In Michigan the majority of the homes built in the 1900’s had wooden cedar shingles. The roofs were constructed of repurposed barnwood or planking of abstract sizes and large spaces between the boards. The shake shingles are about 5″ to 8″ wide from 16″ to 24″ long. They are individually nailed to the roof boards.
As time went by and the wooden shingles began to deteriorate, instead of removing them most homeowners shingled over the top of them 2 to 3 times over the course of 30 to 60 years. Now building codes do not allow more than two layers of shingles and all wooden cedar shakes must be removed.