HISTORY OF BUILDING

The building is nearly 100 years old and in the Downtown Williamston Historic District which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. Many of these Victorian buildings have been revitalized and renovated in the last decade.

PLATFORM NON-ELECTRIC OTIS ELEVATOR

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Through the years, the building has had many uses. The prior owner was a dance instructor who lived on the second floor and had a dance studio on the first floor for 20 years. Another owner had an antique shop and put in a Russian Tea room for the public on the second floor.

 

Going back further it was a dry goods store. In the basement there was an area lined with shelving. The story goes that the owners of the dry good store had a shoe exchange for children who couldn’t afford to buy shoes. As their feet grew they could come in and swap their shoes out for a larger size. These shelves are still in the basement.

 

At the back of the building was a platform non-electric Otis elevator. The dance instructor told me proudly that it still worked. She used it to move out all of her belongs, which was good because the stairs were a bit scary.

 

When I learned of the history of the building I assumed the elevator at the back of the building was put in by the dry goods store. The elevator went from the basement to the second floor.  I imagined it was used to move large bags of flour or sugar. However, in the process of trying to find a new home for the elevator, I spoke with a local historian, Mitch Lutzke, who informed me that the elevator was originally used to move caskets between floors! He had three different people share oral histories stating that for a short time my building was used as a funeral home.

 

Unfortunately I was not successful in finding another home for the elevator. Apparently they are not as rare as I thought. Plus removing the elevator to try to preserve it was not an easy task. But at least I have a photographic record of this piece of history of the building.

 

Photos by Gabriela Blank.

128 West Grand River Ave.

Williamston, MI 48895

(517) 588-6192

gallery@loewengallery.com

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128 West Grand Avenue

Williamston, MI 48895

(517) 588-6192

gallery@loewengallery.com

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