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Minneapolis community uses ancient building techniques to create a performing arts pavilion

Volunteers raised a pavilion built using tools and knowledge from bygone eras on this week's "Communities that KARE."

MINNEAPOLIS — In Northeast Minneapolis, volunteers use ancient techniques to build a pavilion in Logan Park meant to last several lifetimes.

The idea is to create a space for picnics, music, and performances. "I heard some people talk about Shakespeare in the park," recalled Mike Ferrin, the pavilion project manager.

The pavilion is in the timber-frame style, and constructed using the same technique builders did thousands of years ago. At Logan Park, volunteers carved the timber ends to fit like puzzle pieces. They also used tools dating back centuries.

"Did you see that older chisel? The big one he was using? Clark, he's the master timber framer. He calls that chisel "Beethoven" because he believes Beethoven was still alive when it was made," said one of the workers on site.

It took three years' worth of planning and organizing for this pavilion to come to fruition. It's thanks to the Logan Park Neighborhood Association and Spark-Y, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to hands-on education for youth with a focus on sustainability and entrepreneurship.

"We really believe in the power of learning by doing," explained Executive Project Manager Tatiana Hakanson with Spark-Y. 

Patrice Banks works with the interns at Spark-Y. Instead of just monitoring their work on the pavilion, she jumped on a pedal-powered drill! "It feels amazing to be able to give back and doing something that the community can come out to do and enjoy and volunteer and doing their work," she said.

The pavilion also fits in with this creative community's aesthetic. "It's part of the flavor of North East and also, a really great sort of representation of the industry and innovation that's old, but yet new again within timber framing technology," said Zach Robinson, executive director of Spark-Y.

There were no cranes or heavy machinery during the moment of truth, the raising of the timbers. It was just the raw power of the Edison High Football Team and volunteers.

"I mean, we had 20 people on site every day, all volunteers, and you know to go from a week ago a pile of timbers to a beautiful pavilion is just incredible," said Ferrin as he gazed at the structure. "It's a perfect example of a community coming together to make a really fantastic project." 

You can watch a time lapse video of the raising of the pavilion timbers here:

There's a second timber frame picnic pavilion you can check out at Beltrami Park in Minneapolis.