AHC holiday scene, 1983

img0010.jpgConstruction workers put up a tree in a precarious place during the construction of the on campus hospital, circa 1983. The photograph is part of the University Hospitals Board of Governors records at the University Archives.


Thanks to several comments (see below), a more accurate description of the image is that of “topping out” the frame of the hospital. Although the photograph was taken between November and January, the tree is much more likely a representation of a long time tradition in building construction.


The photograph was taken on December 13, 1983.

2 Comments on "AHC holiday scene, 1983"

  1. A reader emailed me with the following information regarding the photograph of the tree on top of the building.

    The caption for the photo “tree in a precarious position” ignores the tradition some hundreds of years old that a pine tree will be placed (temporarily) atop a building once the framework is complete. If you observe building construction or call any of the major contractors they will let you know how many professionals continue this tradition.

    Thank you Emilie for this information!


  2. This tradition is called “topping out.” When the steel structure of a building is complete, the workers traditionally place a tree there (regardless of whether it is near Christmas-time or not, though if it does happen to be in the holiday season, they will sometimes decorate it like a Christmas tree). Therefore, you wouldn’t be able to assume that this photo was taken around the holidays based purely on the fact the tree is there.

    You can still see sometimes find trees on buildings under construction even today, though apparently these days it is getting more popular to place a flag there instead of a tree.

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