We're builders who normally work along the North Carolina coast. But when the opportunity arose to build a replica of a historic lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay shoreline, we were so intrigued we decided to extend our usual geographic reach to take the job.

The area where the lighthouse is located is experiencing rapid growth, and as newcomers we found it a real challenge to enlist qualified subs. Consequently, the task of building the central spiral staircase fell to our framing crew. The plans indicated the location of the stairwell and the size of the shaft, but we had to work out the...

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