“When we started hearing stories about the prevalence of Eastern White Pine in Sandwich, New Hampshire, we were sure someone was pulling the wool over our eyes,” writes NeLMA President Jeff Easterling, Editor of the White Pine Monographs, in the intro to the Volume XXX, Number 1 issue of the series. But Sandwich – named for John Montague, fourth earl of Sandwich – really is just that full of Eastern White Pine stories.
And, Jeff stresses, they’re all true.
Quintessentially New England, this idyllic town is dotted with colonial homes in between Greek Revivals, classic capes, post-and-beam barns and stone walls. Eastern White Pine has played a prominent role in both its early history and its renovations over the centuries, including the historic Isaac Adams estate and its neighbor, the William Weed House.
Legend has it that Adams, a cabinet maker’s apprentice, asked his wealthy neighbors William Weed and Colonel Joseph Wentworth for a loan to make a journey to Boston, where he was certain he’d find success as a businessman. They refused, and he vowed that he’d return richer than either of them and buy both of their properties. That might have sounded like an audacious bluff at the time, but Adams struck gold by innovating the steam-driven printing press, returned to Sandwich and bought practically everything in sight.
Though it lay abandoned in recent decades, his estate is now trimmed entirely in Eastern White Pine from floor to ceiling after a recent makeover. (You’re going to want to read the rest of this tale, which involves Greek mythology and a passive-aggressive border deemed ‘The Great Wall of Sandwich.’)
Local builders still living in Sandwich today carry on that tradition, including Ben Bullard of H.B. Bullard & Co., who specializes in building materials and methods that are indigenous to the area. Bullard began by building his own timber frame home out of Eastern White Pine, and quickly realized it was “the best wood because it was light and stable, it also worked and cut easier than other woods.” Soon he was creating structures like this beautiful cabin on the bank of the Bear Camp River, with an interior made entirely of Eastern White Pine.
For more about Sandwich, including a profile on Eastern White Pine mill owner, builder, mason and artist ‘Gil’ Morton L. Rodgers and a look at Nat King’s self-built Eastern White Pine home with an addition by local builder Andrew Quinn, check out this special issue of the White Pine Monographs.
Top image via the Union Leader