Hotel preserves transit history buildingShel and I have been checking out downtown for the upcoming conference of the Nickel Plate Road Historical and Technical Society and Friday’s tour took us to a really interesting property: the Hilton Garden Inn on Carnegie across from Jacob’s Field. Their conference center wing is an “adaptive re-use” of a building which used to be the service facility for the old Cleveland Railway Company, which predated Cleveland Transit System and today’s RTA. It repaired line trucks and housed the company’s dispatchers and supervisors and around 1941 a tall radio aerial was added, which still exists.
The entrance, at 1022 Carnegie, preserves the staircases and marble walls, but the big surprised came when we saw the Armitage Room. There overhead was a two-story ceiling, containing the original hoist crane which would travel from one end of the shop to the other, carrying vehicles, motors and other heavy equipment. The Hilton had decided that preserving the crane and making it a part of the rooms décor would be interesting and we certainly agreed.
Go to the hotel’s site, select “Tour Hotel” and photo #11 shows this crane.
(Incidentally the Nickel Plate society is a group of people interested in the old New York, Chicago & St. Louis railroad, aka “The Nickel Plate.” It was the railroad the Van Sweringen brothers purchased in order to get the right-of-way through Kinsbury Run, they needed to bring their Shaker Rapid line into downtown from their new Shaker Heights community. The 2006 convention marks the 125th anniversary of the creating of the Nickel Plate, the 90th of the Van Sweringen’s purchase and the 40th of the creation of the historical society, so it is only fitting that the railroad’s old home city of Cleveland was selected.)