clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Structural steel completed at new Marlins ballpark

New, comment

The final beam was put into place on the Marlins new stadium. This happened a couple of days ago, and I meant to report it then, but it didn't work out that way. However, I was reading an article by the South Florida Business Journal and I wanted to add some trivia.

Anyway, here are excerpts from the article, taken out of order.

The new Florida Marlins ballpark hit a milestone Friday as the last major structural piece of steel was fitted in the $600 million-plus facility’s retractable roof.


The retractable roof is composed of 11,000 pieces of steel held together by welds and more than 115,240 bolts. In all, the retractable roof weighs about 7,500 tons.

Now here is the part that caused me to write this post.

The steel beam was topped with a small pine tree, part of a 1,000-year-old tradition from Scandinavia that commemorates nature’s contribution to the building process.

That is true but there is more to the story. I actually have read why an evergreen tree is traditionally used to top out the structure once all the steel work is completed. So I share with you.


The topping-out ceremony as we know it today originated from the ancient Scandinavian belief that the gods and the spirits of their ancestors lived in the trees the people used to build shelters.  Early Scandinavian builders sought to prevent the homeless spirits from becoming angry and cursing their work by placing a tree atop each new building––an offering of a new home for the displaced spirits.  Sometimes the builders decorated the tree with grain sheaves for the horse of Odin hoping to protect the house against lightning damage.


The placing of an offering tree was accompanied by ceremonies and celebrations, usually culminating in the pouring of wine at the foot of the tree.  This assured the building and the occupants of good luck and the favor of the gods.


Now you know. Should you ever be on a game show where you have to give a detailed account of how it started and you remember this: I expect a cut of the winnings.