Thematic Woods

The links below will take you to my pages where the woods have been grouped by themes.

Thematic Woods Links

Big Trees

Each of the fifty states maintains a registry of the biggest trees of different species.  West Virginia is no exception.  If you think you might have the biggest tree of a species, you can go on-line and “nominate” your tree.  The Department of Natural Resources staff will take four measurements – the circumference at breast height (4 ½ feet above the ground), the height of the tree, the width of the crown at its widest part and the width of the crown perpendicular to the widest.  They use a formula to use these four measurements and the BIGGEST TREE WINS!  I have three of those (English Walnut, Black Cherry, and Shellbark History).

You can find the winners (currently in 91 species) at

In addition, you can find the Mingo Oak which was declared by The Smithsonian in 1938 to be the largest and oldest white oak in the world.  It died by 1939 and I was able to secure a few boards just a couple of years ago.   If you google “Mingo Oak”, you will find all of the details of its size, its history, and its later use as lumber.


Civil War

The Philippi Covered Bridge was the site of the first land battle of the Civil War.  It is an amazing structure and has survived well over the centuries.  Lemuel Chenowith was awarded the contract to design the bridge by building a six foot scale model of his vision of the bridge, setting it across two chairs, and standing on it.  It withstood his weight and as they say, “The rest is history.”  There was only one renovation in the first hundred years of its existence.  In 1938, the wooden floor was replaced with a concrete one.  Originally the bridge was a two span bridge with a single pier in the middle of the river.  By 1938, Henry Ford has changed the world and the additional weight and wear and tear of cars and trucks started to take their toll on the wooden floor, so it was replaced with a concrete floor.  The additional weight of the concrete required two additional piers.  The original center pier is hand cut stone, but the newer ones are concrete.  There have only been two other major restorations – one in 1989 as a result of the damage done by the infamous fire and a second one in 2015-16 which was primarily cosmetic.    There was some slight damage caused by the 1985 flood but nothing requiring major renovations.

There were dozens of other battles in what is now West Virginia and these are very important to our history and culture.  Please help me find wood from some other sites of Civil War battles.

CCC - Civilian Conservation Corps

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was part of the New Deal designed to help pull the United States out of the Great Depression.   It provided employment to unmarried young men and provided training as well.  My father-in-law was a CCC worker in California.  He, like all the others, earned $30 a month, $25 of which was sent home to his family.  The very popular program ran from 1933 until 1942 when World War II and the draft provided employment for many young men.  CCC projects are found throughout WV, since there were 67 camps in West Virginia.   They built hundreds of bridges, planted millions of trees, developed more than 30 state and national parks, built thousands of cabins, picnic shelters, lodges, lakes and ponds and much more.

Colleges & Universities


Each of the fifty-five counties in WV has its own unique courthouse.   These are symbolic of the localization of the workings of governmental functions in WV.   Many of the courthouses have been maintained from the era of the Civil War and even the settlement of WV.  Many are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Covered Bridges

Did you know that at one time, there was at least one covered bridge in each of the 55 West Virginia Counties.  There are only 16 or 17 left.  I am not sure whether to count the Carrolton Covered Bridge in Barbour County.   I haven’t been to it since shortly after the fire which took most of the “covered” part of the bridge and haven’t heard any accounts as to whether it will be rebuilt as a covered bridge.  As a child and then as a WVU student, I passed the Carrolton Road hundreds and hundreds of times.  My maternal grandparents lived in Morgantown and I grew up in Buckhannon.  The Philippi-Grafton route was the only reasonable way to get there and back.  I had no idea that the “Low Clearance ¾ mile” sign was a clue to a hidden treasure.  

The Mud River (aka Milton Covered Bridge) is touted as the most heavily travelled covered bridge in WV today.  It has been moved from its original site across the Mud River to the Pumpkin Park in Milton where tens of thousands of pedestrians cross it each year giving it the bragging rights as the most heavily traveled.

Enjoy a trek through WV via the history of the bridges represented here.

National Register of Historic Places

Preserving places that are significant to our heritage is one way of ensuring future generations will be able to “see” West Virginia’s past and not just “read” about it.  The National Register of Historic Places assists in doing just that.  By placing sites on the register, West Virginia’s historic and archeological resources are protected.  We can get a glimpse into the lives of those who came before us and, by doing so, cultivate a sense of pride and respect for them.  Every historic site has a story to tell and it is The National Register of Historic Places that keeps that story alive. All the woods from locations on the register were obtained during renovations or restorations, salvaging wood which might well otherwise have ended up in dumpsters headed for landfills.


Railroads have been a strong part of Americana for centuries.  As the population of the US spread to the west, so did trains.   The depots scattered in towns and cities across our nation stand as reminders of a time past.  Trains today are almost exclusively for transporting goods rather than people, but we should not forget the impact they had on our nation.  Many of the depots, including most in my collection, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Three of my woods come from the Baltimore and Ohio Museum in Baltimore.  Two are from antique locomotives which were damaged during the President’s Day snow storm in 2003.  The third is from the historic roundhouse, which is the centerpiece of the B&O Museum.  Others represent depots from around West Virginia.