Elevator Operator: Being a Walmart Greeter Just Won’t Be The Same

There are still a few around, but elevator operators are a dying breed. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently told the story of

Wodke operating the elevator in the 1925 Century Building in downtown Milwaukee; photo by Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

a gentleman who has been operating the elevator in the 1925 Century building in downtown Milwaukee since 1992. More than simply a button presser, James Wodke had more of a public-relations, customer-service role, handing out treats for canine passengers and spraying air freshener when certain smells lingered in the cab. Originally an office building, the eight-floor structure now houses condos on several of its floors, and requires an elevator that can be operated automatically, 24/7. That puts Wodke and two part-timers out of a job as of October 1. Wodke told the Sentinel he might become a Walmart greet; certainly, it will not be nearly the same!

Nuclear Powered, Five-Deck Elevators: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Mile-High Tower

Double-deck elevators in Midland Square, Japan. Wright’s proposed skyscraper would have had 76 five-deck elevators; photo by Chris 73.

At a press conference in Chicago in 1956, when he was 87 years old, architect Frank Lloyd Wright unveiled his plan for what would come to be known as The Mile High Illinois, a skyscraper four times the height of the Empire State Building that would dwarf the world’s current tallest building, the 2,717-ft.-tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at 5,280 ft. The never-realized Mile High would have had more than 500 floors and be powered by 76, nuclear-powered, five-deck elevators. Even at that, a modern-day elevator consultant told The New Yorker this would have fallen far short. James Fortune said up to 225 elevators would have been needed. The architect’s “lost masterpiece” had a lot of other technical issues, which you can read all about in The Daily Beast.

thyssenkrupp CEOs Take Themselves Out to the Ballgame

thyssenkrupp Elevator recently inked a deal with the Atlanta Braves to establish its thyssenkrupp Americas complex, including what will be the tallest elevator test tower in the U.S., on property just north of downtown Atlanta. Housing more than 800 employees, the new complex will be within a stone’s throw of SunTrust Park, home of the National Baseball League’s Braves. Company executives took the opportunity to watch a Braves game when they were in town for the announcement, and Communications Specialist Dennis Van Milligan captured this video of thyssenkrupp Elevator CEO Andreas Schierenbeck and thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas CEO Rich Hussey taking in some of the action, being welcomed by the announcer, and checking themselves out on the jumbotron!