Saturday, March 11, 2017

Reclaimed Wood History: A journey back to Louisiana

Every piece of reclaimed wood has a story to tell. We recently discovered the intriguing history of reclaimed beams pulled from the heart of the blues. Unbeknownst to our purchasing team the history of the reclaimed beams continues! When the shipment of heart pine beams came to the Albany Woodworks facility, a fun discovery was made! Marked on one of the beams was the inscription "Natalbany LLYP Denkmann". After some research, it was discovered that this beam was manufactured by the Natalbany Lumber Company. Albany Woodworks resides in Albany, LA, a mere 7 miles from Natalbany, LA where the Natalbany Sawmill stood.

The Natalbany Lumber Company was founded  as a joint project of the Denkmann and the infamous Weyerhaeuser families in 1901. The Weyerhaeuser-Denkmann Lumber Company was started in the 1860s. Denkmann was renowned for his hardworking attitude. It is said that he nearly drowned in the Mississippi River trying to rescue logs and often was seen with slings on his arms still determined to work a full day. Before his death in 1905, Denkmann started the Natalbany Lumber Company. The head offices for the sawmill were located in Hammond, Louisiana (pictured below).

Photo from the book Hammond byEric W. Johnson and Catherine H. Tijerino
The beams were most likely purchased during a boom in Greenwood, Mississippi. Greenwood experienced a resurgence in prosperity when the railroad was built in the 1880's. There, they served as support beams for a building for the next 100 years until the building was demolished in 2016.

It may seem almost fateful that the beams found its way home back to Louisiana. From here, it will be milled into reclaimed heart pine flooring. From the forests of Louisiana to the famous hometown of Blues Legends and Morgan Freeman and back to its origin, it will continue on sharing its beauty, story and life.