Friday, November 23, 2012

Reclaimed Great Salt Lake History At Trestlewood

The Great Salt Lake blocked the Central Pacific Railway from reaching California. The solution was a 145-mile route through the mountainous northern shore from Lucin to Ogden, Utah.  The journey had many steep grades and sharp curves. As traffic picked up, railroad engineers looked for a more direct route that would be faster and save wear and tear on their engines.
The engineers mapped out a straight path from Ogden to the lake, over the water to a tongue of land, known as the Promontory, then on to the opposite shore for an easy run into Lucin. In 1902, 3,000 men gathered to build the longest trestle in the world over the water to save time and 41 miles. 38,256 trees, representing two square miles of forest, were cut down for the pilings. In the 1950s, a causeway was built that replaced the trestle and the whole structure was abandoned. Then, in 1993, Cannon Structures Inc. (dba Trestlewood) of Blackfoot, Idaho, acquired rights to salvage the wood.
The wood that is salvaged has character. It braved great storms that generated four to eight foot waves of dense salt water. It may have nail stains, and saw marks and old growth grain patterns not seen on new lumber. Today, our friends at Trestlewood use the recycled wood for flooring, siding, timbers and Trestlewood mantels. 

I visit friends in and around Bend, Oregon that have mantels over fireplaces made from the timbers steeped in salt and history. I wonder on a quiet, chill evening with a fire roaring, if we will see movement in the grain, hear the voices of those 3,000 men working and locomotives crossing the trestle bound for California.  I wonder, as I place a candle on the mantel, if we will experience the trestle’s history. Will we faintly smell the Great Salt Lake and coal fired engines? I wonder if the salvaged wood from pickle vats and water tanks, barns, corncribs and stables could fill a large book with stories.

Why not contact Trestlewood to receive a story for your home at 877-375-2779 (toll free) or

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