|The most expensive and one of the most elaborate structures built at Great Adventure in 1974 as part of the initial construction was Best of the West. The building was designed as a true timber frame structure utilizing massive logs. The enormous logs required were harvested and trucked down from Canada's Yukon Territory. The transcontinental trip must have been long and somewhat dangerous but speaks of the authentic details that Warner LeRoy was striving for in the park.|
Upon arrival the logs were prepared for construction. Part of the
process was sandblasting the exteriors of the logs to remove any
remaining bark as well as the accumulation of road dirty from the nearly
4000 mile journey from the Yukon.
Once the logs had been prepared, the logs were marked out for construction with holes, notches and cuts having to be made on the ground and very precisely so when they were hoisted into place they would fit together like a giant set of Lincoln Logs.
|Each piece was cut, notched and labeled for assembly. One of the most amazing things to note about the process is just how much of the work was done by hand and how much skill it took on the part of the construction crew to carefully shape and pre-cut the logs in order to make them fit.|
|A temporary shed was in place for the construction workers to take shelter from the elements to keep on schedule. Temporary rails were laid for moving the heavy logs out of the shelter and into place for construction. With the very tight timeline for construction, all of the cutting and assembly had to be done in just a couple of months. The log framework itself appears to have been completed in the course of about three months.|
|A wide range of tools and skills were utilized for the construction including hand saws, chainsaws, axes, hatchets and drills. The hand-made quality of the building made construction time consuming but added to the rustic authenticity of the building.|
|While all the logs were being cut and shaped, other crews were hard at work on the foundation of the building and the "basement" level. The foundation of the building went right up to the edge of the lake and an additional boardwalk was built over the lake which would create the pathway around the back of the building. The "basement" would serve as the location for the air conditioning units for both Best of the West as well as the adjoining Super Teepee. This was also where the compressors for the building's walk in refrigerator and freezer were housed.|
|Once the foundation was completed, the first of the massive log walls began to take shape. The upright logs went vertical and were capped by the long sills that would support the roof beams.|
|On the back side of the building where the kitchen was located a steel framework was built for the walk-in refrigerator and freezer units. Simultaneously the restaurant's concrete floor was being formed with rebar on top of the sand fill.|
|With the outer walls framed, the workers assembled the central support structure and began stringing the roof logs. A scaffold was setup in the middle allowing the crew easy access as each beam was hoisted into position with a crane. Once all the logs were in place, the roof was sheathed and covered with rustic roofing materials. The center section of the building was outfitted with a skylight which allowed the natural light to fill the huge space.|
|With all the main building construction completed, the work crews turned their attention to the finish details like the log railings. Despite the best efforts of the construction crews, Best of the West along with the rest of the Rootin' Tootin' Rip Roarin' section wasn't quite ready for the July 1st opening day, but opened just three days later on July 4th.|