WHITEVILLE, NC (WWAY) -- Imagine hardwood floors made from trees grown before Columbus discovered America. Whiteville wood millers are getting national attention for their centuries-old timber.
The Discovery Channel show "Swamp Loggers" has made stars of Jacksonville-based Goodson's All Terrain Logging. Now the show is highlighting Whiteville's J.L. Powell & Co. after loggers discovered huge chunks of old cypress trees in April when production crews were filming the hit show in Pender County.
"The neat thing about these logs is we had no idea we were there," swamp logger John Deans said.
The logs are between 150 and 900 years old and are believed to have been cut down a century ago.
"We just kept finding more and more of these logs buried down in the mud, and so it was just an added bonus that we actually found these logs and pulled them out and they were still good," Deans said.
"There's evidence that they were cut down with an axe or a cross-cut saw, and this was back in the days when they had very little equipment," J.L. Powell president John Fisher said. "They were dragging the logs out with mules, so it was really hard work."
The logs were left in the swamp, likely because they were a bit defective.
"One hundred years ago, the wood was so abundant, that if the log wasn't absolutely perfect, 100 percent, they would leave it in the swamp, they wouldn't go to the trouble of dragging it out. So because these logs had the fungus in the top third in them, they were left in the swamp," Fisher said. "Today that type of material makes beautiful paneling, though, so we're real excited to have it."
And it means national publicity for a small company and town.
"It's putting our names out there in front of millions of people that would have never heard of Whiteville, NC, and J.L. Powell & Company," Heather Woody of J.L. Powell said.
The first "Swamp Loggers" episode with the cypress logs airs tomorrow night at nine on Discovery. The folks from J.L. Powell will have a viewing party at the Pilot House in Wilmington.
The second episode featuring these logs airs Friday, November 12, and the last episode will air sometime in December.