One of the fascinating parts of the Hardaway Cottage for me is the rope pulled elevator. Mrs. Hardaway built the house as a potential rental house for those visiting the springs and the institute. This house is the only elevator in a single family dwelling on the institute grounds. When we purchased the house the elevator was not operational. Gene Spaulding had the elevator converted to an electric motor and removed the rope from the flywheel..

I wanted to remove the motor and return the elevator to its original rope pull operation. There was one problem in accessing the motor. The only way to get into the attic was to climb up the elevator shaft and through a small opening. I first had to cut an access door in the hall ceiling and add a pull-down ladder. Then for the removal of the motor.

My son had helped before the attic access was added. He was able to remove two bolts holding the motor to its mount. The right tools were definitely needed. With tools in hand, and Beth at the store, I decided it was time to get that rope on the elevator. It took a 2″ rope. The best price on this large rope size came from the purchase of an excersize rope. I needed 75 ft. I purchased two and will interweave the ends together to join the lengths and create a continuous loop. 

I removed the last two bolts and realized the rubber gasket used to cushion the teeth on the hub and motor was stopping the removal of the motor. A few good dead lifts of the motor and it jumped loose. Then, the 48″ diameter cast-iron fly wheel started to move. The elevator was at the bottom floor. There was 500 lbs of counterweights that started to slowly bring the elevator cage up to the second floor. I reached out to stop the flywheel from turning, then realized that would remove a great deal of skin since the flywheel was gaining speed. I stepped back in the attic and said “it will eventually stop when it gets to the top. Might break the beams but I can’t stop it.” Up came the elevator until it stopped with a loud bang. Nothing broke. However, the cage of the elevator is wedged in tight at the top of the guide beams. I will have to get it loose with some car jacks.

All I can say is “glad Beth was at the store.” I was not in danger but it was very loud.

I but the rope on the wheel. It is the perfect size and moves the wheel with ease. Now to get the passenger cage un-wedged. 

I have a rope on the elevator.

FDR Hyde Park Sedgwick Elevator

The motor is off and the rope is on!