Dredging the Past

Dredging the Past: Restoring the Historic Chowan County Courthouse

by Ryan Winterberg-Lipp, April 2008

The dense forests of towering trees that blanketed the country in a deep wilderness remained unbroken for thousands of years before European colonists ever landed upon the New World’s coast. When the Spanish explorer Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano first set foot on the scrubby shores of what is now the Florida Gulf Coast in 1559, the timber industry in the United States set down its first roots. It was not until the 1600’s, however, with subsequent large settlements along the Atlantic coast that logging’s great influence began to shape the American landscape. With the arrival of settlers in Jamestown in 1607, lumber was essential to the growing North American colonial economy. Shipbuilding fueled the need for lumber, the pristine forests of virgin trees supplying the emerging market with ample supply to continue its expansion (“History of Logging”).

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