One magazine reports serious world news; the other features beautiful homes. Yet, both chose to spotlight a small Micanopy, Florida business in their current issues.
The rare heart pine of Goodwin Heart Pine Company is the cover story of the April issue of Fine Homebuilding, an upscale, glossy publication. At the other end of the spectrum, the wood and its romantic history hit page 50 in the May 30, 1994, issue of U.S. News and World Report.
There’s a good reason for all this interest … Goodwin Heart Pine is the only company in America, as far as they can tell, to retrieve from Southern riverbeds, wood that was cut down at least a hundred years ago by loggers. The wood is virtually extinct today because high demand for the hard heart pine in the 1800s and early 1900s caused loggers to clear-cut 500 acres throughout the South.
“The loggers would float the cut logs down river to the mills. Some of them would roll off the log raft and sink to the bottom,” said George Goodwin, president. “We put on wet suits and carefully retrieve these logs by hand because the wood is like new and is stunning when milled.”
It is not the first time this specialty company has garnered national attention. More than five million viewers watched Goodwin and his crew locate lost heart pine logs a couple of years ago when Norm Abrams spotlighted him on The New Yankee Workshop.
Goodwin Heart Pine can be found from Catalina Island to Martha’s Vineyard, and graces numerous homes and businesses, including the homes of several celebrities, such as the well-known TV acting couple featured in the current Fine Homebuilding. The couple, who asked to remain nameless, selected Goodwin Heart Pint for their kitchen cabinets.
“This wood is nothing like the yellow pine logged today,” Goodwin said. “Our logs, many of them 400 and 500 years old when they were cut down a century ago, are preserved by the cool river water and lack of oxygen. The heavy, dense heart remains in perfect condition, unspoiled by saws and nails.”
The changing ecological balance and clear-cutting of original growth forests have caused the Longleaf Pine, which Heart Pine comes from, to pass into extinction. It is available in limited quantities either by salvaging timbers from old buildings, cutting down the few trees left, or like the Goodwins do it … pulling them from riverbeds.