There are definitely two schools of thought when it comes to restoring old elevators. As many of you know, there is currently a 1939 Otis Elevator in the lobby of the Roseboro. It has 7 stops because the Howland House and the Roseberg Hotel were at different levels when they were connected together. The elevator door opens at a different side depending on which wing you desire to enter.
I have spoken with a number of elevator companies. Most tell me that the old elevator should be torn out and replaced with a modern automatic elevator. (Obviously, they stand to benefit $$$$ from the cost of putting a new elevator in.) The cost is further inflated by adding 7 stops into the mix. Major $$$$$!
I was very please today to speak with a man from Albany Elevator Company who absolutely thinks the current elevator CAN and SHOULD be repaired and at a very reasonable cost (under $10k). While it would not normally meet modern code, we would be able to apply for a historical variance to keep the current elevator. As long as everything is original, we can get the variance. They obviously would have to do all kinds of safety code and load testing, but I am at least encouraged to hear that there is hope for the old 1939 elevator.
Dawne Belloise – this is the same man who you and Dennis spoke with many years ago and he seemed extremely knowledgeable about historic elevators. He has done a couple of restorations in Schenectady, NY. He knew exactly where to find any parts we may need. He remembered coming out and looking at the elevator and thought it just needed to have power run to it to check it out more thoroughly.
Yeah! Let’s hope all goes well and we can RESTORE rather than replace the 1939 Otis elevator!
UPDATE: We were able to access the elevator today and found the cab to be in pretty good shape. Even the floor looks in pretty good condition – just need cleaning and polishing.
The way the elevator worked – on every floor there was a small button. If a patron pushed the button, a flag would pop up on the annunciator panel within the cab (shown in a photo) and a buzzer would also sound. The bellboy would then manually operate the elevator by throwing the lever. He would then pick up the person and reset the flag by pushing the reset button.
Our elevator repair man said that all can be restored and made to function if all the components are in tact. Obviously, it would still be manual and require a bellboy to run it!