A salvage crew from Niagara Worldwide remove hemlock floor boards from the third floor of the former Mirro manufacturing plant in downtown Manitowoc. The company is stripping the maplewood and hemlock floor boards for resale from the building where thousands of people worked during the 20th century. / Sue Pischke/Gannett Wisconsin Media
“I see a horizontal forest … it is dizzying almost to see all of it,” Gauthier says of the several million board feet of maple and hemlock flooring now being harvested by work crews armed with crowbars and saws. “I just don’t see branches and leaves.”
If laid end to end, the planks — from trees as much as 300 years old — would equal roughly 2,600 miles, or more than the distance between Manitowoc and Los Angeles.
“The main objective is to keep the boards from hitting the landfill, give them a brand-new lease on life in a new home for another 100 to 200 years,” Gauthier said.