Peeling Back The Bark

  • Pauline Bunyans and WWII Victory Lumber

    By Eben Lehman on March 12, 2024

    World War II created a shortage of workers along with a national need to produce lumber for military efforts. During the war, Weyerhaeuser News, the lumber company’s magazine, ran features highlighting the work done by the women who took over for the men who were called to serve. The 1942 issue of Weyerhaeuser News (see…

  • Life and Lunch: Alfred Eisenstaedt’s Weyerhaeuser Timber Crew Photographs

    By Eben Lehman on February 9, 2024

    In December 1954, Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt journeyed into the woods near Snoqualmie Falls, Washington, for an unusual assignment. His subjects were a Weyerhaeuser Timber Company logging crew. But instead of photographing them felling trees, the men would appear in a Life magazine photo essay of Americans doing what millions did everyday—eating lunch. Eisenstaedt…

  • Down on the Bayou: The 1930s Forest Service Photos of Robert K. Winters

    By Eben Lehman on January 11, 2024

    Robert K. Winters (1902-1999) had a long and impactful career in the world of forestry. While he ended his career as a leading figure in international forestry, his early years were spent trudging through the swamps of Louisiana. A selection of photographs taken by Winters during his time surveying the Deep South in the 1930s…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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 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…

  • New Digital Exhibit: Pioneer Trail Riders of the Wilderness

    By Eben Lehman on August 17, 2018

    Recently FHS staff came across a scrapbook in our collection of American Forestry Association records. Its pages were filled with original photographs and documents from the American Forestry Association’s (AFA) first Trail Ride in July of 1933. The Trail Riders program was run by the AFA for over 50 years, from 1933 through 1988. Originally…

  • A Look Back at George Washington’s Birthday Trees

    By Eben Lehman on February 22, 2018

    “Ten million monuments to a great man!” So went the call out from Charles Lathrop Pack and the American Tree Association to the American public. The “great man” was George Washington and the year was 1932 – the bicentennial of Washington’s birth. Mired in the midst of the Great Depression, Americans were nonetheless still in the…

  • The Year When Turkeys Were Used to Fight Forest Fires

    By Eben Lehman on November 22, 2017

    There’s no better time than Thanksgiving week to look back at some of forest history’s famous turkeys. While we’ve previously looked at how turkeys changed forest history by upending timber policy in the 1960s, it’s due time to highlight a pair of birds. “Sir Keep Oregon Green” and “Chief No Fire” were two large 40-pound…

  • Parachuting Into History: Smokejumpers Land In DC For First Time

    By James Lewis on June 28, 2017

    On this date in 1949, four Forest Service smokejumpers made the first jump east of the Mississippi River and the first parachute jump ever made onto the Washington Ellipse, the oval park between the Washington Monument and the White House. The jump was even televised, which is how President Harry Truman reportedly watched it, even…

  • This Old (White) House: Turning Salvage Wood into Souvenirs

    By Eben Lehman on May 3, 2017

    Ninety years ago this spring, a major repair project began on the White House in Washington, DC, that ultimately yielded wooden treasures. Work began in March of 1927 to remove large sections of the building’s roof in order to replace wood timbers with steel trusses and undertake a full remodeling of the third floor. This project…

  • Digging in the FHS Crates: Buzz Martin, the Singing Logger

    By James Lewis on January 20, 2016

    Here in the Alvin J. Huss Archives you’ll find numerous stories of foresters and loggers from years past. Even among these legends, though, some figures still stand just a bit taller. As we continue to dig through the vinyl collection at FHS we find a set of records by one such figure: the one and…

  • Digging in the FHS Crates: Lausmann’s Lousy Loggers Band

    By Eben Lehman on December 18, 2015

    Here at Peeling Back the Bark World Headquarters we occasionally like to get our fingers a little dusty by digging through the vinyl record collection in the FHS archives. Our collection may be modest, but it’s full of vintage forest-related audio treasures. One of our favorite items from the collection is undoubtedly the self-titled album…

  • The Saga of Miss American Green Cross

    By Eben Lehman on September 11, 2015

    This weekend a winner will be crowned at the 89th Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City. While we wish all the ladies luck, here at Peeling Back the Bark World Headquarters our favorite Miss America will undoubtedly remain one woman born all the way back in 1928. Miss American Green Cross, as she is known,…

  • Korstian Forestry Education Lantern Slides Now Viewable

    By Eben Lehman on December 17, 2014

    From the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, lecturers often used glass lantern slides to illustrate their topics. Photographs were copied onto glass plates to make the slides, which would then be used with a projector to cast images onto walls or large screens. First developed in 1849, this process allowed for large groups of people…

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