Antique Wood Salvaged During Demolition of Iconic 1800s Brewery Building

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Pioneer Millworks recently salvaged antique wood from an old building in Syracuse, NY. The three-story structure dated back to 1865 when it was owned by former Syracuse Mayor Thomas Ryan and once brewed Ryan’s Pure Beer. The rescued wood includes old growth, antique Heart Pine (link) and white pine timbers, estimated around 400 years old.

Pioneer Millworks salvages Heart Pine timbers from 1800s brewery building demolition.

Pioneer Millworks recently salvaged antique wood from an old building in Syracuse, NY. The three-story structure dated back to 1865 when it was owned by former Syracuse Mayor Thomas Ryan and once brewed Ryan’s Pure Beer. The rescued wood includes old growth, antique Heart Pine and white pine timbers, estimated around 400 years old. As is typically the case with building demolition, the wood is considered of little value because of its age and signs of wear and is often sent to landfills or ground to saw dust. When in fact, tighter growth rings, greater stability, rich patinas, and one-of-a-kind character marks make this wood prized for flooring, furniture, and beams.

“When you stop and think about the history of this wood, you begin to see why it’s so prized: these timbers were cut in the mid 1800s from trees that probably started to grow in the 1600s. Now, after 145 years supporting this historical structure, these Heart Pine and white pine timbers will begin a new life as eco-friendly flooring, paneling, and millwork for residential and commercial structures,” says Jered Slusser, wood expert at Pioneer Millworks.

With an abundant water supply, Syracuse was home to many breweries through the 1800s and 1900s. During its heyday, the timbers of this building housed several brewing companies including Haberle Brewing Co., Onondaga Brewery, Ryan’s Consumer Brewery and produced beers such as the Onondaga Lager. The Lager was distributed throughout the eastern US via the Erie Canal. A large electric sign showing a bottle of beer emptying into a schooner resided on the roof of the building and was an icon for the city. Even as it awaited deconstruction the combination of art and industry still glimmered in the building through the exposed antique wood timbers and steel beams and original Beaux Arts medallions on the exterior brick.

Pioneer Millworks is renowned for their efforts in reclaiming antique wood from old industrial and agrarian buildings. The timber used to build these structures come from the same old growth forests that greeted our country's forefathers. Today, most of these forests are gone. And in some cases, mature species like Chestnut are actually extinct having succumbed to blights early in the 20th century. Pioneer Millworks has an in house antique wood acquisition team that works with demolition companies across the nation to recover the wood, keeping pieces of history from being buried in a landfill, ground up, or burned. Once at the mill, the timbers will be scanned for nails and other metal artifacts, then planed into planks for tongue and groove flooring (solid or engineered), ceilings or other hand crafted woodwork.

Reclaimed Heart Pine and other sustainable wood products will be on display at the Pioneer Millworks booth during the 2010 Hospitality and Design Expo, May 19-21 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

As the name reflects, Pioneer Millworks was a pioneer in the salvaged and reclaimed antique wood industry. They’re proud to give old wood new life as flooring, millwork, cabinetry, and more. They fully source and manufacture in the USA in Oregon and New York, in a way that’s healthy for you, their employees, and the environment. Their products offer ecologically conscious homeowners, designers, and builders an alternative to non-sustainable flooring without compromising quality, character, or selection. Pioneer Millworks is FSC certified and Green America approved. All of their products are LEED point eligible.

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Jennifer Young
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