Timber was one of our first industries. Where I lived you could go to the next town without getting out of the woods. No more, that timber is gone. Where we bought apples, peaches, pears, they too are gone.
If one could fly over you could see north-south, east-west, ‘cause it looked like a giant checkerboard, because there were hazelnuts, persimmons, sumacs, wild cherries separating properties. They are gone too. The wildlife noticed there they sought refuge and food. Even the grown in 80-acre long meandering creek is gone. They stair-stepped and planted fescue and Sudan grass.
The Atlas Power Co. bought 1,500 acres there during the First World War. They cut the timber and were gone like a cool summer breeze. So my dad’s stepfather’s farm from Atlas was cut from native timber in 1924.
The farmers were the first market; then came the stave mills. The demand from both was oak. New markets came. They now cut what grew: tupelos, cottonwoods, sycamores, etc. They banded four footers together and 18-wheeled to Chicago, made pallets for freezers, iceboxes, washers, the like. They sold the bark for mulch and slabs and sawdust for particleboard. No more free firewood. The demand peaked for building, packaging, the throwaway industry, to name a few.
The population was 114 million when Dad’s stepfather bought his; it’s 300 million plus now. The demand will always be there. Will Rogers said, “There ain’t no more.”
Joe Fontana, Roxana