A Visit to the Elevator Museum in Massachusetts

Text and Photos by Caleb Givens

The International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 4 Union Hall is tucked behind a few industrial facilities in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Housed in this building, in a large, open conference room, is the Elevator Museum. It is the shining physical presence of the Elevator Historical Society’s efforts to preserve the history of the elevator and escalator industry.

Your author visited Steve Comley, who is truly taking the museum from good to great. Comley is a longtime elevator man, getting his taste of the industry at an early age, thanks to his father, James, who purchased Embree and White Elevator in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1972. “I loved the dirty old elevator machine shop,” recalls Comley. “It was fascinating to me as a kid — the noise from the flat-belt pulleys running across the ceiling, the smell of the cutting oils on the machines and the smoke from the welding. They used to cast and completely build elevator machines there.”

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An elevator operator, with fans

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Meet LaKish Washington, apparently one of the biggest stars at the TD Gardens arena in Boston, MA (USA) where the National Hockey League Boston Bruins play.  She’s funny, energetic, passionate about her job, and takes a personal interest in those riding her elevator.  That’s right, she is the elevator operator.  She is a big enough star with her “fans” (or riders) that the The Boston Globe wrote this article and produced a short video about her just this week.  It’s a good read.

In a world filled with people too plugged in to pay much attention to anyone else, in a sports complex where the stars earn millions to her hourly wage, Washington’s gift is simple: She makes her passengers feel taken care of. And she does it in less than the two minutes it takes for even the longest trip: from floor 2 to floor 9, where many of the Garden’s guests with disabilities sit.

Who Is That Masked Bandit on the Escalator?

Well, it’s a raccoon…on an escalator…in the middle of Boston! As you can see in the video, the raccoon had a hard time making his way down the up escalator, and the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) employee wasn’t sticking around to help. Eventually, animal control officers were able to capture the animal without harm. Just another exciting day in the world of vertical transportation.