Something old, something new

Workers in Hallsville construct a unique building with steel and foam, sweat and muscle
Sunday, December 5, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:44 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Allen Antholz stands in the muddy ground of a Hallsville construction site, hunched over while hammering nails into a large set of wood trusses.

The nail gun is not aligned correctly, so Allen and his co-worker Aaron Hopke have to finish hammering the rest of the nails old-fashioned way.

“If I did this (hammering) all day, I’d have forearms the size of Popeye’s,” Allen says with a chuckle while taking a break from the monotonous task.

The men are part of a team of construction workers completing what they call the first building in Boone County made of steel and foam. When completed, the building will be a gift shop called “Sassafras Moon World Gifts,” located at the corner of the only stoplight in Hallsville.

Aaron and Allen are assembling the front roof section, the only part of the building made of wood. Later, when the other construction workers arrive, a circular saw screeches as they trim the edges of two-by-twelve slabs of wood.

Once the slabs are cut to the precise measurement, Aaron and Allen work with a scissor lift to bring the wood to the top of the building. They squeeze into the scissor lift and share what little space is left with one of the slabs.

The machine lifts the men 40 feet in the air.

Aaron grabs one end of the wooden beam and hoists it above his left shoulder. He grimaces in pain.

Allen supports the rest of the beam’s weight but lets Aaron take over the majority of the process, which means assembling the wood at a 45-degree angle and drilling it securely in place — just one of the many chores that needs to be done.

Aaron grabs one of the beams already in place and begins to nail one of the ends, but the angle of the job is uncomfortable, as other beams get in Aaron’s way. He ducks his head under and around the structure, still holding on with his left hand, and finishes drilling the beam in place.


Allen Antholz adjusts the lever of the scissor lift so his co-worker, Aaron Hopke, can put the front structure of the roof together.

“OK. That’s done,” Aaron tells Allen after the structure is secure.

The scissor lift lowers the construction workers to the concrete level, where they grab another beam to put in place.

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