Peeling Back The Bark

  • 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 Jason Howard 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…

  • The Greatest Baseball Championship Series Ever Played

    By James Lewis on October 28, 2014

    The debate can now be settled. We know what the greatest championship series in baseball history is. It’s certainly not the 2014 San Francisco-Kansas City match-up, though that’s been entertaining. What championship am I talking about? The year was 1908. Theodore “Big Stick” Roosevelt was finishing his second term as president. “Big Bill” Taft was running…

  • Growing a Tree Army: Historic Photos of Michigan’s USFS Nurseries

    By Eben Lehman on November 6, 2013

    A significant amount of Michigan’s public forests today owe their existence to the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s. Known as “Roosevelt’s Tree Army,” CCC enrollees played a crucial role in reforestation efforts throughout the country during the Great Depression, and nowhere was the impact of their work more significant than in…

  • FHS's 19th Annual Halloween Horror Film Festival

    By James Lewis on October 31, 2013

    As faithful readers know, we love movies here at Peeling Back the Bark HQ. And there are numerous forest history-related horror films worth checking out for Halloween. We love the B-movies from yesteryear the best. So without further ado, here are our favorites. Be sure to check out these flicks where a Forest Service chief…

  • "The Day JFK Was Here": Pinchot Institute Dedicated 9/24/1963

    By James Lewis on September 13, 2013

    By Dan Dwyer, Port Jervis Union-Gazette¹ MILFORD, Penn., Sept. 24— The helicopter landed exactly on time. It was 1 p.m. The door opened and became a ramp and this man came out. It was the start of a hectic 70-minute visit by Pres. John F. Kennedy to Grey Towers in Milford yesterday afternoon. Mr. Kennedy,…

  • Camp Cajon: California’s Original Welcome Station

    By Eben Lehman on August 14, 2013

    Over 300 historic U.S. Forest Service photographs from California were recently added to our image database, thanks to a collaboration with USFS Region 5 (Pacific Southwest). Matthew Stever, a Region 5 Heritage Photo Project intern, organized and scanned a large number of previously uncataloged photographs from the region, and digital copies were added to the…

  • Mason County Forest Festival Rolls On

    By Eben Lehman on May 31, 2013

    A parade, a pageant, and Paul Bunyan. These may not be the first three things that come to mind when you think about fire prevention, but residents of Mason County, Washington, back in 1945 had their own unique ideas. To help combat the destructive wildfires in the region — while also promoting the importance of…

  • May 29, 1903: Bob "Forest History" Hope was Born

    By James Lewis on May 29, 2013

    On this date in 1903, Bob “Forest History” Hope was born in London, England. His career in comedy spanned 60 years and moved from the Vaudeville stage to radio and film and eventually television. He appeared in more than 70 movies, most famously in the “Road” series with his pal Bing Crosby, a fellow tree…

  • CCC and the Art of Woodsmanship

    By Eben Lehman on March 21, 2013

    Eighty years ago, Rudy Wendelin was a young artist fresh out of the University of Kansas School of Architecture struggling like many others to find work during the Great Depression. Relief came in 1933 when he applied for a job in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, under the new Civilian Conservation program launched that same year. Wendelin got…

  • The New Swimsuit Issue Is Out From … Forest Echoes?

    By James Lewis on February 15, 2013

    That’s not Kate Upton on the cover. And that’s not Sports Illustrated. And that’s not even in color. That’s Miss Sally Johnson. And it’s the new swimsuit issue of Forest Echoes—well, “new” on the forest history temporal scale. It’s from 1947. And to be honest, it’s not really their swimsuit issue. So what’s going on here?…

  • National Pancake Day and Lumberjack Breakfasts

    By James Lewis on February 5, 2013

    Today is National Pancake Day at the International House of Pancakes. You can get a free short stack of pancakes, though IHOP customers are encouraged to make a donation that will go to a local charity. (This date should not be confused with International Pancake Day, which is when a foot race between the women of…

  • Forest Service "Bulletin" Christmas Art Sampler

    By James Lewis on December 14, 2012

    This holiday season we turn to the U.S. Forest Service History Collection for a little fun artwork. The “Service Bulletin” was the newsletter, initially issued weekly and then later monthly, published by the Washington Office (WO) to keep employees abreast of the latest information from DC and around the nation. They typically were 6 or…

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