Chestnut Woodworking & Antique Flooring Co. LLC has been manufacturing floors out of antique lumber since 1985. One of our most popular floors is the rare and beautiful American chestnut. Once a plentiful hardwood in the eastern forest, the trees are now all but gone due to a blight introduced from Asia.
The devastating blight was first discovered at the Bronx Zoo in 1904. By the 1920s, the airborne disease had spread throughout the entire natural range of the American chestnut tree. This devastated the species from Maine to Georgia.
While salvaging an old chestnut ice house, a farmer told us an interesting story about the history of the American chestnut trees. He said there were so many chestnut trees, around four billion at one time, that a squirrel could jump from Maine to Georgia, chestnut tree to chestnut tree without ever touching the ground.
He went on to tell me how important of a tree it was. The durable, rot-resistant chestnut wood was used for homes, barns, fences, railroad ties, furniture and musical instruments. In addition, the farmers also used the bark to tan leather. The abundant nuts were used for feeding the livestock.
Luckily, researchers say the magnificent American chestnut will return.
To find out what’s being done and how you can help, visit the American Chestnut Foundation http://WWW.ACF.ORG
For now we can enjoy the aged beauty of the salvaged American chestnut.