Before raising the last rafter of the new Cullman farmers’ market Monday, carpenters with Southern Timberwrights and Red Mountain Timber Framers attached an evergreen bough to its peak.

The tradition, which has been practiced in various cultures around the world, is re-enacted on every timber-frame structure the workers complete, according to foreman Larry Morris.

“It started centuries ago to pay homage to the wood, basically in appreciation for the trees that grew and to celebrate the wood in general,” he said.

While the evergreen tradition has also been used by high-steel workers constructing skyscrapers, it couldn’t be more fitting for the farmers’ market, according to market manager Jimmy Simms.

Using mortise-and-tennon joints, the farmers market is being constructed with techniques that date back hundreds of years, Simms said.

Based on similar structures which have been standing in Europe for centuries, the market’s solid-beam construction — some of the beams weigh more then 1,500 pounds — and old-style architecture were intentional, Simms said. They were both efforts toward making the market an interesting and historical attraction for Cullman.

“But I didn’t know about this until I saw what they were doing just now,” he said while photographing the event.

According to workers, the evergreen tradition is rumored to have Celtic and Asian routes.

Upon completion, the farmers’ market — named Festhalle Market Platz by the city council — will be the largest timber-framed structure in the state, according to Simms, and possibly, the largest in the Southeast.

Located on First Avenue NE, in the Warehouse District, it will stretch 152 feet in length, about half the length of a football field.

With timber framing complete — save the installation of some smaller overhangs — roofers are expected to be on site within the next week if the weather is good, according to Simms.

Plans are to have the structure completed and open for business by the first weekend in June, but depending on how fast construction goes, that date could vary.

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