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In a 1934 book called "Trees You Want to Know," American botanist Donald Culross Peattie wrote that Atlantic White Cedar would "endure moisture indefinitely," and wood that weathered well was in demand; lots of folks began using it for fencing and roof shingles.
In the late 1800s Atlantic City put up the first large-scale public boardwalk in the United States.
For material they used Atlantic White Cedar, conveniently harvested from New Jersey's nearby forests.
Technically not a cedar at all, but a cypress, the tree grew well in wet areas and was naturally rot-resistant.
Ironically, these excellent properties are what made the wood an unsustainable choice.
Choosing the material to build a boardwalk out of can be tricky.
Never mind the amount of people traipsing over the thing; being located on the shore, it is subject to salt spray.
And in a place with four seasons, the wood is subjected to brutally humid summers and freezing cold winters.
So what did people make boardwalks out of, in the days before pressure-treated lumber?
The rise of pesticides changed the wood game after World War II.