"Historical Woods of America helps to keep the important history of America alive for current and future generations. Through our innovative services and products, we strive to ensure our nation's rich cultural history, as well as the environment, is preserved." William E. Jewell
At Historical Woods, we make goods from wood with a story. The handcrafted items you see for purchase here are created by a variety of artisans and are beautiful on their own but it is the wood from which they are made which holds the full story. There are eleven different trees here that were alive and growing during some spectacular periods in our American history. Our Woods page details the history of each tree.
One day our founder, William E. Jewell, drove past George Washington’s Mount Vernon and witnessed a tree on the grounds being taken down. He thought about the history of that tree and wanted to know where it was going so he detoured into the site to find out. From that day forward his life changed lanes into the development of a business creating relationships with historic sites and making planned use of majestic and famous trees as they were felled due to natural causes.
When the time came for each of these trees to come down, William carefully retrieved as much as was salvageable, brought it home, sawed, dried and properly stored the wood. When it was ready, the timber was transformed into a spectacular variety of beautiful things: sculpture, furniture, artwork, boxes, bowls, pens and more. These historic goods caught the attention of museums and galleries and a traveling exhibit was curated. The full story of the art exhibit that was created is detailed at the National Treasures page.
Meanwhile, William was developing his dream on many planes at once: working on the book a publisher asked him to write about historic trees, preparing to give a lecture at Duke University on urban wood utilization, securing sites for the traveling exhibit, making his own furniture, reclaiming wood as it came down, and sawing some of the non-historic trees as he was often asked. He simply couldn’t refuse wood. It was a frenetic time but he was happily excited to see his dreams come alive.
Then at the high point of his life, with all these projects juggling, in otherwise good health at the age of 49, he died suddenly over the course of a weekend. Everything just stopped along with him. His life, his dreams, his history were now intertwined with that of the trees.
Four years after his death, his widow salvaged what she could and guided Historical Woods down a different path. The woods haven’t changed; the art and beauty of the goods are ever present but our selections are sized just a bit smaller. The art exhibit is gone and now we only sell finished products. Read about the artists we work with, some old friends and some new. We no longer sell unfinished wood directly to customers.
You can read stories about some of our unique projects at News page. If you buy a pen from Historical Woods, you will be in some Famous Company. Even our jewelry has a unique story. Weave a piece of this preserved history into your life or gift it to someone you love.