Matt Sears examines a wooden beam of the demolished building at Market and Main streets in Chattanooga. Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press .
Thick poplar trees covered the Tennessee Valley a hundred years ago. But they were steadily cut down and used as lumber, and now the old-growth wood is nearly impossible to find.
“It’s not available in stores, and there is a limited quantity of it left in the world,” said Matt Sears, owner of Haskel Sears Design, which makes wooden furniture.
Which is why he was excited to find 25-foot-long old-growth poplar floor and ceiling joists in the old brick building on the southeast corner of Main and Market streets. The building has since been demolished to make room for a new mixed-use apartment and retail complex.
But not before Sears got the wood out.
“We pulled the building down without disturbing the valuable materials inside of it,” Sears said. “We also discovered some pine beams and some steel beams that had Woolworth’s stamped on them.”