Turpentine Mural (Early Commerce)

SIZE
222' Long by 34' High (East) & 24' High (West)

COMPLETION DATE
N/A

ARTIST NAME
Wes Hardin

TALKING POINTS

  • Pitch is a product of the resin that is gathered by slashing the pine trees.
  • In the 1800’s pitch was used primarily to caulk the wooden sailing ships that sailed the world’s ocean and to waterproof the decks.
  • England was buying every barrel of pitch that the U.S. produced at that time.
  • With the arrival of the railroad in Dothan on August 13, 1889, distant markets became available to us.
  • Turpentine gatherers quickly moved in to slash the trees to gather the resin (aka gum) to be distilled into pitch and turpentine.

In the 1800s pitch, which is a product of the resin that is gathered by slashing the pine trees, was used primarily to caulk the wooden sailing ships that sailed the world’s oceans, and to water proof their decks. All ships at that time were made of wood. England was buying every barrel of pitch the U.S. could produce.

This area was covered by huge pine forests, but there was no railroad here, and we were too far away from the river to use the steamboats to haul the heavy barrels of pitch and turpentine to the Gulf to be shipped to England and the eastern markets. With the arrival of the railroad in Dothan on August 13, 1889, distant markets became available to us and the turpentine gathers quickly moved in to slash the trees in the great forest that blanketed this area to gather the resin (or gum as the workers called it) to be distilled into pitch and turpentine, and the area prospered.