Monday, September 8, 2014

Barn Wood: The wood that almost wasn't.

The area we live in, a suburb of Atlanta, has changed a lot in the past 25 years. Like, a LOT. It’s not the same place it was when Ken and I grew up. There aren't many open fields left. It’s mostly businesses and neighborhoods and concrete. And more people. And it wasn't. Before.

Atlanta is known for having the native-born people far outnumbered by the transplants. But we've lived here our whole lives, and we know a lot of other people that have, too. So this story is for them. And us. But I have to start from the beginning:

Fort Daniel isn't just the name of an elementary school in Gwinnett County, and Hog Mountain isn't just the name of a road (or two). Fort Daniel was an actual military fort built in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries on Hog Mountain, which was the southern boundary of the Native American hunting grounds.  This area is approximately located on Scenic Highway and in between Old Peachtree Road and Gravel Springs Road. The fort was rebuilt in 1814, but there is some speculation as to whether it was completely rebuilt from the ground up, or rebuilt using the existing structures. For our purposes, it just matters that it’s old.

Recently a barn-type structure located near our home was being demolished. A sign invited anyone that wanted to take whatever wood they liked. And so, being us, we started the process of removing wood.  During our visits there to load up our truck, we talked with the landowner, Mr. Boyce, a few times. He was having the structure removed so that his two sons could build their homes there. Someone was supposed to come demolish the building and haul it away, but those plans didn't work out. And, it turns out, this wasn't just a barn. Mr. Boyce bought the property 25+ years ago, and he was told that at some point in time someone had moved one of the old barracks from Fort Daniel there, and it had been used as a storage barn ever since.

Ken carefully removing pieces of wood from the structure. At one point he was balancing
on a rotten tree stump to get the perfect pieces for me.

This wood that we got, is, at youngest, from the early nineteenth century. Each piece of wood is stunning. On the sides that were exposed to the elements you can see the faint, original green color, places where a “newer” (which may be decades old, as well) whitewash color shows. Mostly there is the much sought-after silver gray color. On the back, the sides that were not exposed, the wood is rich and brown. It is a color that you can only get with time, and a lot of it. This color is enough to move you me emotionally.
This is my favorite piece of wood that we got. Isn't it beautiful?! I'm saving it for something special.

We've taken some of the wood that we collected that weekend and added it to a china cabinet that we've customized. The wood looks weathered and beautiful, but don’t mistake it as fragile and brittle. This wood is rock hard and strong. It has lasted a very, very long time. This wood is our history. It’s special. And it was almost trash.

Here's the china cabinet! I was trying to avoid my reflection, so you have to see it from an angle. ;-)
Ready to be filled with special things!
Ahhh! THIS WOOD is a dream!
This piece is currently available and can be seen by appointment. Use the icons at the top of the page to contact us. 
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To learn more about Fort Daniel, Georgia, visit these websites:

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