U LTD Historic Woods

Connecting rescued woods,
stories and each other.

Quite possibly, one of my absolute favorite things about what I do is getting to be inside a structure in its last weeks standing or before it is renovated. It is actually fairly rare that I have the opportunity to check out material in its previous life, before being delivered to our workshop. When I know something is being completely demolished and will no longer have a footprint on this earth beyond memories or photos, it feels especially significant to be present there in its last weeks or days.

Perhaps it’s my love for history or imagining bygone eras that make salvage so personally intriguing. It’s one thing to observe the stripped-down hollow walls of a place when plaster is gone and it’s down to its studs, but it’s an entirely different experience to witness a home, school, church or other structure prior to full deconstruction or demolition when it has been standing since the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. It’s these experiences that always bring me back to why I love this business. It is the thrill of the hunt, the stories I imagine lie beneath the floorboards, and what the walls would say if we could hear them talk. It’s the curiosity of looking at the patina, the knots, the notches, or nail holes left behind and appreciating that these marks demonstrate a life lived prior.

U LTD Historic Woods
U LTD Historic Woods

To know that I will have an immediate role helping this beautiful wood along to its next life in the form of furniture in another home or space...possibly becoming someone’s next favorite piece of furniture...feels very personal on multiple levels. It’s why I feel like the furniture we build is made with wood that has a soul.

I am sharing these stories of some of the many places we source our wood from for your enjoyment. Some of these woods are still available in limited quantities that we can use to handcraft your next piece of furniture. For more info about U LTD Historic Woods, email info@urbanwoodgoods.com.


Fox Theater

Stevens Point, Wisconsin

A Magical Spin on late 1800’s Old-Growth Wood

Are you a fan of history, theatre, magic, or gorgeous wood out of a late 1800’s Wisconsin theatre? The Fox Theater (built 1894) was located in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, west of Green Bay.  Open for nearly a century, the theater was the site of drama both on and off the stage.

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Coming Full Circle

It was January 2015, and I distinctly remember the feeling as I walked through this grand Tudor Revival style home in Winnetka, IL. As I pulled up, I didn’t know exactly what I was walking into.

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The Chicago Ice Fire

In 2013 the historic Pullman Couch Co. warehouse caught fire in late January in the manufacturing district at 38th and Ashland in Chicago.

The result was that its wood timber interior was ravaged, and its brick walls coated with layers of ice from the firefighting efforts. The building was considered a total loss. The images are really incredible to look at.

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Double your pleasure, double your fun...

What could be more Chicago than having a table built with thick wood planks that came out of the century-old Wrigley Chewing Gum Factory? We were lucky to get our hands on some of these historically significant, gorgeous wood planks back in the spring of 2016 by way of Kyle and Bob, two of our favorite wood suppliers.

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Orpheum Theatre (1907)

112 S State St, Chicago IL

Once known for “continuous vaudville,” the wood inside it continues on...

Sometimes hunting for the best old timber takes you to interesting yards with overgrown vegetation hiding all of the best treasures.

Kyle, who was one of our top lumber suppliers and deconstruction guys, had a very close friend also in the deconstruction business named “Bob”. Bob has a huge lumber yard on the south side of Chicago. He is as much of a character if not more so than the wood we source. I believe he is about 82 years old and has demo’d so many buildings over the last 50 years in the city of Chicago. He will talk your ear off and always has a new joke to share.

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Berwyn Hotel (1922)

3137 S Oak Park Ave, Chicago IL


Prohibition Hideout & honey pot of old-growth wood

The Berwyn Hotel was intriguing from the moment I pulled up and saw a gorgeous trailer of wood already salvaged and loaded onto a trailer in the lot.

The first thing I was told about this historic brick looking building was that it was rumored to have been a place Al Capone would frequent back in the 1920’s era of organized crime in Chicago. He was actually based in Cicero, the town next door, so the story seemed believable enough to let my imagination run wild and made the steps up to the top floor as I ran my hands along the antique hand carved wood banister feel a bit more dramatic.

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Helene Curtis Building

Chicago, Illinois

Sweet Home Chicago

Demolition of old Chicago buildings can be a treasure trove for reclaimed wood, and sometimes those heart pine timbers and Chicago brick are taken out of the Midwest.  We learned of these instances, through one of our timber jockeys, Bob.

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Circle of Lumber Life?

What better place to be on a bone chilling, snow covered January day (2019) than at a job site where we are reclaiming old wood joists from a factory that has been around for over a century. After researching the address online I found (early 1916) publications that show the 1127 West 37th Street building address as a manufacturing outfit called “Chicago Wire & Steel”.

READ ABOUT Chicago Wire & Steel

913 Hoyne

3137 S Oak Park Ave, Chicago IL

Pabst Brewing Co.

Milwaukee, WI

Some of these woods are still available in limited quantities that we can use to handcraft your next piece of furniture. For more info email info@urbanwoodgoods.com or use the contact form below.

For questions or a quote please email info@urbanwoodgoods.com

or call 855.966.3466