Note: No two pieces of wood look alike. Within a board, two sections can have different coloration. The wood samples below are generic swatches to give you some idea about whether the wood is dark or light. The actual woods may vary in color.
My collection of woods represents WV woods with historical or sentimental significance. As a retired educator I have a special place in my heart for schools and especially schools that are no longer in operation. As an example, I live in Taylor County and through school consolidations over the years, we only have five schools left but I have wood from 13, some of which date to the pre-school integration era.
At fairs and festivals, I use a banner that states that I have “Hundreds of woods with two stories – 1. Where did the wood come from? and 2. How in the devil did I get it?” I have become fascinated with the rich history of our great state as it is told through the amazing structures scattered across the state and the wonderful people who have given me wood from around the state. Oh, if you give me a piece of wood I want for my collection, I will make you a free pen made from that wood or others in my collection.
I have developed a fondness for wood collected from our colleges and universities, courthouses, schools, covered bridges, battlefields, and other places of note. I challenge people to pick up one of my pens, show it to me, let me read the little tag that identifies it and get prepared to hear the answers to the two questions above. It surprises even me to see an old math teacher become so fascinated with the history as told by the woods.
|Wood Source||History of Wood||Wood Sample|
|D&E - Gatehouse Poplar||At the entrance to the Davis & Elkins campus stands the Gatehouse, a quaint structure that doubled as a gatekeeper’s/caretaker’s residence during the years when the Elkins family spent their summers at Halliehurst. Today, the tiny historic building houses the D&E College Office of Public Safety.|
|D&E - Graceland Mansion Oak||Completed in 1893, Graceland is a stone mansion that, along with a 360-acre estate, served as the summer home of Senator Henry Gassaway Davis. In 1945, it was presented to D&E College by the WV Presbyterian Educational Fund and was used for student housing until 1970.|
|D&E - Halliehurst Cherry||Built (circa 1890) by Senator Stephen B. Elkins as a summer home, Halliehurst Mansion and the surrounding farm were donated to Davis and Elkins College in the late 1920s by his widow, Mrs. Hallie Davis Elkins. It now houses the Office of the President.|
|D&E - The Icehouse Poplar||Completed in 1893, Graceland is a stone mansion that, along with a 360-acre estate, served as the summer home of Senator Henry Gassaway Davis. In 1945, it was presented to D&E College by the WV Presbyterian Educational Fund and was used for student housing until 1970.|
|Helvetia Chalet Poplar||The Chalet (also known as the A-Frame) was built in the late 1940s. One of Helvetia's only stone buildings, the Chalet was constructed from sandstone block formed and molded in Helvetia. In 2015, the Chalet was torn down due to dilapidation, but some of its stone and much of its timber frames were reused throughout the village.|
|Helvetia Cheese Haus Oak||Cheesemaking has long been a tradition in Helvetia. Original settlers made cheese in their homes as a regular staple and to accompany their homemade wine. In the 1970s, when the demand for the famous Helvetia Cheese grew beyond the supply from homes, the Cheese Haus was erected and Helvetia Cheese was produced for several years to supply the local Swiss restaurant, The Hutte, and to sell to the public. Cheese is no longer produced in the Cheese Haus but the building and cheese-making equipment have been preserved.|
|Randolph County Courthouse Oak||This wood was reclaimed from the attic of the Randolph County Courthouse which was built between 1902 and 1904. It is constructed of brick and faced with stone with contrasting smooth and textured stone trim. The tower flanking the entrance stands 150 feet tall.|
|WV's Largest Black Cherry Tree||This black cherry was reclaimed from the Merkley – McNeal farm near Helvetia. The latest official measurements made in 2011 found the tree to be 189 inches in circumference (over 5 feet in diameter), 98 feet tall, and 79 feet across the crown.|