Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jack Remembers -- Jefferson Building

The beautiful fourteen story Jefferson Building with a big concrete bear out front located between the Capital Building and the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City houses several state agencies.
I had a steel erection company and was building a gymnasium inside the prison walls when some state worker got careless with a cigarette and caught all the state income tax records stored in the basement of the Jefferson Building on fire. It got so hot, the concrete expanded and popped off the reinforcement rods in the concrete beams and joists, exposing the rebar which released its tension and created danger of a structural failure not unlike the twin towers.
The building was shut down, and state workers went home. I was called in and asked to put steel beams and columns under the concrete beams in the basement to transfer the load to the steel beams on a cost-plus contract. With an A-frame truck parked over the small hole knocked in the sidewalk the firemen used to put out the fire, I poked the steel down, but could not put any equipment in the basement that would not fit through this small hole.
The state engineers designed a Rube Goldberg type contraption which had four gen poles with cable to saddle the steel beams and lift them up against the concrete beams since there was no head room. None of my employees thought it would work, and neither did I.
In the middle of the night I woke up with a simple answer. Lift the beams up with the A-frame which was sitting over the hole in the sidewalk, roll a scaffold under the beam, when located under the concrete beam, screw the lags of the scaffold higher, which would elevate the beam where it went, and put steel columns under the beams. The job was completed in one/half the time and money estimated by the State engineers.
I should have received a bonus or a medal, but all I got was the realization I am smarter when I am asleep.
Jack can be reached at PO Box 40, Oak Grove, MO 64075 or Check out

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