Man Adds Piece of Detroit History to Home with Original Hudson’s Elevator
We all have those special childhood memories that we wish we could revisit. Family vacations, special events, even those places we hold near and dear to our hearts. One Michigan man has such fond memories of a Detroit landmark that he brought a piece of it back to life in his own home.
Alex Begin of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan loved visiting the downtown J.L. Hudson store in Detroit as a child with his parents. The highlight for him was the over 50 elevators that serviced the 33 levels located on Woodward Avenue. Begin loved watching the elevator operators delivering patrons to their desired floors.
When Begin learned the store was closing back in 1983, he set his sights on capturing a piece of Detroit history to call his own. He decided to save two of the iconic elevators from the wrecking ball, but it wasn't easy.
After years of discussion, denials with letters to Hudson's and subsequent owners of the building, finally in 1995 Begin was finally able to secure two of the majestic elevators as his own and placed them in storage. The question now was...what do we do with them?
For Begin and his wife the answer was simple...build a house fit for such a piece Detroit history. A few years back they did just that, and with the help of engineer Steven Stark of Detroit Elevator, the old equipment was made functional once again. "The pneumatic doors, the backlit clock-like floor position indicator, the floor call light tree in the cab...it all works!", Begin said.
Keeping the elegant integrity was important to Begin, and with help from Vogue Furniture, the brass elements and the walnut paneling that we obtained from Hudson’s second floor men’s department were all refurbished. "We even have an original floorstanding sign directing shoppers to the elevators. It’s really a dream come true to see this important part of Detroit’s history brought back to life", said Begin.
Begin is thrilled to have such an incredible reminder of simpler days in Detroit as part of his home, but is still searching for one more element to complete the "experience". "We're still looking for a poster-sized store directory or other ad to place in the glass display cases".
As for the second elevator, it's for sale for those serious about taking a step back in time.