History of Northern Louisiana and the Ouachita River
The Northern Louisiana region along the shores of the Ouachita River was once covered in a dense forest. These trees were growing there long before Columbus arrived in the New World.
The earliest documented sawmill operating on the banks of the Ouachita, at the present location of West Monroe, Louisiana, was the Bry Sawmill built in about 1805, by Judge Isaac Bry, who received a land grant from John Baptiste Filhiol in 1804. Logs were transported to the sawmill site on log rafts of several hundred logs and then towed up the banks of the Ouachita into the mill by teams of mules and oxen. The lumber was processed by hand and manual saws into beams and lumber. It was then shipped mainly to New Orleans by flat barge and later by steamboat.
Due to the density of this virgin, 200-1200 year old growth timber, and the lack of power for the log rafts, they frequently become jammed in the river bends. The slightest amount of silt on top of the log rafts would sink the entire raft. These sinker logs have been sitting on the bottom of the river for up to 200 years. Significant numbers of these logs still have the artifact markings of being cut with a broad axe.
Recovered Lumber from the Ouachita River
Resting on the bottom of the river for over a century or more has protected them from oxidation, infestation, and insecticides. It is simply some of the purest wood that can be purchased. Recycling this eye-appealing and robust virgin lumber not only provides an unmatched beauty in woodworking projects but has a positive conservation impact on our environment.