Thursday, March 2, 2017

Longleaf Legacy-- Part 1: North Carolina's Longleaf Pines

From the March 2015 Our State magazine by Andrew Kenney.

When the first European explorers arrived on North Carolina's shores, they found towering longleaf pine trees standing at more than 100 feet tall and promising a plentiful resource in the wooden ship seafaring age.

Two captains told Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584 that these trees "could supply the English Navy with enough tar and pitch to make our Queen the ruler of the seas."  This was a big reason he went ahead with what would become his famous "Lost Colony."

 They were referring to pine tar, the viscous fluid that leaks from heated pine, used to secure masts and sails.  They also were talking about pitch, the boiled tar which could be heated and painted on the bottom of boats for waterproofing.

Along with the wood of these trees, it helped foster a backwoods industry and turned North Carolina into the home of the Tar Heels.

And, that nickname stuck, just as it did on the shoes and feet of poor workers who "stepped" in it.

Tar Me Up, Scottie.  --Cooter

No comments: