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Remains of an old Rock Island rubber plant are given a second chance

Workers at the old Norcross/Servus Rubber plant came across a Douglas Fir and a rare Heart Pine for future projects.

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois – A rare Heart Pine wood, that is practically extinct, has been found in a demolished Rock Island rubber factory formerly known as the Norcross/Servus Rubber plant.

Under piles of demolished rubble lies new hope and new beginnings.

“There’s always a treasure or two in these old buildings,” says Dirk Fox, who has been salvaging wood for 20 years at his business called Barns -N-Boards.

“That's what we do; we hunt wood,” comments Fox.

The Norcross/Servus Rubber plant was built back in the 1920’s when construction was made up of mostly brick and wood.  That wood is now being salvaged for upcoming projects and sent off on 25 different semis across the country.

The wood found at the old plant is in the process of being cleaned up and given new life in construction sites out west.

“Two out of the three phases had Douglas Fir mainly going out west to Montana and Idaho for cabins and construction projects,” Fox explains.

But workers came across another kind of wood – a rare Heart Pine.

“The Heart Pine will be going down into the southeast and will be used for timbers in building projects and for floorings,” says Fox. “It’s an extinct species.  The forest has been depleted, and there are no standing Heart Pine trees anymore.”

But Fox isn’t the only one remembering pieces of the building’s history.

“There’s been old employees stopping by and picking up a brick or this or that,” Fox says.

And although this factory isn’t shipping out rubber boots anymore, they are sending off new package for a fresh new start.

“You feel like you are doing something positive instead of just throwing it away,” emphasizes Fox.

The next step in demolition will be to salvage the old brick and move other debris into the landfill.

There are no plans for what is coming to the site next.



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