both urban and rural landscapes. Chestnut was rot-resistant and straight-grained. And, it was suitable for furniture as well as fencing, and all forms of building materials. In Colonial times, log cabin foundations, fence posts, flooring, and caskets were of Chestnut. Also, it served as railroad ties as well as both telephone and telegraph poles. Many of these items are still in use today.

Chestnut was a significant contributor to rural agricultural economies everywhere it grew. Hogs and cattle were fattened for the market with them. Nut-ripening and gathering closely coincided with the holiday season. Late 19th-century newspapers featured articles about “railroad cars overflowing with chestnuts to be sold fresh or roasted” in major cities.

All of this began to change at the turn of the 20th century with the introduction of a deadly blight from Asia. In less than 50 years, a pathogen accidentally introduced from Asia brought the Chestnut`s invaluable role to a dead stop. There was no new chestnut lumber sold in the U.S. for decades. And, the bulk of its 20-millon pound annual nut crop was gone.
 
But, despite its demise as a lumber and nut crop species, the American Chestnut is not extinct. The blight cannot kill the underground root system. The terrible pathogen that brought Chestnut to its knees cannot compete with soil microorganisms present in its soilStump sprouts grow vigorously in cutover or disturbed sites where there is plenty of sunlight. But, they inevitably are killed by the blight. This cycle of death and rebirth continues to kept the species alive even though it is considered functionally extinct.
 
Today, American Chesnut is known only as Wormy Chestnut. Also, it is only available as a reclaimed specie. However, research has been  underway for many years to reinstate the American Chesnut to its former glory.

CAN CHESTNUT MAKE A COMEBACK?

Over 100 years ago, almost 4 billion American chestnut trees grew in the eastern U.S. They dominated the forests from Maine to Florida. Timber sawn from these massive trees helped build the entire country. They were used in everything from homes to railroad ties. The massive chestnuts fed  both animals and people. Then, unexpectly, about 100 years ago,  a vicious asian pathogen wiped out virtually all of them.

However, scientist are now saying that Chestnut could make a comeback, thanks to modern science and genetic engineering. And, there are a great many people that believe in that possibility. The American Chestnut Foundation along will a growing number of volunteers are making strong efforts every day to help the Chestnut regenerate and re-enter the American marketplace.

HAVE QUESTIONS? WE'RE HERE TO HELP!

Give us a call at (252) 823-3306

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