Thursday, May 26, 2016

Reclaimed Treasures: 150 Year Old Cypress Sharecropper Trunk

A view inside the home of Albany Woodworks' President! 

Reclaimed flooring, heart pine beams, recycled windows, recycled doors.... You name it and the home of the President of Albany Woodworks has it. Always a believer in sustainability and recycling, Richard and Judith Woods built their home using as many recycled building materials and home furnishings as possible. This series, Reclaimed Treasures, focuses on various reclaimed features of the Woods' home and the interesting stories behind them!

Antique Cypress Trunk
Today's blog features a 150 + year old reclaimed cypress trunk! Gifted to Richard and Judith Woods by a close family friend, the trunk has resided in the living room of the Woods' household for over 40 years.  The friend was Mr. John Batson of Batson Lumber Company, who later helped Albany Woodworks get its start. He found the trunk in an abandoned sharecroppers house on land he had purchased in the early 70's in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. Sharecropping was a popular method of farming from the 1870's til its end in the 1950's. 
Sharecroppers House Exterior Example

(Above) An example of a sharecroppers home in Lake Providence, LA.

Original Cast Iron Handles
The trunk is a testament to the virgin growth cypress forests of the days past. The sides and top of the trunk are one solid board measuring a gigantic 20" wide. Out of curiosity, Richard and Judith had the LSU Forestry Department date the wood used for its construction. The results astounded them. The cypress tree that was cut to make this piece was 4,000 years old! The trunk came with original cast iron handles. It would have been of great value to the sharecropper who once owned it. 


Sharecroppers House Interior Example
As seen in the example of a sharecropper house (left), the homes were sparsely furnished. It would have been the main place for the sharecropper and his family to store their few belongings and valuables. No one truly knows when this antique chest was first built or how many families have passed it down, but it will maintain its place in the Woods' family for generations to come.