Although the Grand Army of the Republic building did not have the first electric elevator in the city of Detroit, it did have one of the earliest. (Apparently that honor goes to Wright-Kay building on Woodward and John R). So, one of the first questions we had when we took possession of the “castle” was what shape the elevator was in. Installing a new elevator in a well preserved shaft is expensive enough, if we had to do major structural work things could have gotten ugly quickly.
Once again we got lucky. Somehow, the elevator chase escaped any significant damage. The elevator itself was toast but anything we needed to install a new lift was right where it should have been.
When we talked finishes with the elevator company we requested they salvage anything possible for the new cab. Sadly, 100 year old elevators do not offer much up along the lines of re-use. The one element that did show some sign of life was the original roof of the cab. We had to hope that under 20 layers of paint there would be something interesting.Like solid steel.
After a bit of work by George (one of our favorite workmen) and a period light fixture from Senate Resale (our favorite shop for stuff we don’t really need) we’ve got just enough old to offset the new.
Photo by Lindsey Yeo