Chad Schwartzauer and Chris Hoar | Photo by Anna Goodson
It began as a special project during the summer of 2014: restore a circa 1850s house in Enterprise to its original charm. Chris Hoar, the Californian drawn to Mississippi by her history and southern charm, had purchased the Greek Revival home and hired Mississippi-native Chad Schwartzauer to do the historical restoration. In true southern fashion, Chris found Chad through Chris’s association with the local animal shelter, run by Chad’s mother. “She knew her son could help me,” says Chris. Chad understood Chris’s vision for the house: maintain the home’s historic integrity by using only materials authentic to the time period. That meant buying the salvage rights to multiple other properties to source the required lumber, beadboard, windows, doors and hardware.
They completed the house, but in deconstructing the other buildings, ended up with more lumber than required. They knew that this beautiful longleaf heart pine deserved to be used again, as part of another restoration project or for new construction or repurposed as furniture. Thus, Storied Salvage in Jackson was born, and Chris and Chad became business partners.
Their first location, a 3000 square-foot building on Millsaps Avenue quickly turned out to be too small. After renovating that building, they moved into their current location, a 10,000 square-foot space a block away on 140 Wesley Avenue. With more than 100,000 board feet of reclaimed lumber on its cantilever racks, Storied Salvage officially opened for business this spring and provides customers from Natchez, Meridian, Houston and London not only with multiple lumber options but also antique shutters, reclaimed barn doors, antique window glass and vintage signs.
Chad and Chris aren’t just in the business of selling vintage lumber. Storied Salvage, says Chris, “is a labor of love.” It is about rescuing Mississippi history and its crumbling old houses that families are no longer able to maintain.
“We don’t take pleasure in ripping down history,” Chris says, but so often, these buildings end up being bulldozed or burned to remove them from the property. Chad was witness to this as a child when his grandfather demolished the family home. “It had been in the family for hundreds of years,” he says.
“What sets us apart from others is we do most of the salvage ourselves,” says Chad. They refuse to use power tools or heavy equipment. They carefully deconstruct each building by hand, documenting the process on film. The work is hard, hot and expensive. But, “speaking as an outsider,” says Chris.” I want to see these old houses and buildings” continue to tell the story of Mississippi’s heritage.
The items in Storied Salvage provide a tapestry of a past rich in history and unique to the Deep South. Wavy glass-paned windows, rustic barn doors and shutters and reclaimed brick speak of a time when such things were made by hand. And the yards and yards of longleaf heart pine remind us that these trees that were once so abundant in this state were the bones of nearly every Mississippi home.