Unearth The Story

Wood Salvaged from Underwear Factory Re-used in Supermarket Flagship

Fayette, Alabama

A prominent supermarket that recently opened in Rochester, New York features timbers, doors, and trim crafted of reclaimed Heart Pine by Pioneer Millworks sister company, New Energy Works Timberframers, fine woodworking group, NEWwoodworks. The antique pine, also known as Southern Yellow Pine, was salvaged by Pioneer Millworks during deconstruction of the Union Underwear Inc. cotton mill and factory in Alabama.

Custom Heart Pine Doors Rochester NY

Beginning with raw industrial salvaged timbers, Pioneer Millworks milled board stock which NEWwoodworks crafted into custom pieces for the supermarket. “Heart Pine in its higher grades is a quality wood with great durability and density, and a bit of antique resin that requires patience and skill. It achieves a wonderful look that adds a unique flavor to any project,” said Rob D’Alessandro, General Manager of NEWwoodworks. “We enjoy the challenge of turning the bones of an old building into handcrafted pieces for commercial spaces and homes.”


Heart Pine doors in the restaurant celebrate crisp grain patterns and rich color tones complimented by wrought iron accents. Timbers with original patina bring warmth to the ceiling and reclaimed, natural edge walnut planks join with more Heart Pine in custom benches in the reception area.

“Reclaimed Heart Pine is said to be the species our country was built on. Factories and mills, such as Union Underwear, were largely constructed using these pine timbers,” explains Jennifer Young, Manager of Pioneer Millworks. “It is a highly desired species due to its dense grain patterns, deep patina, character, and of course, history.”

Original Union Underwear Factory

The Union Underwear Inc. mill was built in 1921 as the Fayette Cotton Mill. It was erected adjacent to the Brown Lumber Company. Logs were transported by rail to the lumber mill, sawn into hefty timbers (many as large as 9″ x 15″ x 26′), then used in the construction of the cotton mill next door. In 2003 the mill was shut down sitting dormant until it was carefully deconstructed in 2013.


Reclaiming timbers from underwear mill


“Old wood isn’t just about sustainability and beauty. It’s about carrying a piece of history forward. For example, when our team was at the factory they met a gentleman who had worked in the mill for nearly 40 years. He shared stories and old photographs with us from a time when the mill was running at full capacity,” continued Young. “His story and the deconstruction of the mill was so interesting. We featured both in a blog post.”

Fulfilling the fine woodworking needs for the supermarket utilized all of Pioneer Millworks inventory of the Heart Pine from the Union Underwear mill, but the company continues to offer Heart Pine from several other historic sources. Numerous Yellow Pine timbers from the Union Underwear mill are still available.