Cleveland suffers from what I'm calling Detroit Syndrome. The population of the onetime million-resident city has shrunk to just 396,000 as manufacturing jobs have disappeared, meaning it's filled with dilapidated and abandoned buildings.
Those buildings—whether houses, churches, or retail spaces—are constructed out of wood, which means tearing them down can provide a veritable forest's worth of raw material. That's where an organization called Reclaimed Cleveland comes in. As they explain,Most of the homes slated for demolition in Cleveland are nearly 100 years old (some even older) and were built with old growth lumber that is dense and beautiful. Reclaimed Cleveland is leading an effort to salvage lumber from local structures and give it a new life as well designed home furnishings and accessories. We are also working with a local non-profit, Towards Employment, to train ex-offenders in home salvage and give them skills and a new start in the construction trades.The Reclaimed Cleveland website features the furniture (tables, seating, beds, storage pieces) and accessories (mirrors, chopping blocks, candleholders, and more) they're able to turn this heirloom wood into. They also show the custom commercial and residential interiors they've incorporated the wood into. Even cooler, they have a Salvage section where they photograph the structures as they're torn down, giving you the reassuring sense that those church rafters and floor joists from 1915 didn't go to waste.