Thick poplar trees covered the Tennessee Valley a hundred years ago. But they were steadily cut down and used as lumber, and now the old-growth wood is nearly impossible to find.
"It's not available in stores, and there is a limited quantity of it left in the world," said Matt Sears, owner of Haskel Sears Design, which makes wooden furniture.
Which is why he was excited to find 25-foot-long old-growth poplar floor and ceiling joists in the old brick building on the southeast corner of Main and Market streets. The building has since been demolished to make room for a new mixed-use apartment and retail complex.