Beyond the Build

Local Craftsmen

Historic Preservation

This week, I was in Philadelphia participating in a small peer group of general contractors from the east coast to west coast. We are similar firms, but with our distant geographical locations, we are non-competing. We meet twice a year, with the idea that everyone contributes their best practices, and we’re all better for it.

While in the city, I was able to pay a visit to Carpenter’s Hall, a structure built by the Carpenter’s Union in the 1700s that hosted the First Continental Congress in 1774. Today, it is maintained by The Carpenter’s Company, 150 men and women who are architects, building contractors or structural engineers, that recently guided the process of a restoration. Their work is testament to what can be achieved when people come together to save the special places in a community. For me, it was the ultimate example of historic preservation, a reminder that our local projects like The Lyric Theatre, The Greyhound and Nextec are legacy work, the kind of project that will have an impact for many years.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.