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What is Wormy Chestnut?

What is “Wormy” Chestnut?

Wormy Chestnut is not a particular species of Chestnut but instead it refers to American Chestnut trees from a specific era. During the early 1900s there was a blight involving insects that killed a most of the mature American Chestnut trees and left them discolored and with little insect/worm holes.

It is believed that the blight came from Asia and was originally discovered in what is now the Bronx Zoo. It quickly spread across America even though there were several efforts to try and quarantine the blight. After quarantining failed the US Government assigned funds to attempt to come up with a way to stop the blight, however as the US entered World War I and realized the futility of their efforts thus far they decided to cut funding for the research.

What makes Wormy Chestnut so Valuable?

Because the blight wiped out nearly all of the mature American Chestnut trees, it’s lumber is both rare and becoming increasingly valuable. This wood in particular not only has a big history in America but it is also a fairly durable wood that is resistant to decay because of the presence of tannin. It has a warm color and distinctive defects caused by a unique circumstance. The trees had such great strength despite the blight that they remained standing for years and the wood was still harvested for many homes and barns.

Lovill House Inn Living Room, in this view we see the windows, doors, and archways with the wormy chestnut.

Wormy Chestnut at the Lovill House Inn..

Wormy chestnut found on the Lovill House Inn property was milled and made into the door and window frames, doors, and cabinets you see through the house. It is one more thing that makes the Lovill House Inn a truly special place to stay.

Written by Joel Olsen, Owner

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