There are hundreds of historic homes and sites in this country that are open to the public as museums. Many are run by the National Park Service in their 400+ units around the country. With a finite budget they have to think creatively when a building needs to be constructed or repaired and in many cases reclaimed or recycled wood is the ideal solution to their problems.
Let’s face it, if you go into an old home one of the first things you will look at is the wood floor. In many cases it will be one of the first things that a tour guide will point out. This wood is old, some of it could be original to the home so it could be 200 years old or more. Unfortunately with potentially hundreds or thousands of people walking over the floor everyday floorboards will need to be replaced. To match the historic look and feel going to the local big box store is out of the question. Reclaimed wood is the way to go!
Reclaimed wood in many cases is about the same age as any wood being replaced so it will be accurate to the period. After all, if the floor is made of chestnut wood reclaimed wood is the only way to bring that into the home. This is especially popular with many porches which will be exposed to the elements as well as deal with heavy foot traffic. The grain, species and grade are important when selecting the replacement wood and the type of wood will depend on the location.
The National Park Service is also a leader in using recycled wood. Log cabins and wooden structures dot many parks as display pieces. When they need to be built or rebuilt there is no point in buying new wood, recycled wood will work just as well. Sometimes a structure needs to be built to emphasize something. At Andersonville National Historic Site in Georgia part of the stockade was rebuilt to give visitors a feel of what it was like to be a prisoner of war there during the Civil War. Rather than cutting down hundreds of trees to replicate the original yellow pine stockade the National Park Service just acquired old utility poles instead. It blends in perfectly and by treating the wood it will last well into the future allowing generations of visitors to experience what being a POW during the Civil War was like. The best part is that the utility poles are also made of yellow pine!