For the week of December 2 thru December 8, 1998  

Historic elevator extracted from Mercantile building

Mackay artist saves original piece


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

elevator.jpg (13771 bytes)The Mercantile building’s old elevator-- one of the oldest in the state—is lifted by a crane through a hole in the roof. The historic unit, removed during remodeliing of the Main Street Ketchum business, is going to be preserved in a Mackay art studio. (Express photo by Charmaine McCann)

The crane pulled and the Lane Mercantile building’s walls reverberated with the pleasure of freeing their long-time captive: the original elevator, which had been part of the building’s structure since its construction was completed in August 1887.

Located on the corner of Main Street and Sun Valley Road in Ketchum, the building is being renovated to create first-floor retail space and second-floor offices. The historic elevator was extracted early last month.

According to several long-time Ketchum residents, the elevator is the oldest contraption of the sort in Idaho.

Don Watts, historic preservation planner for the State Historical Society, validated the elevator’s historic value, but said he was uncertain about its oldest-in-the-state status.

"Any (elevator) that dates from the 19th century is certainly among the oldest elevators in the state," he said.

Once removed, the elevator was given to Karen Jacobsen and Matt Burke, who will use it in their Mackay art studio and keep it functional.

"I’m encouraged that an historic artifact of that nature is not going to be scraped but reused in another location," Watts said.

 

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