Friday, November 18, 2011

Bissell Cos. celebrates topping out with workers

The last beam of the Woodward building in Ballantyne Corporate Park was put into place today as workers celebrated with barbeque.

Sticking with tradition, workers and the building's namesakes, James and Martha Woodward, signed the final piece of steel before it was hoisted into place. A cedar tree and an American flag were also placed on top of the white beam.

While common in the United Kingdom, Germany, Czech Republic and Poland, the origins of the topping out ceremony in the United States are obscure, according to Wikipedia. European craftsmen are believed to have brought the tradition with them to the United States.

Wikipedia also says the practice of "topping out" a new building can be traced to the ancient Scandinavian religious practice of placing a tree on the top of a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits of their ancestors that had been displaced.

The Bissell Cos. said the Woodward tree represents zero injuries and good luck. The flag symbolizes that the building has been topped out. Bissell says the tree will stay up there for the next several weeks.

The developer also celebrated its topping out with a luncheon at the adjoining Irby Building. Chairman H.C. "Smoky" Bissell also spoke. When the Woodward is finished next year, it will be the office park's tallest building.

The photographs were taken by the Observer's Diedra Laird.