Legendary Tidewater Cypress
The Tidewater Cypress that grows along Northwest Florida and Southern Alabama swamps and waterways is legendary for its durability and hardiness. In fact, Tidewater Cypress has long been called the “Wood Eternal.”
Legend has it that Noah’s Ark and the original doors of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome were constructed of Cypress. In fact, it’s said that those doors were over 1,100 years old when the church was torn down for reconstruction in the 1500s.
The reason is because Tidewater Cypress creates an oil called cypressene. This oil acts as a natural preservative and causes the heartwood of Tidewater Cypress to be extraordinarily resistant to insects, rot, and decay.
In fact Tidewater Cypress is one of the most rot and insect resistant woods available anywhere in the world. Even in an untreated state, Tidewater Cypress will last for decades (sometimes a hundred years!) with minimal wear or warping.
And unlike other woods, the cypressene-based resin in Tidewater Cypress is not sticky. This makes it easier to sand and work with.
Tidewater red cypress preferred by Frank Lloyd Wright
Our Tidewater Cypress is a variety of Bald Cypress that grows in the swamps and wet areas along the southern coast of the U.S., and is often referred to as “Tidewater Red Cypress” because it tends to have a somewhat darker coloring than the white and yellow Cypress that grows further inland in dryer areas.
Tidewater Cypress has been the first choice of many architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, for its distinctive look and extreme durability.
When building the Kraus House (also known as the “Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park”), Wright specified that Tidewater Red Cypress be used.
Finding enough Tidewater Red Cypress was enormously difficult, because at that time there was very little available. However, he was so adamant about using it that everyone involved in the construction of the house was determined to acquire it, and eventually enough was found to begin construction.
When Wright was building the Pope-Leighey House, he insisted that nothing be hung on the walls so as not to obscure the natural beauty of the Tidewater Cypress that had been used.
And more recently, the completion of a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian House on the campus of Florida Southern College, again demonstrates Wright’s affinity for Tidewater Cypress.
This home boasts 10,000 board feet of southern Cypress. It was used for everything from the exterior work, to the ceilings, walls, shelves, and doors.
Due to its strength and durability, Tidewater Cypress is an extremely versatile lumber and can be used for both interior & exterior applications.