Peeling Back The Bark

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    By Lauren Bissonette on June 27, 2022
  • Wood in the Space Age: Forest Products at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair

    By Eben Lehman on April 21, 2022

    On April 21, 1962, the Century 21 Exposition (better known as the Seattle World’s Fair) opened to the public. From a vacation home in Florida, President Kennedy pressed a telegraph key to officially start the fair. The Seattle World’s Fair is best remembered for the Space Needle, which became an enduring Seattle landmark, as well…

  • The ‘Ace Photographer’ and Paul Bunyan: Berenice Abbott’s Red River Lumber Company Photos

    By Eben Lehman on April 13, 2022

    In February 1944 a new photograph exhibition opened at a San Francisco gallery, featuring a new set of images by the talented American photographer Berenice Abbott (1898-1991). The location where she had shot was a radical departure for the photographer known for working in urban settings: a lumber mill in a small town in northern…

  • The Bureau of Land Management at Seventy-Five: Who Will Celebrate with Them?

    By Guest Contributor on March 29, 2022

    In 2021, the Bureau of Land Management turned 75 but with little if any fanfare. Historian James R. Skillen, who’s written extensively about the BLM, reflected upon its history. This article appears in the 2021 issue of Forest History Today. July 16, 2021, was the Bureau of Land Management’s seventy-fifth anniversary, but celebration was probably…

  • From the First Tree Farm to the President’s Front Lawn: Remembering the 1961 National Christmas Tree

    By Eben Lehman on December 21, 2021

    The chosen 75-foot Douglas fir on the Clemons Tree Farm. Sixty years ago this month the National Christmas Tree was erected in Washington, DC, on the Ellipse between the White House and the Washington Monument. The annual tradition of a National Christmas Tree dates back to 1923, but from 1954 to 1972, the selected tree…

  • “How Great the Gain!”: Women and the Forest Service

    By James Lewis on August 28, 2021

    This post, coauthored by James G. Lewis of the Forest History Society and Rachel D. Kline of the U.S. Forest Service, was originally published in a special issue of the journal Western Forester on “Women in Forestry” in August 2021. The journal is published by the Society of American Foresters’ Oregon, Washington State, and Alaska…

  • The Great Northwest Log Haul of 1988

    By Eben Lehman on May 13, 2021

    On May 13, 1988, a convoy of trucks more than 12 miles long rolled down U.S. Highway 93 in Montana. Onlookers gawked and cheered as over 300 trucks fully loaded down with logs passed by one by one. This impressive display was actually a unique form of protest by the local logging community. Frustrated by…

  • Black Woman in Green: Excerpts from Gloria Brown’s Memoir

    By Guest Contributor on February 4, 2021

    In 1999, Gloria Brown became the first female African American forest supervisor in the U.S. Forest Service. Gloria cowrote her memoir Black Woman in Green: Gloria Brown and the Unmarked Trail to Forest Service Leadership (Oregon State University Press, 2020) with Donna Sinclair, who shares her reflections on working with Gloria and excerpts from the memoir….

  • How Forest History Can Be Like A Beethoven Symphony

    By James Lewis on January 16, 2021

    This post is adapted from the Editor’s Note in the Spring/Fall 2020 issue of Forest History Today. As I sit here in a medical facility in December, waiting to be called, surrounded by people wearing masks because of the global pandemic, I hear the welcome sound of someone playing a piano. A staffer, dressed head…

  • Harold E. Smith’s Forest Service Christmas Story

    By Guest Contributor on December 11, 2020

    “Harold E. Smith’s Forest Service Christmas Story” is by USDA Forest Service historian Rachel D. Kline. As we approach the holiday season in the Forest Service during this unprecedented time, history shows us that our curtailed holiday activities during a difficult time are not really that unprecedented after all. In fact, there are reminders of…

  • “We Were in Love with the Forest”: Protecting Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

    By Guest Contributor on November 12, 2020

    This blog post by Ellen Sharp and Will Wright is a working version of an article to be published in the Spring/Fall 2020 issue of our magazine Forest History Today. We are making it available beforehand because of the time sensitivity of the conservation issue it discusses. You can download a draft version of this…

  • The Wood Prince of Bel Air: Building the ‘Strangers When We Meet’ House

    By Eben Lehman on June 4, 2020

    In the summer of 1960, Columbia Pictures released the film Strangers When We Meet. Adapted by Evan Hunter from his novel by the same name, the film’s plot centers around Larry Coe, an architect (played by Kirk Douglas) who is building a home for a Hollywood writer (played by Ernie Kovacs). While designing and building…

  • The Monongahela at 100: How Its Signature Event Changed American Forestry

    By Guest Contributor on April 30, 2020

    The Monongahela National Forest was established on April 28, 1920. Historian Char Miller has adapted a chapter from the book America’s Great National Forests, Wilderness & Grasslands, with photographs by Tim Palmer (Rizzoli, 2016), to mark the centennial.  The banner headline on the front page of the Elkins, West Virginia, newspaper for November 8, 1973,…

  • Carl Schenck and His Life in Lindenfels

    By Guest Contributor on March 25, 2020

    Historian Jameson Karns recently interviewed the two remaining “Schenck boys”—the young boys Carl Alwin Schenck taught and mentored in the aftermath of World War II. They have generously provided hours of interviews for FHS, as well as having donated some of Schenck’s lesson plans, correspondence, love letters, and photos. They provided an intimate look into…

  • President bans Christmas tree from White House!

    By James Lewis on December 1, 2019

    (First published in 2008, this blog posted was updated in 2012 and, after finding the letters to his sisters on the Theodore Roosevelt Center’s website, again in 2016 and 2019.) Around the internet, there are innumerable articles about how Theodore Roosevelt banned Christmas trees in the White House because of “environmental concerns” only to then…

  • “Madam Secretary” and the Gifford Pinchot Connection

    By James Lewis on November 21, 2019

    I’d never seen the TV series Madam Secretary until this week. Now in its sixth season, former secretary of State Elizabeth McCord is president of the United States. The character’s concern about climate change makes it unsurprising to see landscape paintings throughout the offices and private family quarters in the White House. An early scene…

  • The Night the Mountain Fell

    By James Lewis on August 16, 2019

    “The night the mountain fell” is how one of the strongest earthquakes to rock the United States was remembered by some survivors. It wasn’t in California, though. It hit Montana. An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 centered on the Gallatin National Forest—about 40 miles northwest of Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park—struck at…

  • When Woodsmen Bested Spacemen

    By James Lewis on July 19, 2019

    Capitalizing on the excitement surrounding the Apollo space program and the first Moon landing on July 20, 1969, the Weyerhaeuser Company published an article in its company magazine that December. “Spacemen become Woodsmen” recounted the visit by four Apollo astronauts to its Millicoma Tree Farm property the previous year for an elk hunting trip. You…

  • The Early Career of John S. Holmes, North Carolina’s First State Forester

    By Eben Lehman on May 31, 2019

    John Simcox Holmes—born on this day in 1868—was a pioneer of forestry work in the state of North Carolina. The state’s first professional forester, he was hired in 1909 to survey and protect North Carolina’s forests, though he had little funding or staff with which to do the job. In 1915 he was named as…

  • Forest History on the Move: Everett’s Wandering Weyerhaeuser Office

    By Eben Lehman on May 10, 2019

    Twenty-five miles north of Seattle, at the mouth of the Snohomish River, lies the city of Everett, Washington. Officially incorporated on May 4, 1893, the city has seen more than 126 years of growth and development, much of it bolstered by the area’s vast timber resources. In fact, it is impossible to separate Everett’s history…

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