Looking Back: Cowford Chophouse Topping Off Ceremony

Driving past the Cowford Chophouse, you might think we decorated for Christmas with a small evergreen tree on our roof. However, the lofty pine is not our homage to the holidays; instead, it is part of an ancient construction tradition that we practiced last month during our Topping Off Ceremony.

For centuries, construction teams from Europe and North America have placed a pine tree at the highest point of a building, once its highest beam was installed. The tradition originated from multiple cultures over the course of history.

Some attribute the tradition to the Native Americans, who believed that no building should be constructed higher than the tree line. Other people have attributed the tradition to pre-Dark Ages Scandinavia, where trees were placed on buildings to appease the spirits disturbed during construction projects. Many modern construction companies maintain this practice to honor the workers who have finished the most difficult and dangerous part of any construction project.

Whatever the root of the tradition, we wanted to celebrate with our hard-working team and supporters. On November 18, news teams, our construction crew, several representatives from our team of subcontractors, and avid fans of the Cowford Chophouse project joined us for a formal celebration as we signed a steel beam to be placed at the top of the building and unveiled a ceremonial evergreen tree on the roof.

Owner of the Chophouse, Jacques Klempf, said he likes to think our evergreen is breathing life into a building that sat dead for too many years. Similarly, as our construction team completes more phases of this project, we can see our iconic building breathing life into the Jacksonville’s Downtown neighborhood.

To see more photos and footage from the Topping Off Ceremony, check out WJCT News, WOKV, the Jacksonville Business Journal, the Financial News & Daily Record, WJXT The Local Station, First Coast News, and Action News.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this momentous occasion!

Cowford Chophouse

The traditional evergreen tree and American flag

Cowford Chophouse

Jacques Klempf, owner of the Cowford Chophouse, welcomes the crowd.

Cowford Chophouse

Members of the Cowford Chophouse team gathered with community supporters to celebrate the Topping Off Ceremony.

Cowford Chophouse

Jacques Klempf, owner of the Cowford Chophouse, signs the ceremonial steel beam.

Cowford Chophouse

Gary Haliko, Senior Superintendent for Danis, signs the ceremonial steel beam.

Cowford Chophouse

Representatives from several Northeast Florida media outlets gathered to document the occasion.

Cowford Chophouse

Tony Suttles, Vice President of Danis, shares how various cultures interpret the Topping Off Ceremony as Aundra Wallace, CEO of the Downtown Investment Authority, and Dr. Charles Moreland, Director of Community Affairs for the City of Jacksonville, look on.

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