The Significance of Pine Trees Atop Construction Buildings


This story was recently discovered in our founder Gerry Rauenhorst’s archives. It is from David Feldman’s Why Clocks Run Clockwise and Other Imponderables. We hope you enjoy it, and that it answers a few questions for you!

Q. Why do they put pine trees on top of buildings under construction?

A. The trees are known as topping trees. They celebrate completion of the skeleton of a building structure.  If the building is a skyscraper, the evergreen is attached to the top beam as it is hoisted, a signal that the building has reached its final height.

For some builders, the evergreen symbolizes that no one in the construction crew died, for others the tree stands as a talisman for good luck and prosperity for the future occupants of the building.

Like many rituals, topping out celebrations stem from ancient superstitions.

The first evidence of trees being hoisted atop buildings was in 700 A.D. in Scandinavia when such an act signaled that a completion party was about to begin. 

Read about our topping out at The Nic on Fifth® in downtown Minneapolis.