Old, Virgin Growth Lumber and Alternatives

By Doug Hanna, Principal, S+H Construction, Inc.

Having worked on old homes and structures in New England for the last 40 years, we continue to be impressed with the durability of the lumber used before the 20th century. Most of the exterior trim installed in the 17th, 18th and most of the 19th century came from virgin timber. These were trees that had grown close together, undisturbed, sometimes for centuries. The result of this "slow growth " was a tree with much tighter ring patterns, which created a harder, stronger piece of lumber that had more resistance to rot and insect damage. One of the most remarkable common places we still see this type of trim lumber is in window sills. Though window sills take a beating, and they might look worn and rutted, many sills continue to remain almost completely sound, sometimes centuries after they were installed.

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Old, Virgin Growth Lumber and Alternatives

Local Historical Commissions - - On Your Team

You just purchased an historic house in an historic neighborhood. You have planned some needed improvements to the building and now your contractor or designer informs you that you need to meet with the local historical commission in order to get these changes approved. What is going on here? Isn’t this your property? What right does some unelected commission have to tell you what you can do with your own property?

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 Local Historical Commissions - - On Your Team

Cambridge Historical Marker Returns to Original Location

On April 30th, S+H Construction assisted the Cambridge Historical Society and placed a historical granite marker, from the year of 1880, to its original location after being uncovered at a construction site, where it previously sat for 66 years. The marker was inscribed in 1880 by the city of Cambridge as a part of their 250th anniversary of their founding. The marker was at the corner of an 1869 building at Dunster and Mount Auburn and it marked the site of the first meeting house erected in 1632. When the building was demolished in 1929, the marker was dumped in a landfill near Fresh Pond. In 1947 the Continental Can Company built a factory on top of the marker and there it sat for 66 years until its discovery this year at the Fawcett Street construction site.

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Cambridge Historical Marker Returns to Original Location

Historic Roxbury Puddingstone - True Native Stone

One of the most beautiful and interesting local historic materials found in the greater Boston built environment is what is called Roxbury Puddingstone. This is a native sandstone inlaid with granite pebbles and fragments of quartz and then metamorphisized into something hard enough to build with. Historically, it was used to construct masonry walls and foundations throughout the Boston area and quarried in Roxbury, Brookline, Brighton and Newton. In many cases, quarried is too formal a word, as the stone used was often blasted out of the building site itself, in the process of excavation. 

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Historic Roxbury Puddingstone - True Native Stone